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Theoretical study of a new thermodynamic power cycle for thermal

water pumping application and its prospects when coupled to a solar
pond
Abhijit Date
*
, Aliakbar Akbarzadeh
School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University, PO Box 71, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
h i g h l i g h t s
Proposed a new power cycle to drive a thermal water pump.
Examined the performance of an ideal thermal water pump based on new power cycle.
Examined the prospects of this thermal water pump coupled with solar pond.
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 12 January 2013
Accepted 2 May 2013
Available online 13 May 2013
Keywords:
Thermal energy
Water pump
Low temperature heat
Solar pond
a b s t r a c t
This is an introductory theoretical work on the new thermodynamic power cycle for thermal water
pumping. This paper describes the new thermodynamic power cycle with help of Pev and Peh curves
and the operation of a thermal water pump based on this cycle with acetone as working fluid. Further
ideal thermal performance of this water pump for different heat source and heat sink temperatures is
discussed. The proposed thermal water pump has an ideal overall efficiency equal to about 40% of Carnot
cycle efficiency for driving temperature difference of 60

C with acetone as working fluid. This paper
presents the ideal theoretical performance predictions of such thermal water pump coupled with a solar
pond located on a salt farm at Pyramid Hill in north Victoria, Australia. Most salt farms around the world
use electric pumps to draw saline water from ground or sea. The proposed thermal water pump can
provide an alternative to these electric pumps.
Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction and background
The solar water pump concept to pump ground water for
agricultural irrigation, industry and residential water re-
quirements has been proposed and investigated by many re-
searchers in past [1e3]. Similarly concept of the wind driven water
pumps has been proposed and investigated by many researchers
in past [4e6], but due to reasons like lack of government support
and variable nature of wind energy the diffusion of this technol-
ogy has been very slow [7]. Most common method used for
pumping ground water has been conversion of solar energy to
electricity with PV panels and then using electric water pumps.
But the PV pumping system can be relatively expensive and would
need battery based system for use during cloudy days and nights.
Additionally plenty of low temperature thermal energy is available
around the world in form of waste heat, shallow geothermal and
solar thermal etc. For these reasons researchers around the world
have developed few thermally driven water pump that directly
convert thermal energy to mechanical energy. Most research
publications have investigated thermal pumps based on thermo-
dynamic Rankine cycle and are directly connected to flat plate or
evacuated tube solar collectors without thermal energy storage
system for 24 h of pumping [3,8e13].
In 1975, Rao and Rao had proposed and investigated a design of
thermal water pump that would use pentane or petroleum fraction
having boiling temperature of 35e40

C. In this publication they
have discussed that at least 100

C is required to create enough
suction pressures for water pumping. Further they have suggested
that secondary working fluid is needed to prevent direct contact
between the vapour of the primary working fluid and the water
that is being pumped. The configuration of this thermal pump is
very complex to construct and operate [3].
In 1979, Sharma and Singh had proposed a thermal water pump
based on Rankine cycle that used Freon as working fluid in a
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ61 3 9925 0612; fax: þ61 3 9925 6108.
E-mail addresses: abhijit.date@rmit.edu.au, dateabhijits@gmail.com (A. Date),
aliakbar.akbarzadeh@rmit.edu.au (A. Akbarzadeh).
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Applied Thermal Engineering
j ournal homepage: www. el sevi er. com/ l ocat e/ apt hermeng
1359-4311/$ e see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2013.05.004
Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521
diaphragm type water pump. This pump had a very lowlift and the
very low energy conversion efficiency of around 0.4% [9].
Picken, Seare and Goto have proposed a simple design of a
thermal water pump using water piston. This pump is driven by
water vapour and hence needs heat source at temperatures more
than 100

C [14].
Klüppel and Gurgel have used expansion and compression of
gas similar to air in their liquid piston pump. The working gas and
the liquid were not separated and the experiments have shown that
after 1 h of operation some of the gas was dissolved in the water
and lost. They have suggested of using oil floating film over the top
of water to prevent mixing or providing a working gas recharging
chamber. The second approach would be practical if the pump was
operated with air as working fluid, similar to a Stirling engine [10].
Solovey and Frolov have suggested in their research to use
hydrogen stored in metal hydrides for water pumping. Hydrogen
gas that is released by elevating the temperature of metal hydride is
used for pumping water through piston cylinder system. They claim
their system can pump 1 m
3
of water with an average suction head
of 3e4 m and delivery head of 20e30 m in 11 h and consume
around 2.6 kWh thermal energy. Their system has an overall effi-
ciency of around 4%. This type of pump system can be very slow
depending upon the heating of metal hydrides for dissociation and
cooling of the metal hydrides for hydrogen adsorption. Additionally
this system needs a retracting spring to assist the piston in the
return or suction stroke. Part of the energy from the forward stroke
is stored in the spring to be used for return stroke and this reduces
the overall efficiency [11].
Wong and Sumathy have proposed a thermal water pump de-
signs with ethyl ether and pentane. They have discussed the
importance of the evaporation and condensation time in the solar
thermal water pump that is coupled with a flat plate solar collector.
In case of a flat plate or evacuated tube solar collector directly
coupled with a solar water pump the overall system efficiency is
very much dependent on the number of pumping cycles achieved
during the peak sun hours. This type of system can only operate
during the day; hence the cycle time must be reduced [12,13,15].
Here attempt have been made to propose a newthermodynamic
cycle for thermal water pumping to simplify the thermal water
pump design and operation. This paper describes the working
principle of the new thermal water pump with help of pump
schematics and thermodynamic curves (Pev and Peh). Theoretical
analysis of the newthermal water pump is carried out to predict its
thermal performance.
In 2010 about 280 Mt of sodium chloride salt was produced
around the world while Australia produced 11.5 Mt out of this and
majority of the salt was produced by evaporation of saline ground
water or sea water [16]. At present electric pumps are being used to
move large volumes of saline water fromits source to the salt farms.
Solar ponds could be built on salt farms as all the raw materials are
readily available. Solar ponds can provide necessary heat to drive
thermal water pumps and the biggest advantage is their thermal
Nomenclature
d
b
bore diameter (m)
d
p
1
working fluid piston diameter (m)
d
p
2
water piston diameter (m)
D diameter of heat exchanger tube (m)
foC fraction of Carnot
g acceleration due to gravity (m/s
2
)
Gr
LHE
Grashof number for heat exchanger with length L
HE
H
d
delivery head (m of water)
H
s
suction head (m of water)
h specific enthalpy of working fluid (J/kg)
h
fg
specific latent heat of evaporation or condensation of
working fluid (J/kg)
k thermal conductivity of working fluid (W/m

