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Renewable Energy

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

pump

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh*

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Shiraz University of Technology, Shiraz, Iran

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

Article history: This paper presents a novel solar-powered active Stirling converter with liquid power piston and solid

Received 24 September 2014 controllable displacer. First, the working principle of the proposed converter is described. Then, ﬁnite

Accepted 15 March 2015 time thermodynamic approach incorporating heat transfer equations are employed to determine gas

Available online 2 April 2015

temperatures in hot and cold spaces based on the assumption of imperfect regeneration. Accordingly,

pressure variation of the gas due to reciprocating motion of the displacer piston is investigated using the

Keywords:

obtained gas temperatures and Schmidt theory. Next, total work done by the converter and thermal

Active Stirling converter

efﬁciency are evaluated. Kinematic and dynamic equations governing the pump system are presented

Liquid piston

Thermodynamic

and the water ﬂow characteristics in suction and discharge states are investigated. A simulation study is

carried out through coupling and simultaneously solving the obtained equations. An optimization

scheme is thus conducted to ﬁnd an optimum frequency of the active converter so that a maximum

power is generated. The inﬂuences of regenerator efﬁciency, dead volumes, and water head on the

optimum operating frequency and the generated power are investigated. Finally, the proposed converter

is constructed and primarily tested. The experimental outcomes clearly reveal the feasibility of pumping

water at low temperature difference through the proposed active Stirling pump.

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

and the gas is then heated to further increase the pressure. The hot,

Many counties in the world have relied heavily on fossil fuel high-pressure gas is then expanded and work can be acquired. High

resources. However, the fossil fuels are known as non-renewable efﬁciency, long life time, low maintenance, low sound pollution,

and ﬁnite resources that will eventually dwindle or become too non-explosive nature and capability to use various fuels, can meet

expensive. Therefore, in recent decades, some efforts have been the demands of effective use of energy. The main drawback of

devoted to develop power plants, which operate based on renew- Stirling machines may be attributed to high initial cost and low heat

able energies such as bio-fuel, solar and other green resources. transfer in the heat exchangers [2]. In the 1970s and 1980s, a large

Attempts to achieve the most efﬁcient converter that operates amount of research was carried out on Stirling engines for auto-

based on different low-temperature heat sources (e.g. solar energy, mobiles. However, the Stirling engines were suitable for generating

waste heat and other renewable energies) led researchers to the constant power and thus, were not a proper choice for automobiles.

Stirling engine concept. The Stirling engine is an external com- In contrast, this characteristic was perfect for some applications

bustion engine. It is an old concept ﬁrstly proposed by Robert such as pumping water and solar power generation.

Stirling in 1816 (UK, patent no. 4081) [1]. The Stirling cycle ma- Stirling converters can be divided into low-temperature and

chines operate based on a closed regenerative thermodynamic high-temperature categories based on the range of operating

cycle, with cyclic compression and expansion of a working ﬂuid temperature. The efﬁciency of the high-temperature Stirling en-

(e.g. air, hydrogen or helium) at different temperature levels. gines is 30e40% corresponding to the temperature range of

923e1073 K [3]. On the other hand, low temperature differential

(LTD) Stirling engines can operate based on the low-temperature

heat sources. Although the LTD Stirling engines are not as suc-

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ989173147706; fax: þ987137264102. cessful as their high-temperature counterparts, the former have

E-mail addresses: alitavakolpur@yahoo.com, tavakolpour@sutech.ac.ir gained popularity in the last few decades due to the possibility of

(A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2015.03.041

0960-1481/© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

320 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

H hot plate (solar absorber)

h convective heat transfer coefﬁcient (W/(m2 K)) h hot gas

P instantaneous pressure (Pa) d displacer

m gas mass (kg) ds dead space

V volume (m3) loss heat loss

T temperature (K) p power piston (liquid piston)

Q heat (J) reg regenerator

r gas constant (J/(kg K)) i input

S cross sectional area (m2) t output

W work (J) 0 reference parameter

x liquid piston position (m) 1 reference parameter

y displacer piston position (m) 2 reference parameter

H height of water column (m) 3 reference parameter

D diameter (m) max maximum

Re Reynolds number min minimum

g gravitational acceleration (m/s2) out output

c length of horizontal pipe (m) in input

q volumetric ﬂow rate (m3/s) 0 isothermal process

Power generated power (W)

t time (s) Greek letters

u velocity ﬂow proﬁle (m/s) D difference

K minor pressure loss r density (kg/m3)

f Moody friction factor y frequency (Hz)

