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Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1764e1768

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Applied Thermal Engineering


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng

Thermal performance of integrated collector storage solar water heater with


corrugated absorber surface
Rakesh Kumar*, Marc A. Rosen
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North Oshawa, Ontario L1H 7K4, Canada

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: An investigation is reported of the thermal performance of an integrated solar water heater with
Received 21 March 2010 a corrugated absorber surface. The thermal performance of the rectangular collector/storage solar water
Accepted 3 April 2010 heater depends signicantly on the heat transfer rate between the absorber surface and the water, and
Available online 14 April 2010
on the amount of solar radiation incident on the absorber surface. In this investigation, the surface of the
absorber is considered to be corrugated, with small indentation depths, instead of plane. The modied
Keywords:
surface has a higher characteristic length for convective heat transfer from the absorber to the water, in
Solar water heater
addition to having more surface area exposed to solar radiation. The corrugated surface based solar water
Thermal energy storage
Corrugated absorber
heater is determined to have a higher operating temperature for longer time than the plane surface. It
Thermal performance means during the operation of water heater, more solar energy is converted into useful heat. However,
System efciency this modication has reduces the efciency of the system marginally.
2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction extend the scope of suitability of the BIS system for year round
applications, the use of night insulation, transparent insulation and
The solar water heater is a well developed technology for water phase change materials have been considered [12e14].
heating in many countries, including Canada. Numerous solar water Evevit et al. [15] proposed a modied form of the BIS solar water
heater designs are available in the market, reecting the needs of heater, known as triangular built-in-storage (BIS) solar water heater.
different locations and applications [1]. Some designs are simple and Detailed theoretical studies of this system have been reported by
others complicated. Forced circulation-type solar water heaters with Kaushik et al. [16,17]. The triangular BIS system exhibited better
antifreeze are considered the best option in many cold climatic coun- overall performance than the rectangular design, due to enhanced
tries like Canada, due to large variation in the air temperature and heat transfer between the absorber surface and the water. A new
freezing conditions [2]. However, these systems are expensive and form of BIS system was recently proposed by Cruz et al. [18]: the
have payback periods of up to 20 years or more. Natural convection or trapezoidal BIS solar water heater. In this design the storage shape is
thermosyphon solar water heaters are popular in many developing trapezoidal and the absorbing surface is inclined at 45 from hori-
countries due to their simple designs and grid power independence [3]. zontal. Tarhan et al. [19] has investigated the temperature distri-
Another version of a solar water heater, the integrated solar bution in trapezoidal BIS solar water heater with/without phase
water heater or built-in-storage (BIS), has been proposed and tested change materials. Madhlopa et al. [20] has done experimental study
by several researchers [4e10]. The simple design of this type solar of temperature stratication in an integrated collector/storage solar
water heater has a good potential for many developing countries water heater with two horizontal tanks. All these modications of
and also for countries with cold climates (for seasonal applications). the integrated solar water heaters are intended to increase system
The integrated solar water heater provides a simple and economic efciency and usefulness for practical applications.
application of water heating via solar energy. This collector/storage The thermal storage ability of the solar water heater is impor-
system is integrated, as the collection of solar energy and storage of tant, as it dictates to a large extent the duration of time the
hot water occur in a single unit. The long term performance of collected thermal energy can be retained and consequently the
a built-in-storage solar water heater was studied by Garg [11]. To applicability of the device. Thermal energy storage has been
examined in great detail by Dincer and Rosen [21].
In the present study a modication to the shape of absorber
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 1 905 721 8668; fax: 1 905 721 3370. surface is suggested and analysed. A corrugated instead of plane
E-mail address: rakesh.kumar@uoit.ca (R. Kumar). absorber surface is considered. A small corrugation depth is

1359-4311/$ e see front matter 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2010.04.007
R. Kumar, M.A. Rosen / Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1764e1768 1765