C)
k
HE
thermal conductivity of heat exchanger material (W/
m

C)
L
HE
length of the heat exchanger tube (m)
m
wf
mass of working fluid per stroke (kg)
P absolute pressure of working fluid (Pa)
P
atm
local atmospheric pressure (Pa)
P
wf,d
absolute pressure of working fluid during delivery
stroke (Pa)
P
wf,s
absolute pressure of working fluid during suction
stroke (Pa)
P
d
absolute delivery pressure on water side (Pa)
P
s
absolute suction pressure on water side (Pa)
PR pressure ratio
_
Q
A
available heat flux (J/m
2
/day)
Q
S
total heat consumed per stroke (J/stroke)
_
Q
E
heat flux extracted from solar pond per day (J/m
2
/day)
Q
in_S
sensible heat input per stroke (J/stroke)
Q
in_L
latent heat input per stroke (J/stroke)
Q
cc
cooling capacity (J/stroke)
_
Q
cc
rate of heat transfer in cooling coil (W)
_
Q
HE
rate of heat transfer in heat exchanger/evaporator (W)
Ds stroke length (m)
_
V volume flow rate of water pumped/m
2
of solar pond/
day (m
3
/m
2
/day)
DV discharge volume per stroke (m
3
)
DV
p
1
change in volume of working fluid per stroke for piston
1 (m
3
)
DV
p
2
volume of water pumped per stroke for piston 2 (m
3
)
N
S
number of strokes per m
2
of solar pond per day
(strokes/m
2
/day)
y specific volume of working fluid (m
3
/kg)
t
d
time for single delivery stroke to complete (s)
t
s
time for single suction stroke to complete (s)
T temperature of working fluid (

C)
T
HE,i
temperature of inner wall surface of heat exchanger
(

C)
T
cc,i
temperature of inner wall surface of cooling coil (

C)
W
d
delivery work per stroke (J)
W
s
suction work per stroke (J)
W
t
total work done per stroke (J)
x
HE
heat exchanger tube wall thickness (m)
m dynamic viscosity of working fluid (N s/m
2
)
n kinematic viscosity of working fluid (m
2
/s)
a thermal diffusivity of working fluid (m
2
/s)
b thermal expansion coefficient of working fluid (1/

