SOLAR PONDS

SUBMITTED BY A. CEYLAN SERHADOGLU AND ÖMER BÜYÜKKIDIK SUBMITTED TO PROF. DR. AHMET ECEVIT PHYS.471 SOLAR ENERGY FALL 2004

OUTLINE
1. INTRODUCTION 2. WHAT A SOLAR POND IS
2.1 WORKING PRINCIPLE

3. TYPES OF SOLAR PONDS
3.1 NONCONVECTING 3.2 CONVECTING

4. APPLICATIONS

5. EXAMPLES OF SOLAR PONDS
5.1 BHUJ SOLAR POND 5.2 El PASO SOLAR POND 5.3 PYRAMID HILL SOLAR POND

6. COST 7. ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES 8. CONCLUSION REFERENCES

1. INTRODUCTION
The sun is the largest source of renewable energy and this energy is abundantly available in all parts of the earth. It is in fact one of the best alternatives to the non-renewable sources of nonenergy [1]. [1]. Solar energy has been used since prehistoric times, but in a most primitive manner. Before 1970, some research and development was carried out in a few countries to exploit solar energy more efficiently, but most of this work remained mainly academic [2].

After the dramatic rise in oil prices in the 1970s, several countries began to formulate extensive research and development programmes to exploit solar energy [2]. One way to tap solar energy is through the use of solar ponds. Solar ponds are large-scale energy largecollectors with integral heat storage for supplying thermal energy. It can be use for various applications, such as process heating, water desalination, refrigeration, drying and power generation [1]

creating a natural convective circulation that mixes the water and dissipates the heat. Once it reaches the surface. The colder water. Solar energy will warm a body of water (that is exposed to the sun). Water warmed by the sun expands and rises as it becomes less dense. moves down to replace the warm water. the water loses its heat to the airthrough convection. . which is heavier. but the water loses its heat unless some method is used to trap it. The design of solar ponds reduces either convection or evaporation in order to store the heat collected by the pond.2. taking heat with it. WHAT A SOLAR POND IS A solar pond is a body of water that collects and stores solar energy. They can operate in almost any climate [3]. or evaporates.

which contains concentrated salt solution. .A solar pond can store solar heat much more efficiently than a body of water of the same size because the salinity gradient prevents convection currents. The temperature in this layer rises since the heat it absorbs from the sunlight is unable to move upwards to the surface by convection. Solar radiation entering the pond penetrates through to the lower layer. Solar heat is thus stored in the lower layer of the pond [4].

in an ordinary pond. You can see a shematic view of a solar pond in Figure 1.1 WORKING PRINCIPLE The solar pond works on a very simple principle. The solar pond restricts this tendency by dissolving salt in the bottom layer of the pond making it too heavy to rise [1].2. . Similarly. The net result is that the pond water remains at the atmospheric temperature. the sun s rays heat the water and the heated water from within the pond rises and reaches the top but loses the heat into the atmosphere. It is well-known that water or air is heated they wellbecome lighter and rise upward.

Fig. . 1 Shematic View Of A Solar Pond [5].

A solar pond is an artificially constructed water pond in which significant temperature rises are caused in the lower regions by preventing the occurrence of convection currents. The more specific terms salt-gradient solar pond or nonsaltnonconvecting solar pond are also used. which is actually a large area solar collector is a simple technology that uses water. . The solar pond.a pond waterbetween one to four metres deep as a working material for three main functions [6].

.Collection of radiant energy and its conversion into heat (upto 95° C) 95° Storage of heat Transport of thermal energy out of the system[6].

The solar pond possesses a thermal storage capacity spanning the seasons. . the concentration being densest at the bottom (20% to 30%) and gradually decreasing to almost zero at the top. This dark surface at the bottom of the pond increases the absorption of solar radiation. The surface area of the pond affects the amount of solar energy it can collect. Salts like magnesium chloride. Typically. a salt gradient solar pond consists of three zones [6]. sodium chloride or sodium nitrate are dissolved in the water. The bottom of the pond is generally lined with a durable plastic liner made from material such as black polythene and hypalon reinforced with nylon mesh.

Almost as thick as the middle non-convective nonzone. . salt concentration and temperatures are nearly constant in this zone [6]. serving as the heat storage zone.An upper convective zone of clear fresh water that acts as solar collector/receiver and which is relatively the most shallow in depth and is generally close to ambient temperature. A lower convective zone with the densest salt concentration. A gradient which serves as the non-convective nonzone which is much thicker and occupies more than half the depth of the pond. Salt concentration and temperature increase with depth.

95° . The less dense layer would then rise up and the layers would mix. But the salt density difference keeps the layers of the solar pond separate.When solar radiation strikes the pond. the bottom layer would be less dense than the top layer as the heated water expands. The temperature of the dense salt layer therefore increases. most of it is absorbed by the surface at the bottom of the pond. The denser salt water at the bottom prevents the heat being transferred to the top layer of fresh water by natural convection. If the pond contained no salt. due to which the temperature of the lower layer may rise to as much as 95°C [6].