L length (m) t cycle period (s)

v average velocity (m/s) q angle (Hz)

h efﬁciency

Subscripts and superscripts g heat capacity ratio

C cold plate (sink)

power generation from many low-temperature sources of waste temperature difference. However, the proposed analytical tech-

heat in which the temperature is less than 646 K. nique was not usable for high temperature Stirling converters. They

Many researchers and scientists strived to improve the perfor- thus proposed an optimal volume ratio of 12.5 according to the

mance of the low-temperature Stirling cycle machines. Kolin [4] collector temperature of 373 K and sink temperature of 293 K

developed the ﬁrst conventional LTD Stirling engine. The engine through the proposed mathematical scheme. Noureddine et al. [9]

operated at temperature difference as low as 15 K. Senft [5] was one developed an LTD solar Stirling engine coupled with a water pump

of the pioneers of LTD Stirling engines. Senft designed and devel- for developing countries. Experimental investigation was imple-

oped an amazing small prototype of the LTD Stirling engine based mented to improve the output power of the gamma-type Stirling

on a temperature difference of 0.5 K. Indeed, it was the lowest engine for sinusoidal and discontinuous motions of the displacer

temperature difference reported amongst the previous works. piston considering ﬂat-plate heat exchangers. Chen et al. [10]

Iwomoto et al. [6] presented a comparison between the perfor- studied the heat transfer characteristics of a twin-power piston

mance of the LTD and high-temperature Stirling engines. It was Gamma-type Stirling engine using CFD analysis. They presented

shown that the efﬁciency of the LTD Stirling engines could temperature contours, velocity vectors, and distributions of local

approximately achieve 50% of the ideal Carnot cycle. It could be heat ﬂux along solid boundaries at several important time steps.

attributed to the fact that at lower temperatures the frictional and They then investigated the variation of the average temperatures,

mechanical losses were less signiﬁcant than high-temperature rate of heat transfer and engine power.

conditions. Kongtragool and Wongwises [7] presented eminent As mentioned earlier, it is well known that the conventional LTD

works on the LTD Stirling converters. They designed a single-acting Stirling engines suffer from low heat transfer in the heat ex-

twin-power piston LTD Stirling engine with gamma conﬁguration. changers and the challenge of sealing the high-pressure gaseous

Non-pressurized air was used as the working ﬂuid. The heater working ﬂuid (such as helium and hydrogen) [11]. Van De Ven et al.

temperature was about 589e779 K. The simulation and experi- [11] presented a primary study on changing the internal geometry

mental results revealed the effectiveness of the proposed LTD of a liquid piston Stirling engine to increase the surface area to

Stirling engine. Mertaj et al. [8] carried out a thermodynamic volume ratio. As a result, some improvements in heat transfer co-

analysis for an LTD Stirling engine at steady state operating con- efﬁcient were found. As a solution to the sealing problems, the

ditions. In this analysis, energy, entropy and exergy balances were Fluidyne Stirling engines were proposed [11]. The Fluidyne engines

applied to each element of the engine. Tavakolpour et al. [3] pre- (Stirling pump) were a type of free piston Stirling engines in which

sented a two-cylinder LTD Stirling engine powered by a 0.5 m2 ﬂat the water columns played the role of pistons. It was ﬁrst invented at

plate solar collector and without the application of regenerator. the Harwell Laboratory of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy

They proposed the procedure of ﬁnite dimension thermodynamic Institute in 1969, and the ﬁrst machines operated there in 1970 [11].

together with the Schmidt theory for optimizing the parameters of In these converters, the heat energy was ﬁrst converted to hy-

the proposed Gamma-type engine based on the assumption of low draulic energy of oscillating water columns and then, it could be

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 321

converted to mechanical or electrical powers. West [12] developed displacer mechanism is investigated and the optimum operating

a liquid-piston Stirling engine for pumping applications using the frequencies of the proposed converter corresponding to different

Fluidyne technology. West studied the dynamic behavior of the regenerator efﬁciencies, dead volumes and water heads are inves-

liquid piston Stirling engine and obtained the oscillation frequency tigated. Finally, the experimental converter is developed and pri-

of liquid column in the output tube using vector approaches [13]. marily evaluated.