C)
r
w
density of liquid water (kg/m
3
)
r density of working fluid (kg/m
3
)
h
o
overall theoretical efficiency (%)
h
t
thermodynamic efficiency (%)
Subscript
1 thermodynamic property of working fluid at point 1
2 thermodynamic property of working fluid at point 2
3 thermodynamic property of working fluid at point 3
3
0
thermodynamic property of working fluid at point 3
0
4 thermodynamic property of working fluid at point 4
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 512
energy storage capacity. So theoretical performance of the new
thermal water pump coupled with a solar pond located at Pyramid
Hill in north Victoria, Australia is investigated. This paper hopes to
develop interest in further research on the proposed thermal water
pumpcoupledwithsolar ponds as means of continuous heat source.
Wind energy driven water pump needs reliable nature of wind for
optimum utilisation. Wind energy cannot be stored easily and has
very moderate energy density. While solar energy is comparatively
easy to store as thermal energy in solar ponds. And a thermal water
pump coupled with solar pond that has achieved equilibriumwould
have the capability to operate at any time no matter if it cloudy or
even night. Although this type of thermal water pump esolar pond
system has some disadvantages like the time required in achieving
steady state condition, land required for solar pond and water
consumption of solar pond due to evaporation.
2. Working principle
Fig. 1shows workingof the newthermal water pumpthroughthe
system schematic. Here the new thermodynamic power cycle is
called as Thermal Power Pump cycle (TPP cycle) or Date’s cycle. The
pump consists of following components: a well-insulated pistone
cylinder arrangement withbore diameter of d
b
andthe stroke length
Ds, suction line (SL) and delivery line (DL) with non-return valves,
heat exchanger with very small volume to evaporate the working
fluid (HE), working fluid pump (P
wf
) with a non-return valve to
charge the HE, inlet valve (A) to start the delivery stroke, exhaust
valve (B) to start the suction stroke, cooling coil (CC) to condense the
saturated vapour of working fluid which is present in the cylinder at
the end of delivery stroke, working fluid reservoir (R).
As shown in Fig. 1, initially the cylinder is filled with feed water
while the piston sits on the bottom end stop (BES). The HE has a
very small volume compared to the piston displacement volume.
Initially the HE contains a small amount of saturated vapour of
working fluid at the heat exchanger temperature fromthe previous
cycle.
Just before the delivery stroke starts and while valve A is still
closed all of the condensed working fluid fromthe previous stroke is
pumped into the HE, this process is shown in Fig. 2 frompoints 4e1.
The mass of compressed liquid working fluid that is introduced is
equal tototal volume displaced during the deliverystroke dividedby
the change in the specific volume of working fluid during delivery
stroke as is explained with the aid of equations in the next section.
Immediately after the compressed liquid working fluid is
pumped into the HE, valve A, as shown in Fig. 1, is opened and the
working fluid is allowed to expand at constant pressure from point
1 to point 3 as shown in Fig. 2. Sensible heat Q
in_S
and latent heat
Q
in_L
are added during the constant pressure expansion process,
whilst delivery work W
d
is extracted as shown in Fig. 2. Expansion
is complete when the liquid working fluid from the HE is fully
evaporated and the piston hits the TES.
Immediately after the piston hits the TES, valve A is closed and
the valve B is opened as shown in Fig. 1. At this point a very small
amount of saturated vapour working fluid remains in the HE.
Opening valve B allows the saturated vapour working fluid in the
cylinder to enter the cooling coil, cool and condense. The vapour
pressure will fall at constant specific volume during the initial stage
of cooling, until the working fluid pressure is lower than the saline
feed water pressure, at which point the piston will start to move
down with the working fluid at constant pressure. While the piston
moves down water from the feed water source is pulled into the
cylinder and this process represents the suction stroke. When all of
the saturated vapour fromthe cylinder is condensed and the piston
is on the BES, the suction stroke is considered to be completed. The
work done on the working fluid by the water from the ground bore
is termed suction work W
s
. At the end of the suction stroke the
cylinder is filled with water ready for the next delivery stroke. Then
valve B is closed and immediately the working fluid pump is acti-
vated to allow a mass m
wf
of compressed liquid working fluid to be
pumped into the HE for the next delivery stroke. Thereafter the
process is repeated to achieve continuous operation of the pump. In
a practical application, the opening and closing of the valves would
be automatic.
In a Rankine cycle, the working fluid is heated at constant
pressure to saturated vapour and then this saturated vapour further
expands in an expander (turbine) to generate work output. In the
proposed TPP cycle the work is extracted as the working fluid is
being heated/evaporated at constant temperature (2e3). The feed
DL
Water
SL
TES
P
BES
s
d
b
A
B
HE
CC
Open
Closed
R
P
wf
Delivery stroke
A – Working fluid flow control valve
B – Working fluid flow control valve
BES – Bottom End Stop
TES – Top End Stop
P – Piston
SL – Suction Line
DL – Delivery Line
HE – Heat Exchanger
CC – Condenser / cooling coil
R – Reservoir
P
wf
– Working Fluid Pump
s – Stroke length
d
b
– Bore diameter
Suction stroke
SL
DL
TES
P
BES
Saturated
Vapour of
Working
Fluid
d
b
A
B
HE
CC
Closed
Open
R
P
wf
s
Fig. 1. Working strokes of the thermal water pump.
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 513
water adds work to the working fluid during the condensation
process (3e3
0
e4) as shown in Fig. 2.
This type of thermal pump should be designed depending on
the application and available heat source and sink. If the suction
and delivery head is very critical then the selection of the heat
source, heat sink and working fluid can be such that it provides
enough working pressure. On the other hand if the available heat
source and sink were meant to be used then selection of working
fluid is the only option to determine the suction and delivery head.
3. Theoretical analysis
In this section attempts have been made to offer governing
equation for the proposed thermal water pump based on the TPP
cycle with help of the pump schematic and the Pev and Peh dia-
grams shown in Figs. 1 and 2.
The mass of the working fluid required per cycle depends on the
discharge volume per stroke and the specific volume of the satu-
rated vapour of working fluid under the required delivery head. The
mass of working fluid required per cycle can be calculated from the
following equation.
m
wf
¼
DV
ðy
3
À y
2
Þ
(1)
Here the discharge volume is proportional to the cylinder bore
diameter d
b
and the stroke length Ds.
To start the first cycle it is assumed that the piston is resting on
the BES and the cylinder is filled with water. Valve A and B are
closed and the HE is charged with the working fluid. The constant
pressure heating process from point 1e2 represents sensible
heating of the working fluid without any phase change and this
takes place before the valve A is opened. The amount of sensible
heat added to the working fluid from point 1e2 can be calculated
from the following equation.
Q
in S
¼ m
wf
 ðh
2
À h
1
Þ (2)
For the purpose of calculation the specific enthalpy of the
working fluid at point 1 can be assumed to be equal to the specific
enthalpy of the working fluid at point 4, as shown by Peh diagram
in Fig. 2.
Before the valve A is opened the working fluid pump is turned
off. Once the valve A is opened the working fluid starts to evaporate
at constant temperature, this caused the piston to rise and push the
water out through DL. The amount of latent heat added to the
working fluid during the constant temperature expansion process
2e3 can be calculated using the following equation.
Q
in L
¼ m
wf
 ðh
3
À h
2
Þ (3)
The total heat supplied to the thermal water pump during a
single cycle is the sum of the sensible and latent heats.
The delivery head is directly proportional to the saturation
pressure of the working fluid for the constant temperature pro-
cess 2e3.
H
d
¼
_
P
wf;d
À P
atm
_
r
w
g
¼
ðP
2
À P
atm
Þ
r
w
g
(4)
Work done in pushing water during the delivery stroke 2e3 can
be calculated from following equation.
W
d
¼ DV Â
_
P
wf ;d
À P
atm
_
¼ DV Â ðP
2
À P
atm
Þ (5)
To start the suction stroke valve A is closed and valve B is
opened. The amount of cooling required for completing the suction
stroke 3e4 can be calculated using the following equation.
Q
cc
¼ m
wf
 ðh
3
À h
4
Þ (6)
The amount of suction work done can be calculated from the
following equation.
W
s
¼ DV Â
_
P
wf ;s
À P
atm
_
¼ DV Â ðP
4
À P
atm
Þ (7)
The suction head is directly proportional to the saturation
pressure of the working fluid at point 4 and can be calculated from
following equation. The value obtained fromthe following equation
is negative as it is less than the local atmospheric pressure.
P

(
k
P
a
)
v (m³/kg)
1
2
3
4
W
d
W
s
v
3
v
4
P
4
P
1,2,3
Q
in_S
W
in
Constant pressure heat addition to liquid working fluid
Delivery Stroke – Constant temperature heat addition
Suction Stroke – Condensation
Cold liquid working fluid at initial temperature is
pressurised reversibly to a high pressure by a pump. In
this process, the volume changes slightly.
1 – 2
2 – 3
3 – 3’ – 4
4 – 1
P