3. TYPES OF SOLAR PONDS There are two main categories of solar ponds: nonconvecting ponds. which reduce heat loss by hindering evaporation with a cover over the surface of the pond [2]. which reduce heat loss by preventing convection from occurring within the pond. . and convecting ponds.

1 CONVECTING SOLAR PONDS A well-researched example of a convecting pond wellis the shallow solar pond. At night the hot water is pumped into a large heat storage tank to minimize heat loss. Excessive heat loss when pumping the hot water to the storage tank has limited the development of shallow solar ponds [3]. and two types of glazing (sheets of plastic or glass) on top.3. The bag has a blackened bottom. . has foam insulation below. This pond consists of pure water enclosed in a large bag that allows convection but hinders evaporation. The sun heats the water in the bag during the day.

Another type of convecting pond is the deep. This convecting pond differs from shallow solar ponds only in that the water need not be pumped in and out of storage. At night. saltless pond. . Double-glazing covers Doubledeep saltless ponds. or when solar energy is not available. placing insulation on top of the glazing reduces heat loss [3].

3. . the most concentrated layer forms at the bottom. Because the density of the brine increases with salt concentration. A salt gradient pond has three distinct layers of brine (a mixture of salt and water) of varying concentrations. A dark-colored material darkusually butyl rubber lines the pond. The dark lining enhances absorption of the sun's radiation and prevents the salt from contaminating the surrounding soil and groundwater [3].2 NONCONVECTING SOLAR PONDS There are two main types of nonconvecting ponds: salt gradient ponds and membrane ponds. The least concentrated layer is at the surface. The salts commonly used are sodium chloride and magnesium chloride.

3° store some heat. Another method of heat removal is to extract heat with a heat transfer fluid as it is pumped through a heat exchanger placed on the bottom of the pond [3]. the bottom layer stores the most. Pumping the brine through an external heat exchanger or an evaporator removes the heat from this bottom layer. the water and the lining absorb the solar radiation. . Even when it becomes warm.3°C. thus inhibiting convection. the water near the bottom of the pond becomes warm up to 93. Although all of the layers 93. As a result.As sunlight enters the pond. the bottom layer remains denser than the upper layers.

the membrane pond. inhibits convection by physically separating the layers with thin transparent membranes. In figure 2 you can see an example of salt gradient solar pond.Another type of nonconvecting pond. . heat is removed from the bottom layer [2]. As with salt gradient ponds.

2 Salt Gradient Solar Pond [7]. .Fig.

that is production of vacuum quality salt) Aquaculture. using saline or fresh water (to grow. to preheat feed water to boilers) Fruit and vegetable canning industry Fruit and vegetable drying (for example. vine fruit drying) Grain industry (for grain drying) Water supply (for desalination) [4].4. for example. . APPLICATIONS Salt production (for enhanced evaporation or purification of salt. fish or brine shrimp) Dairy industry (for example.

 Process heat Studies have indicated that there is excellent scope for process heat applications (i. water heated to 80 to 90° C. when a large quantity of 90° hot water is required.). timber. fish and chemicals and space heating are other possible applications [6]. Hot air for industrial uses such as drying agricultural produce.e. . such as textile processing and dairy industries.

Desalination costs in these places work out to be 7. which compares favourably with the current costs incurred in the reverse osmosis or electrodialysis/desalination process [6]. Desalination Drinking water is a chronic problem for many villages in India.5paise per litre. In remote coastal villages where seawater is available. solar ponds can provide a costcost-effective solution to the potable drinking water problem. .

 Refrigeration Refrigeration applications have a tremendous scope in a tropical country like India. Perishable products like agricultural produce and life saving drugs like vaccines can be preserved for long stretches of time in cold storage using solar pond technology in conjunction with ammonia based absorption refrigeration system [6]. .

3 PYRAMID HILL SOLAR POND . EXAMPLES OF SOLAR PONDS  5.2 El PASO SOLAR POND  5.1 BHUJ SOLAR POND  5.5.

. the 6000-squarefirst large-scale pond in industrial environment to largecater to actual user demand.1 BHUJ SOLAR POND The 6000-square-metre solar pond in Bhuj. In figure 3 you can see the Bhuj solar pond. supplied totally about 15 million litres of hot water to the dairy at an average temperature of 75°C between 75° September 1993 and April 1995 [8].5.

Fig. 3 The Bhuj Solar Pond [1]. .

constructed by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI). today lies in disuse for want of financial support and government policy to help this eco-friendly ecotechnology grow [9]. which successfully demonstrated the use of a solar pond to supply heat to an actual industrial user.It was the first experiment in India. But. . the Bhuj solar pond. sadly.