considered (less than 1 mm). It was assumed that the surface can still Toronto. The hourly values of solar radiation were calculated using
considered plane for solar radiation collection. The modied surface the data of RETScreen [22] and from various correlations in Dufe
has a higher characteristic length, which affects the convective heat and Beckman [23]. Energy balance equations for proposed design
transfer coefcient from absorber surface to water, in addition to are developed for the absorbing surface and the water [24]. We
having more surface area exposed to solar radiation. The perfor- invoke several assumptions in the analysis:
mance of the modied rectangular BIS system is compared with the
non-modied version, in terms of design and operational parame- 1) As the depth of corrugation is less than 1 mm, it is considered
ters. It is observed that the proposed solar water heater convert more as a plane surface for determining the incident solar radiation,
solar energy into useful heat than the rectangular BIS system. as the impact of corrugation on the beam radiation reaching on
the absorber surface is small and, in fact, may be enhanced
through greater diffuse and reected radiation.
2. Design details
2) All thermo-physical properties were considered constant
within the operating temperature range of the water heater.
In present study the shape of integrated solar water heater is
3) There are no lateral gradients in the temperature of the
rectangular and the area of the absorber surface is calculated for
absorber surface and water in the storage tank.
different depths of corrugation (Fig. 1). The volume of water in the
4) All the components of the water heater at the beginning of the
tank is xed at 100 litres. All the surfaces of the storage tank are
heating cycle (morning) are taken to be at ambient temperature.
made of 20 gauge galvanised iron sheet. Only small corrugation
5) The inlet water temperature during constant ow withdrawal
depths on the absorber surface are considered. The depth of
is considered same as the ambient temperature.
corrugated surface is varied between 0.0004 m and 0.001 m. The
incident solar radiation is evaluated for such small depths treating
An energy balance can be expressed for the absorber surface as
the absorber surface as plane. The area of each groove is calculated follows:
based on the depth of corrugation and the total number of grooves
dTp    
in a 1 m length of water heater. The tank bottom and sides are mp cp ase It Ap  hpw Tp  Tw Ap  Ut Tp  Ta Ap (1)
insulated with a 5 cm thick layer of breglass. A transparent glass dt
cover is located at the top of absorber surface to minimize top The left hand side of above equation represents the change in the
losses. The effect of a night insulation cover on the performance of thermal capacity (mpcp) of absorber surface with time. (as)eItAp is
water heater is also assessed. When solar radiation strikes the glass the input solar radiation absorbed by the absorber of area Ap. hwp is
cover, most is transmitted to the absorbing surface while part is the convective heat transfer from the absorber to water and Ut is the
reected. The absorber surface absorbs most part of incident radi- overall heat losses from absorber to ambient air. Tp, Tw and Ta are the
ation. The angle of inclination of the absorber surface is taken to be temperatures of absorber, water and ambient air, respectively.
equal to the latitude of location to maximise the amount of incident Similarly, an energy balance can be expressed for the water in
solar radiation. This angle also impacts natural convection heat the storage as
transfer. The system is south facing.  
dTw
mw cw hpw Tp  Tw Ap  Ube Tw  Ta Abe
dt
3. Analysis _ w Tw  Tin
 mc (2)

The authors developed a transient model to analyse the thermal The left hand side of the above Eq. represents the change in the
performance of the integrated solar water heater with a corrugated thermal capacity (mwcw) of water with time. Ube is the bottom and
absorber surface. The input climatic variables are hourly values of _ w Tw  Tin is the
sides losses from the surface area Abe. The term mc
solar radiation and ambient temperature for a typical day of quantity of heat withdrawal from the tank with ow rate m. _

Fig. 1. Cross-sectional schematic of rectangular solar water heater with corrugated surface.
1766 R. Kumar, M.A. Rosen / Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1764e1768

Fig. 2. Variation during the day of solar radiation on horizontal surface and ambient Fig. 4. Variation throughout the day of water temperature with various surface
air temperature for a typical July in Toronto. corrugation depths, for an absorber with a night insulation cover.

The efciency of the system can be expressed as overall top heat losses are calculated using the empirical relation of
Z
  Klein [23].
mw cw Tw  Ta mc_ w Tw  Tin 100
The most important heat transfer relation for this investigation is
h Z (3) between the absorber surface and the water. Natural convection is
It dt the prominent mode of heat transfer in this instance. The inuence
of forced convection is ignored as the water ow rate considered is
The numerator of above Eq. represents the quantity of useful heat small. Faujii and Imura [26] have developed following correlation for
produced during the operation of water heater, whereas, the Nusselt Number from an inclined heating surface to water:
denominator represents the amount of solar radiation incident over
1=4
the glazing during sunshine. Nue 0:56Gre Pre cos q 105 < Gre Pre cos q < 1011 (8)
The values of solar radiation on a horizontal surface are con-
Here, q is the angle of the absorber surface relative to the vertical.
verted to inclined-surface values by using the Liu-Jordan relation
The above relation is valid when a hot surface is facing downwards.
[23]. To solve Eqs. (1) and (2), a forward time step marching tech-
In applying the above relation, all values are calculated (except the
nique is used. The values of Dt are restricted by stability consider-
volumetric coefcient of expansion) at the reference temperature
ations to values satisfying following relations:
Te, dened as
mp cp  
Dt  (4) Te Tp  0:25 Tp  Tw (9)
Ut hpw

mw cpw where Tp and Tw are the temperatures of the absorber surface and
Dt  (5) the water, respectively. The terms Gre and Pre are calculated using
Ube Abe hpw Ap
following relations:
With the forward time marching nite difference technique, Eqs.  
gb Tp  Tw L3c n
(1) and (2) can be re-written as Gre Pre (10)
Dt h   v2 a
ase It Ap  hpw Tp  Tw Ap
j1 j j j j
Tp Tp
mp cp where Lc is the characteristic length for the corrugated absorber
  i surface. The volumetric heat transfer coefcient b is determined at
j j
 Ut Tp  Ta Ap 6 a temperature Tw 0.25(Tp  Tw).