(
k
P
a
)
h (kJ/kg)
1
2
3
4
W
d
W
s
Q
in_L
h
3
h
1
h
4
W
in
P
4
P
1,2,3
Q
in_L
Q
in_S
Valve A Open
Valve B Closed
P OFF
Valve A Closed
Valve B Closed
P ON
Valve A Closed
Valve B Open
P OFF
3’
3’
Fig. 2. Idealised thermodynamic power cycle on a Pev and Peh diagram.
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 514
Although the suction head is shown as positive in graphs in the
discussion section of this paper.
H
s
¼
_
P
wf ;s
À P
atm
_
r
w
g
¼
ðP
4
À P
atm
Þ
r
w
g
(8)
The total work output of the thermal water pump is the sum of
the suction work and the delivery work.
W
t
¼ W
s
þ W
d
(9)
The work input in pumping the condensed working fluid into
the HE can be calculated from following equation.
W
in
¼ m
wf
 y
4
 ðP
1
À P
4
Þ (10)
The total heat that is consumed per stroke is the sum of sensible
heat, latent heat.
Q
S
¼ Q
in S
þ Q
in L
(11)
The ideal thermodynamic efficiency of the high pressure ther-
mal water pump can be calculated from the following equation.
h
t
¼
W
t
Q
S
(12)
The theoretical overall efficiency of the thermal water pump can
be calculated from the following equation.
h
o
¼
W
t
À W
in
Q
S
(13)
The fraction of Carnot factor can be calculated using the
following equation.
foC ¼
h
t
h
Carnot
¼
_
W
t
Q
S
_
_
T
1
À T
4
T
1
þ273
_ (14)
Number of strokes per m
2
of solar pond per day depends on the
amount of available heat flux per day and can be calculated from
the following equation.
N
S
¼
_
Q
A
Q
S
¼
_
Q
E
Q
S
(15)
Nowthe volume flowrate of water pumped per m
2
of solar pond
per day is calculated from the following equation.
_
V ¼ N
S
ÂDV (16)
In the present study acetone is used as the working fluid and the
thermo-physical saturation properties of acetone have been taken
from the appendix of the heat pipes book by Dunn and Reay [17].
Fig. 3 shows the ideal thermal performance of the proposed ther-
mal water pump with acetone as a working fluid. The heat
exchanger and cooling coil are assumed to have heat transfer
effectiveness equal to 1, i.e. the working fluid is assumed to be heat
to the temperature of heat source and cooled to the temperature of
heat sink. In this case the heat sink temperature is assumed to the
20

C and the heat source temperature is varied. So a suction head
of about 7.7 m of water (gauge) could be achieved, when the local
atmospheric pressure is assumed to be 100 kPa.
It can be seen from Fig. 3 that for an ideal case with well-
insulated frictionless pistonecylinder device the theoretical over-
all efficiency of the proposed pump ranges from8% to 17% for a heat
source temperature range of 65

Ce100

C and heat sink
temperature maintained constant at 20

C. Further it can be seen
that the ideal overall efficiency of the thermal water pump is about
60% of the ideal Carnot cycle efficiency for the working temperature
range under consideration. An ideal case of the proposed thermal
water pump is several times more efficient than the thermal water
pumps investigated by other researchers in the past [2,3,9,13,14,18].
Ideal efficiency of trilateral cycle can be calculated using
following correlation as discussed by Fischer and Johann [19],
h
TLC
¼ 1 À
T
4
Âln
_
T
3
T
4
_
ðT
3
À T
4
Þ
(17)
Fig. 4 shows the comparison of fraction of Carnot factor for the
thermal water pump cycle and ideal trilateral cycle. It can be seen
that for a driving temperature difference of 60

C the foC factor for
ideal trilateral cycle is about 0.53 while that for the thermal water
pump cycle is about 0.40. The foC factor for thermal water pump
cycle is improved by reducing the driving temperature. While the
foC factor of an ideal trilateral cycle decreases when the driving
temperature difference is reduced. This characteristic is unique as
traditionally very low driving temperature difference (DT < 40

C)
have always been considered non-practical for work generation
[20e22].
In reality the proposed thermal water pump would have more
inefficiency due to: heat loss during the delivery stroke from the
saturated vapour of the working fluid to the surroundings, pressure
leakage from the piston, energy loss due to friction between piston
0%
3%
6%
9%
12%
15%
18%
21%
24%
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100
E
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y

(
%
)
D
e
l
i
v
e
r
y

H
e
a
d

(
m

o
f

w
a
t
e
r
)
Temperature of heat source ( C)
Delivery Head
Overall Efficiency
Carnot Cycle Efficiency
Ideal performance of a thermal water pump with Acetone as working fluid.
Heat sink is maintained at constant at 20 C which corresponds to a suction head of 7.7m of water
Fig. 3. Ideal thermal performance of the thermal water pump with acetone as working
fluid.
0.00
0.10
0.20
0.30
0.40
0.50
0.60
0.70
0.80
0.90
1.00
20 30 40 50 60 70
F
r
a
c
t
i
o
n

o
f

C
a
r
n
o
t

(
f
o
C
)
Driving temperature difference ( C) - (Th - Tc)
New thermal cycle
Trilateral Cycle
Fraction of Carnot fractor for thermal water pump cycle and ideal trilateral cycle.
Acetone as working fluid and heat source is maintained at constant at 80 C
Fig. 4. Comparison of new thermal water pump cycle with ideal trilateral cycle.
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 515
and cylinder. The effect of some of these causes of inefficiency can
be reduced if not eliminated with smarter design of the pump. A
thermal water pump with flexible bellows or diaphragm that
replace the piston would reduce frictional and leakage losses. An
optimised design of HE could reduce the time for the delivery
stroke and hence help reduce the heat losses during this stroke.
3.1. Pressure boosting
When the available heat source temperature is too low and the
available heat sink temperature is too high pressure boosting to
meet the requirement of suction and delivery head can achieved
with modified expander design as shown in Fig. 5. The pressure
ratio to estimate the relation between the change in volume of
working fluid and the water during the suction and delivery stroke
can be calculated using the following equation. Here the stroke
length Ds is assumed to be equal on both working fluid and water
sides.
PR ¼
ðP
d
À P
atm
Þ
_
P
wf ;d
À P
atm
_ ¼
ðP
s
À P
atm
Þ
_
P
wf;s
À P
atm
_ ¼
DV
p
1
DV
p
2
¼
Ds Â
_
d
p
1
_
2
Ds Â
_
d
p
2
_
2
¼
_
d
p
1
_
2
_
d
p
2
_
2
(18)
With this modification the total volume of water that is pumped
per stroke is reduced to compensate for the increase in the suction
and delivery pressure.
3.2. Heat transfer analysis
Following the basic thermodynamic analysis as discussed above
it is very important to analyse the heat transfer between the
working fluid and heat source and sink. To analyse the rate of heat
transfer in the heat exchanger it is very critical to know the heat
transfer limits along the heat source, heat exchanger wall and
working fluid.
The amount of working fluid required per cycle is calculated
using Equation (1) and the total amount of heat that is required to
evaporate this amount of working fluid is calculated using Equa-
tions (2) and (3) representing sensible portion and latent portion of
the total heat respectively. It should be noted that the amount of
working fluid required per cycle is very small due to large volu-
metric expansion during phase change.
When designing any device that utilises low temperature heat
source it is very important to have a minimum temperature
gradient between heat source/sink and bulk working fluid at the
evaporator/condenser respectively. Further in the present study
acetone is used as the working fluid and according to Rao and
Balakrishnan [23] acetone needs minimum 9