The Bhuj solar pond was conceived as a research and development project of TERI.5 m. The pond was then filled with water and 4000 tonnes of common salt was dissolved in it to make dense brine [1]. which took over nine years to establish. . The solar pond is 100 m long and 60 m wide and has a depth of 3. to demonstrate the feasibility of using a salt gradient pond for industrial heating [9].

2 EL PASO SOLAR POND The El Paso Solar Pond project is a research. development. electricity.5. It has operated since May 1986 and has successfully shown that process heat. and demonstration project initiated by the University of Texas at El Paso in 1983. and fresh water can be produced in the southwestern United States using solar pond technology [10]. You can see the picture of El Paso Solar Pond in figure 4. .

4 El Paso Solar Pond [10].Fig. .

.The El Paso Solar Pond project began when the University of Texas at El Paso discovered an existing pond which has a 3350 square meter area and 3 meter depth located at Bruce Foods. a canning plant in northeast El Paso. In figure 5 you can see another view of El Paso Solar Pond. Texas [10].

. 5 Closer View of El Paso Solar Pond [10].Fig.

problem solving. performing tasks ranging from construction to applied research. . gaining valuable experience in equipment design and construction. numerous students have done projects related to the pond. instrumentation. and documentation [10].Over 90 graduate and undergraduate students have been involved in the project. In addition. lab techniques.

the state of the art equipment on site provides an excellent opportunity for energy efficiency studies. heat exchanger [10]. In addition. and computer modeling. . system studies. flow in stratified fluids. wind/wave interaction.The solar pond provides a unique opportunity to do research in such areas as double diffusive convection. cost analysis.

3 PYRAMID HILL SOLAR POND A consortium of RMIT University. Geo-Eng GeoAustralia Pty Ltd and Pyramid Salt Pty Ltd has completed a project using a 3000 square metre solar pond located at the Pyramid Hill salt works in northern Victoria to capture and store solar energy using pond water which can reach up to 80° 80°C [11]. . In Figure 6 you can see the picture of this solar pond.5.

6 The Pyramid Hill Solar Pond [12].Fig. .

It is planned in a subsequent stage of the project to generate electricity using the heat stored in the solar pond. . thus making this local industry more energy self-sufficient.Pyramid Salt will use the pond's heat not only in its commercial salt production but also for aquaculture. specifically producing brine shrimps for stock feed. selfAt the local level this will be a significant boost in an area with high unemployment and a depressed economy [12].

geothermal energy. Hydraulic energy is an insufficient energy source. hydraulic energy. and nuclear energy has some unsolved environmental and safety problems. The first three of these energy sources have limited life times. fuel oils. the energy needs of communities increases. This energy need is provided from different energy sources known as traditional energy sources. such as coal.6. COST OF SOLAR PONDS As technology develops. Therefore. and nuclear energy. These energy sources have some disadvantages. . the researchers have condensed their studies on new alternative energy sources known as renewable energy sources [13].

wave energy. the sum of these expenses for different water heating systems (1991 prices) [14].These are biomass. and solar energy. hydrogen energy. wind energy. biogas. . In figure 7 you can see a table which is comparing initial costs of different water heating systems. And in figure 8 the annual maintenance and fuel expenses and. Solar energy among these energy sources is the most abundant and considerable research is being carried out in this area.

7 The Initial Costs of Several Water Heating Systems(1991 prices). .Fig.

Fig. . 8 Annual Maintenance And Fuel Expenses And The Sum Of These Expenses For Different Water Heating Systems (1991 Prices).

Moreover. such as savings incurred by bypassing the waste disposal permitting process. the actual cost of utilizing SGSPs may be lower than reported when other factors are taken into account. .Salinity gradient solar ponds. or tax breaks that may be developed for facilities that use renewable fuels [11]. although not dramatically cheaper than other disposal methods. the environmental savings associated with using a renewable fuel. may still be a viable option especially in circumstances where the unit cost of power is very high or where access to a power grid is limited.

.7. Thermal storage is incorporated into the collector and is of very low cost. Expensive cleaning of large collector surfaces in dusty areas is avoided [15]. Very large surfaces can be built thus large scale energy generation is possible. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES Low investment costs per installed collection area. Diffuse radiation (cloudy days) is fully used.

Solar ponds can only be economically constructed if there is an abundance of inexpensive salt. and easy access to water. An example is preventing soil contamination from the brine in a solar pond. Environmental factors are also important. flat land. solar pond development has been limited [3]. and because of the current availability of cheap fossil fuels. For these reasons. .

enhancement of salt yield in salt farms. source. bromine recovery from bittern. production of magnesium chloride. for process heating. water desalination. refrigeration. CONCLUSION Solar ponds can be effectively used as replacements in industries that use fossil fuel to generate thermal energy. It will be the future energy farms. .8. Solar ponds can be used energy.

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