j1 j Dt h    
Tw Tw hpw Tpj  Twj j
Ap  Ube Tw  Taj Abe 4. Results and discussions
mw cw
 i
j j
_ w Tw
 mc  Tin 7 Calculations for a typical day are made for the climatic condi-
tions of Toronto. The month considered is July in order to permit
The values of the heat transfer coefcients in the above equations
are determined using empirical relations given in Holman [25]. The

Fig. 3. Comparison of water temperatures throughout the day for corrugated and Fig. 5. Variation throughout the day of water temperature in storage tank with various
plane absorber surfaces. corrugated surface depths of absorber without a night insulation cover.
R. Kumar, M.A. Rosen / Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1764e1768 1767

Fig. 6. Variation of efciency with the depth of corrugated surface, with and without Fig. 8. Variation of efciency with ow rate.
night a insulation cover.

examination of the period when the maximum heat is obtained cover) and from 40% to 35 % (without the night insulation cover).
from the solar water heater. The variations of solar radiation and The drop in efciency is due to the increased losses in the system at
ambient temperature for local conditions are plotted in Fig. 2. The higher temperatures. With the night insulation cover, the water
solar water heater is south facing and inclined at angle equal to heater is about 5 to 7% more efcient.
latitude of location (43.7 ). To improve the efciency of the water heater at larger corru-
The thicknesses of insulation on the bottom and sides are taken gated depths (i.e., more than 0.001 mm), the water needs to be
to be 5 mm. The depths of corrugation considered (0.0004 m, withdrawn continuously from the system at constant or intermit-
0.0007 m, 0.0009 m and 0.001 m) are, as noted earlier, small. tent ow rates. To assess the sensitivity, the variation of water
Nonetheless, the surface area increases by up to 40% relative to temperature and efciency is determined for several constant ow
a plane surface. The numerical evaluations are performed for a no- rates (10 kg/h, 20 kg/h, 30 kg/h and 40 kg/h). The variation in the
ow condition and for several constant ow rates (10 kg/h, 20 kg/h, temperature of the water and the efciency of the system are
30 kg/h and 40 kg/h). The inuence of a night insulation cover on shown in Figs. 7 and 8. As the ow rate changes from the no-ow
the water temperature and efciency are also assessed. condition to 10, 20, 30 and 40 kg/h, the water temperature falls and
Fig. 3 compares the performance of the water heater with and the system efciency increases. As the ow rate changes from
without a corrugated absorber surface. The depth of corrugation for 10 kg/h to 40 kg/h, the maximum water temperature decreases
this comparison is 0.001 m. For most of the day, the temperature of from 50  C to 34  C and the efciency increases from 32% to 71%.
water for the unit with a corrugated surface is 5 to 10  C higher The higher efciency is the result of lower losses, caused by lower
than for the unit with the plane surface. The water heater performs operating temperatures.
even better with the corrugated absorber surface when the night The results suggest that the corrugated absorber surface has
insulation cover is also applied. a signicant advantage over the plane surface in a rectangular built-
Figs. 4 and 5 show the daily variation in the temperature of the in-storage solar water heater, in that it permits higher water
water in the tank with different depths of corrugated surface, with temperature to be obtained for longer time periods. The efciency
and without night insulation cover. As the depth of corrugation of the system decreases marginally, but the efciency can be
changes from 0.0004 m to 0.001 m, the availability of hot water increased by continuous water withdrawal from the system.
increases for a longer duration. Hot water is available at over than
50  C for 12 h the collector with a corrugated depth 0.001 m. As the 5. Conclusions
corrugation depth increases from 0.0004 m to 0.001 m, the
maximum temperature of the water increases from 53 to 64  C, The introduction of corrugated absorber surface over plane
a gain of 11  C. The water heater with corrugated surface heated up surface in collector/storage type solar water heater is an option to
water faster than the plane surface. However, as seen in Fig. 6, the get more useful heat at higher temperature. For most part of the
efciency decreases from 46.8% to 42.4% (with the night insulation day the proposed solar water heater is having higher temperature
of water for use than the plane surface. Even though there is
decrease in the efciency marginally in the proposed system, but
that can be minimized by constant withdrawal of hot water from
the tank. The performance improves further with night insulation
cover. The modied water heater is not increase the system cost
appreciable over plane surface, as most parts of the design of water
heater are identical, except in the shape of absorber surface. This
design of water heater has a good potential to harness solar energy
at the reasonable high temperature without making signicant
change in the system price.

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the nancial support


provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Fig. 7. Daily variation of water temperature with ow rate. of Canada.
1768 R. Kumar, M.A. Rosen / Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1764e1768

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