C of superheat to
start nucleate boiling. This means the temperature of the heat
exchanger (evaporator) inner wall should be 9

C higher than the
bulk working fluid and the heat source would have to be couple of
degrees higher than the heat exchanger inner wall, i.e. a minimum
DT of 11

Ce12

C between heat source and working fluid. For low
temperature utilisation this might not be practical and hence here
it is assumed that the mode of heat transfer between heat
exchanger inner wall and the working fluid will be limited to nat-
ural convection boiling and would never reach nucleate boiling.
Here the heat transfer limit due to natural convection boiling is
calculated using the Nusselt number correlation provided by
Churchill and Chu for vertical plate [24], it is assumed that the heat
exchanger is a vertical copper tube with large diameter (D) and
short length (L) that satisfies D=L 35=Gr
1=4
L
[25]. Further it is
assumed that the heat exchanger is immersed in the large pool of
hot water (i.e. LCZ) and the walls of the heat exchanger are
isothermal.
_
Q
HE
¼
k
2
L
HE
Â
_
_
_
_
_
0:68 þ
0:67 Â
_
g  b
2
Â
_
T
3
À T
HE;i
_
 L
3
HE
a
2
n
2
_1
=
4
_
1 þ ð0:492 Â a
2
=n
2
Þ
9
=
16
_4
=
9
_
_
_
_
_
 A
HE
Â
_
T
3
À T
HE;i
_
(19)
p
d
p
d
P
wf
p
d
p
d
p
2
Saline
ground
water /
sea water
Connecting rod
Open to atmosphere
Working fluid
Fig. 5. Schematic of pressure boosted thermal water pump.
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 516
The time required for a single delivery stroke to complete can be
calculated using the following equation.
t
d
¼
Q
S
_
Q
HE
(20)
To analyse the rate of heat transfer in the cooling coil
(condenser) it is very important to know the configuration of the
condenser. For the present thermal water pump the cooling coil is
assumed to be immersed in a large pool of cold water or similar
heat sink. So it is reasonable to assume that the cooling coil surface
is isothermal. Further it is assumed that the working fluid vapour
enters the cooling coil at very lowvelocity i.e. Reynolds number less
than or equal to 35,000. The correlation for condensation of organic
fluids at low velocities inside horizontal tubes is used to calculate
the condensation heat transfer limit [25].
_
Q
cc
¼ k
4
 A
cc
Â
_
T
4
À T
cc;i
_
Â0:555
Â
_
r
4
 ðr
4
Àr
3
Þ Â g  k
3
4
 h
0
fg;3
m
4
 D
cc
Â
_
T
4
À T
cc;i
_
_
1
=
4
(21)
Here the modified enthalpy of vaporisation is given by
h
0
fg;3
¼ h
fg;3
þ0:37 Â c
p;4
 ðT
4
À T
cc;i
Þ [25].
The time required for a single suction stroke to complete can be
calculated using the following equation.
t
d
¼
Q
S
_
Q
cc
(22)
4. Solar pond coupled thermal water pump
No one has exploredthe idea of couplinga solar pondto a thermal
water pump. In past solar ponds have been used to supply heat for
several industrial application and one of the recent application of
solar pond in Australia was at Pyramid Hill in State of Victoria [26].
Also researchers around the world have used solar ponds to produce
power using organic Rankine cycle heat engines [27,28]. Large areas
of northernVictoria inAustralia have been salt affectedlandwith the
salinity of the water in the aquifer of the affected region ranges from
several hundred to several thousands of ppm (25,000e30,000 ppm
in the area of this study) and the water table is only a few meters
belowthe ground surface as stated in the report on the trends of the
ground water in Mallee region (north Victoria) [29]. This offers an
almost infinite source of low saline water for construction and
maintenance of salinitygradient solar ponds. Also, landinthis region
is relatively flat and receives sunshine at a yearly global average rate
of approximately 19 MJ/m
2
/day on horizontal surfaces. These char-
acteristics have been identified as providing favourable conditions
for construction and operation of solar ponds as sources of industrial
process heat for the salt industry which operates in northern Vic-
toria. On this basis a 3000 m
2
solar pond was constructed in Pyramid
Hill as part of the facilities of the Pyramid Salt Company in northern
Victoria. The 3000 m
2
solar pond at Pyramid Hill was used to supply
industrial process heat for salt drying process [26]. At present electric
water pumps are used to pump saline ground water to the evapo-
ration ponds at Pyramid Salt Company. Using a thermal water pump
coupled with a solar pond to pump the saline ground water would
have lots of advantages. In this section simple thermal performance
analysis of a thermal water pump coupled with a solar pond located
at Pyramid Hill in Victoria has been carried out.
4.1. Solar pond
A solar pond is a large body of saline water whose salinity in-
creases with depth. These ponds are used as solar thermal energy
collectors that can simultaneously store heat for long period, so
they are suitable for sessional solar thermal energy storage. In case
of fresh water ponds all the solar radiation that fall on the surface is
absorbed by top 3 m of fresh water and this thermal energy is
rapidly lost to the atmosphere through natural convection heat
transfer. So the temperature of a fresh water pond never rises and is
almost constant throughout the fresh water pond depth.
A solar pond has three layers namely upper convective zone
(UCZ), non-convective zone (NCZ) and lower convective zone (LCZ).
The UCZ is made of almost fresh water and is about 0.3 mthick. The
NCZ is made of water with different salinity; at the top of NCZ the
salinity of water is similar to that of UCZ water while at the bottom
of NCZ the water has salinity close to saturation, while the entire
LCZ is made of water with salinity close to saturation. In case of the
solar pond the natural convection is suppressed by the presence of
the salinity gradient in the NCZ and hence the solar energy that is
absorbed by the water in the LCZ is trapped and stored.
Practical heat extraction from LCZ for different applications is
very common. In past heat has been extracted from LCZ using two
methods, in the first method hot saline water is extracted from
the LCZ and passed through an external heat exchanger as used at
Kutch in India to supply heat to a dairy [30] and Beith Haarava in
Israel to supply heat for power production [28]. In the second
method an in-pond heat exchanger is used for heat extraction
from the LCZ as used at Pyramid Hill, Victoria to supply heat for
salt drying [26] and Mashhad in Iran [31]. Tabor [32] has dis-
cussed both of these methods in his review of solar pond tech-
nology, and stressed that both methods have convenient practical
merit.
Transient thermal performance analysis with a one dimensional
numerical model as proposed by Wang and Akbarzadeh [33] has
been used to predict the temperature development profiles of the
solar pond located at Pyramid Hill in Victoria for the present study.
For this simulation the UCZ is assumed to be 0.3 m thick and is
considered to be a single layer for the purpose of the finite differ-
ence temperature estimation. The salinity of the water in the UCZ is
assumed to be 2% and the salt is sodium chloride. The temperature
of the UCZ is assumed to the equal to the monthly average local
daily temperature as suggested by Hull and Weinberger [34,35].
This assumption has been made to simplify the solar pond analysis.
For accurate performance prediction of the solar pond it is impor-
tant to consider the energy balance between UCZ and the air
interface as discussed by Bansal and Kaushik [36]. The NCZ is
assumed to be 1.2 m thick with salinity at the top interface equal to
2% and at the bottom interface equal to 20%. The LCZ is assumed to
be 2.5 m thick with a constant salinity of 20%. So the solar pond
under investigation has a total depth of 4 m. A sinusoidal curve that
fits the monthly average values of global solar radiation on hori-
zontal surface and ambient temperature for north Victoria are used
in this simulations study.
The ground below the solar pond is assumed to have uniform
thermal properties. As explained by previous studies the under-
ground conditions have strong influence on the thermal perfor-
mance of the solar pond [33,37]. In this simulation it is assumed
that the solar pond is lined with plastic liner under which there is
5 m of natural clay. The thermal properties of the clay under
the pond liner are assumed to be: thermal conductivity
k
g
¼ 1.28 W/m K; density r
g
¼ 1460 kg/m
3
; specific heat capacity
c
pg
¼ 880 J=kg K [38].
Fig. 6 shows the LCZ temperature development for the above
mentioned solar pond configuration and UCZ temperatures over
one year period. It is assumed that the solar pond operation starts
in early spring (i.e. 1st October for southern hemisphere) and the
heat extraction starts 60 days later (i.e. on 1st December). The
temperature profiles used for the present study and as shown in
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 517
Fig. 6 are from the 1st October in the second year, this way the heat
extraction can be from early spring. In region of interest the annual
average global solar radiation received by horizontal surface is
about 18.7 MJ/m
2
/day. Fig. 6 also shows the daily average global
solar radiation received by the horizontal surface that is used for
temperature development simulation of the solar pond.
It can be seen from Fig. 6 that the amount of heat extraction has
a large effect on the LCZ temperature. In the present study two
scenarios of heat extraction are examined, Case A: 10% heat
extraction and Case B: 15% heat extraction of the annual average
global solar radiation received by horizontal surface. For Case A the
temperature development shows the maximum LCZ temperature
of 90

C and minimum temperature of 56

C. Further it can be seen
that with higher heat extraction rate for Case B the maximum and
minimum LCZ temperature drops by almost 10

C as compared to
Case A.
Further it can be seen from Fig. 6 that the temperature of LCZ
for Case A on 360th day is about 5

C higher than that on 1st
day. And for Case B the temperature of LCZ on 360th day is about
3

C higher than that on 1st day. The temperature of LCZ tends to
rise every year and this type of behaviour of the higher heat
capacity due to thicker LCZ as discussed by Wang and Akbarza-
deh [33].
4.2. Thermal water pump coupled to solar pond
Fig. 7 shows the schematic of the thermal water pump coupled
with a solar pond. The thermal water pump takes the water from
the ground water bore close to the solar pond. For continuous
operation valve A and valve B are solenoid valves and their oper-
ation is controlled by the sensors (proximity or contact) installed on
the BES and TES. The operation of the working fluid pump is also
controlled by the sensor on the BES. All the auxiliary power for the
valves, sensors and working fluid pump is supplied by a battery
connected solar photovoltaic system which is not shown in the
schematic.
The mode of heat transfer between the LCZ and the outer sur-
face of HE wall would be natural convection, between the outer
surface and the inner surface of HE wall would be conduction and
from the inner surface of HE wall to the working fluid will be
natural convective boiling for low temperature difference (<5

C)
or by nucleate boiling if large temperature difference is available
(>5

C). Although for the present study of ideal case it is assumed
that the HE has heat transfer effectiveness equal to 1. Similarly the
CC is also assumed to have heat transfer effectiveness equal to 1.
This means the working fluid is assumed to be heated to LCZ
temperature for delivery stroke and cooled to the UCZ temperature
for suction stroke.
All the thermal performance characteristics of the thermal wa-
ter pump coupled to a solar pond are estimated by using the solar
pond LCZ and UCZ temperature profiles as shown in Fig. 6 and the
governing equations discussed in Section 3 of this paper.
Figs. 8e10 show the ideal thermal performance of a thermal
water pump coupled to the solar pond for Case A and B. The suction
head is more or less constant at about 8 m throughout the year for
both heat extraction scenarios.
0
3
6
9
12
15
18
21
24
27
30
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360 D
a
i
l
y
A
v
g
.

G
l
o
b
a
l

S
o
l
a
r

R
a
d
i
a
t
i
o
n

r
e
c
e
i
v
e
d

b
y


H
o
r
i
z
o
n
t
a
l

S
u
r
f
a
c
e

(
M
J
/
m
²
/
d
a
y
)
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e

(
C
)
Days
LCZ Temperature @ Case A - 10% Heat Extraction LCZ Temperature @ Case B - 15% Heat Extraction
UCZ Temperature Daily Avg Global Solar Rad Hori Surface
Fig. 6. Temperature profile of a solar pond for Case A and Case B.
Solar Pond
LCZ
NCZ
UCZ
Sun
Ground
Water
Bore
A
Evaporation
pond
CC
Suction
head
Delivery
head
Saturated
Vapour of
Working
Fluid
B
SL
DL
HE
A – Working fluid flow control
valve (Hot Side)
B – Working fluid flow control
valve (Cold Side)
BES – Bottom End Stop
TES – Top End Stop
P – Piston
SL – Suction Line
DL – Delivery Line
HE – Heat Exchanger
CC – Condenser / Cooling coil
R – Reservoir
P – Working Fluid Pump
P
wf
BES
TES
Open Closed
R
P
Water
Fig. 7. Thermal water pump coupled to solar pond.
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 518
For Case A the maximum delivery head produced is about 22 m
and the useful delivery head is generated after 22nd day from the
start of the spring and this useful delivery head is maintained for
rest of the year. This means for Case A the pump would operate for
338 day in a year, i.e. the pump cannot be utilised for the whole
year.
For Case B the maximum delivery head produced is about 9 m
and the useful delivery head is generated after 75th day from the
start of the spring and is maintained till 260th day of that year. This
means for Case B the pump would operate for 185 day in a year, i.e.
the pump can only be utilised for half the year.
Limit on pump utilisation is due to the available heat source
temperature and the saturation pressures of the working fluid at
these temperatures. The present study uses acetone as the working
fluid and this put the lower limit to the temperature of heat source
to 56

C, as below this temperature saturation pressure drops
below local atmospheric pressure and make the delivery stroke
pressure useless. This shows the importance of appropriate selec-
tion of working fluid to match the available heat source for system
optimisation.
Fig. 8 shows that the maximum theoretical overall efficiency of
the pump for Case A is about 7.8% and the corresponding Carnot
cycle efficiency is about 19.5%, i.e. the maximum overall efficiency
of TPP cycle for Case A is about 40% of the Carnot cycle efficiency.
The annual average efficiency of the thermal water pump for the
Case A is about 6.6% and the annual average Carnot cycle efficiency
is about 16.9%, i.e. the annual average overall efficiency of TPP cycle
for Case A is about 39% of the annual average Carnot cycle
efficiency.
Fig. 9 shows that the maximum theoretical overall efficiency of
the pump for Case B is about 6.7% and the corresponding Carnot
cycle efficiency is about 16.5%, i.e. the maximum overall efficiency
of TPP cycle for Case B is about 40% of the Carnot cycle efficiency.
The annual average efficiency of the thermal water pump for the
Case B is about 5.5% and the annual average Carnot cycle efficiency
is about 13.4%, i.e. the annual average overall efficiency of TPP cycle
for Case B is about 40% of the annual average Carnot cycle efficiency.
This performance of the thermal water pump based on TPP cycle
shows potential to compete with Rankine cycle based thermal
water pumps as proposed by earlier researchers.
For Case Athe amount of heat extracted per m
2
of solar pond per
day is equal to 10% of the annual average global solar radiation
received by horizontal surface (18.7 MJ/m
2
/day), i.e. 1.87 MJ/m
2
/
day. For Case B the amount of heat extracted per m
2
of solar pond
per day is equal to 15% of the annual average global solar radiation
received by horizontal surface (18.7 MJ/m
2
/day), i.e. 2.8 MJ/m
2
/day.
Even though the amount of heat extracted per day for the Case B is
more than that for Case A, the LCZ temperature for Case B is lower
than that for Case A and this prevents optimum utilisation of the
available thermal energy in the pond with acetone driven thermal
water pump.
Fig. 10 shows ideal volume of water pumped per unit area of
solar pond per day (m
3
/m
2
/day) for Case A and B. The maximum
volume of water pumped per m
2
of solar pond in a single day for
Case A and Case B is same and equal to 1.28 m
3
. The minimum
volume of water pumped per m
2
of solar pond in a single day for
Case A is about 0.53 m
3
and that for Case B is 0.78 m
3
. The sum of
volume of water pumped per m
2
of solar pond per year for Case A is
about 270 m
3
/m
2
/year and for Case B it is about 177 m
3
/m
2
/year.
4.3. Australian salt production
As discussed in the Introduction section every year 11.5 Mt of
salt is produced in Australia from sea and ground water [16]. About
400 Mt of saline water with 2.5%e3% salinity would be required to
produce 11.5 Mt of salt. Large amount of energy would be required
to move such large amount of saline water from sea or aquifer to
the evaporation ponds. For example, if the total pumping head is
assumed to be roughly 10 mincluding the fluid frictional head, then
about 40,000 GJ of mechanical energy would be required to move
400 Mt of saline water from source to evaporation ponds.
If it is assumed that the thermal water pumps operates at annual
average efficiency of 5%, then the total thermal energy required to
0%
2%
4%
6%
8%
10%
12%
14%
16%
18%
20%
22%
24%
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360
E
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y

(
%
)
W
a
t
e
r

H
e
a
d

(
m
)
Days
Delivery Head Suction Head Overall efficiency Carnot Cycle Efficiency
Thermal water pump coupled to solar pond with 10% heat extraction of annual average daily global solar
radiation received on horizontal surface
Useful delivery head
generated after 22 day
~19.5%
Maximum efficiency ~7.8%
Fig. 8. Ideal performance of thermal water pump coupled to solar pond for Case A.
0%
2%
4%
6%
8%
10%
12%
14%
16%
18%
20%
22%
24%
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360
E
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y

(
%
)
W
a
t
e
r

H
e
a
d

(
m
)
Days
Delivery Head Suction Head Overall efficiency Carnot Cycle Efficiency
Thermal water pump coupled to solar pond with 15% heat extraction of annual average daily global solar
radiation received on horizontal surface
Useful delivery head
generated after 75 day
Useful delivery head
available till 260 day
~16.5%
Maximum efficiency ~ 6.7%
Fig. 9. Ideal performance of thermal water pump coupled to solar pond for Case B.
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
2.0
2.2
2.4
2.6
2.8
3.0
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360
V
o
l
u
m
e

o
f

W
a
t
e
r

p
u
m
p
e
d

/

m
²

/

d
a
y

(
m
³
/
m
²
/
d
a
y
)
Days
Volume of Water @ Case A Volume of Water @ Case B
Useful water flow
available after 22 day
for 10% heat extraction
Useful water flow
available after 75 day
for 15% heat extraction
Useful water flow
available till 260 day
for 15% heat extraction
0.78m
0.53m
1.28 m
Fig. 10. Volume of water pumped per unit area of solar pond per day (m
3
/m
2
/day).
A. Date, A. Akbarzadeh / Applied Thermal Engineering 58 (2013) 511e521 519
produce 40,000 GJ of mechanical pumping energy would be
800,000 GJ. On average annually 1 GJ/m
2
of thermal energy is
available from a solar pond with 15% heat extraction rate. This
means total 800,000 m
2
or 80 Ha of solar pond floor e required to
supply enough thermal energy to pump the 400 Mt of saline water
from its source to evaporation.
4.4. Application of the thermal water pump at Pyramid Hill Salt
Company e an example
On average the ground water depth in northern Victoria lies
between 2 m and 10 m [29], so the proposed thermal water pump
would be suitable for water pumping in this region. For deeper
aquifers modified pressure boosting or submersible thermal water
pump most be designed.
At the Pyramid Hill Salt Company site there are 12 bores that
supply about 1500 m
3
/day of saline ground water to the evapora-
tion ponds. Further about to west of the evaporation system there
are another 10 bores that supply about 1300 m
3
/day of additional
saline water, this information has been supplied on the Pyramid
Hill Salt Company website [39]. So the total volume of saline ground
water that is pumped into the evaporation pond system is about
2800 m
3
/day.
As discussed in the previous sub-section a thermal water pump
based on the TPP cycle coupled to a solar pond with configuration
of 0.3 m UCZ, 1.2 m NCZ and 2.5 m LCZ and Case A of 10% heat
extraction can pump a minimumof 0.53 m
3
of water per m
2
of solar
pond floor per day. So a solar pond with floor area of about 4700 m
2
is required to pump the daily volume of water from these 22 bores.
Number of small stroke volume capacity thermal water pumps
would be more practical from point of easy of manufacture and
reliability of water supply.
Based on rough estimates for small thermal water pump with
stroke volume of 20 L, the heat exchanger (copper tube) surface
area of about 0.01 m
2
would be require to achieve desired latent
heat transfer. While 10 times larger condenser (copper tube) sur-
face area 0.1 m
2
will be required to maintain the desired cold side
temperature. Further based on these rough estimates the total time
required to complete a suction and delivery stroke is calculated to
be 20 s. This means when this 20 L thermal water pump operates
for 24 h it could pump a total volume of 140 m
3
/day, i.e. 20 of these
20 L volume thermal water pumps coupled with 5200 m
2
solar
pond could pump 2800 m
3
of water from the bores to the evapo-
ration ponds per day. A thorough design of the heat exchanger and
condenser should be made in future for accurate economic com-
parison of the thermal water pump systemwith and electric water
pump system.
The present solar pond at Pyramid Hill is 3000 m
2
and it is only
2 mdeep with LCZ thickness of about 0.8 mand this solar pond will
not be able to supply all the heat at required temperature. So either
the present solar pond must be redesigned and modified to the
configuration used in the study or a new solar pond could be
constructed to supply the heat requirements of the thermal water
pumps.
5. Conclusion
The Thermal Power Pump cycle (TPP cycle) proposed and
examined in this paper is about 40% as efficient as a Carnot cycle for
driving temperature difference of 60

C with acetone as working
fluid. The thermal water pump based on the TTP cycle could be
simple to construct and operate as compared to some of the other
designs of the thermal water pumps proposed in the past. TTP cycle
has potential for water pumping applications with lowtemperature
heat sources. For an ideal thermal water pump acetone would be
suitable working fluid candidate, it provides can provide sufficient
water suction head of about 7.7 m with the heat sink at 20

C and
delivery head of about 35 m of water with heat source at 100

C.
Thermal water pump coupled to solar pond can help the salt pro-
duction industry to reduce their electricity consumption. For
configuration of the solar pond used in the present study, the rate of
heat extraction must be limited to a maximum of 10% to provide
almost all year operation of the pump. Increase in the heat extrac-
tion from 10% to 15% reduces the temperature of LCZ by 10

C that
makes acetone a less favourable working fluid for optimum energy
utilisation. An alternative working fluid should be selected for lower
LCZ temperatures. The proposed thermal pump coupled with
solar pond provides an alternative technology for application in the
salt industry in northern Victoria. Experimental investigation is
required for validation of the theoretical analysis discussed in this
paper. The thermal water pump application is not limited to the salt
industry. The proposed TPP cycle with heat engine that has pressure
boosting feature could be used to pressurize saline feed water to a
reverse osmosis desalination system. Another application of TPP
cycle could be to operate industrial hydraulic press using waste heat
from industry. TPP cycle based driven heat engine could be used to
compress air or any other fluid for specific industrial applications.
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