Stammers [14] investigated the performance of the Fluidyne pump

at low temperature difference and ﬁnally, an approximate analyt- 2. Working principle of the proposed active Stirling converter

ical expression was presented to estimate the temperature differ-

ence required for small oscillation. Fangsuwannarak [15] studied Fig. 1 demonstrates the proposed solar-powered active LTD

the effects of regenerator application in a Fluidyne engine pos- Stirling pump. It basically consisted of the main chamber, solid

sessing a tuning column. The results revealed that the Fluidyne displacer, liquid power piston (which provides effective sealing

engine equipped with regenerator could operate at a lower tem- between the power piston and the corresponding cylinder), ﬂat

perature difference. Tantiwongpaisan [16] developed a simple plate solar collector (as a heat source), water cooling system (as a

liquid-piston Stirling engine. The developed engine could provide a heat sink), four-bar linkage mechanism coupled with a controllable

maximum ﬂow rate of 300 ml/min corresponding to water head of direct current (DC) geared motor and pumping chamber.

0.5 m. In another work, Fangsuwannarak [17] studied a prototype In this work, air at ambient temperature and atmospheric

Fluidyne engine with a supplementary tuning line that was an pressure was considered as the working ﬂuid in the main chamber.

important component of the U-tube displacer in order to achieve a However, pressurized helium is strongly recommended for a better

good performance. One end of the tuning line was at atmospheric performance. It is obvious that work is generated by reciprocating

pressure while the other end was attached to the bottom side of the motion of the displacer piston in the main chamber as it is done in

U-tube displacer. The oscillation frequency of the liquid piston was all Stirling engines. In this design, the motion of the displacer piston

thus adjusted by changing the dimensions of the tuning line so that was independent of the motion of the liquid power piston from

the resonance phenomenon occurred. It resulted in a higher kinematic viewpoint. Only, the pressure dynamics could couple the

pumping capacity. Other researches on the application of reso- motion equations of the pistons. Besides, the motion of the dis-

nance phenomenon in liquid piston Stirling engines in order to placer piston was controlled by a small DC geared motor as shown

obtain the maximum pumping capacity can be addressed in Refs. in Fig. 1. In other words, the working frequency of the proposed

[18e20]. converter could be adjusted by controlling the rotational speed of

Solar energy is one of the cleanest and most abundant renew- the DC motor that resulted in the controllable pressure variation of

able energy that can be used as a source of power all around the the gaseous working ﬂuid. A small photovoltaic solar panel incor-

world. Some researchers strived to develop thermal pumps using porating an appropriate charge controller and manual speed tuner

solar energy and Stirling cycle machines. Reader and Hooper [21] were considered to run the DC motor. The proposed active solar

proposed a solar-powered Stirling engine as a water pumping converter possessed several advantages compared to the fully

system in 1908. Walker and Senft [22] presented a general passive technologies. First, the proposed design enabled the users

description of the solar Fluidyne pumps. They presented the fun- to excite the liquid column in the pumping chamber with its

damentals of Fluidyne engines and the importance of resonance resonance frequency irrespective of the u-tube dimensions, which

frequency in Fluidyne pump. It was proposed to choose the oper- resulted in the highest possible pumping capacity. Secondly,

ating frequency of the Fluidyne pump close to its resonance con- discontinuous motion of the displacer piston was possible so that a

ditions. Wong et al. [23]reviewed the latest developments on the better heat transfer as well as an abrupt pressure change in the

solar water pumping systems up to 1998. Delgado-Torres [24] cylinder was acquired. It is important to note that the consumed

presented another similar work in 2009. Bumataria and Patel [25] energy by the DC motor will be less than the generated power by

presented a review work on development of the solar powered the Stirling machine if an efﬁcient Stirling converter is designed. In

Stirling engines that can be employed as a water pump at rural this research, the area of the solar panel was assumed much smaller

regions. Orda and Mahkamov [26] developed a passive LTD solar than the area of the ﬂat plate solar collector. It can be further dis-

thermal water pumps for use in developing countries using Stirling cussed from economical perspective. The photovoltaic solar panels

engines and ﬂat plate solar collectors. The experimental works (that should be replaced every 4 years due to ageing problem) are

revealed the feasibility of pumping water at low temperature dif- usually more expensive than the thermal collectors with the same

ference. However, the proposed system was a fully passive con- dimensions. On the other hand, the ﬂat thermal collectors possess

verter. As it was clearly reviewed, all the mentioned reports were long lifetime and can be simply updated by renewing the covering

previously conducted on the passive-type Fluidyne Stirling con- glasses, which is a cheap process. As a result, combining a small

verters. Hence, there remains some room for the application of photovoltaic solar panel with a thermal collector can combine all

active technologies in the Fluidyne converters. the mentioned beneﬁts together.

Based on the outlined literature there was no published paper in Fig. 2aed illustrates the working principles of the proposed

which a solar-powered active Stirling pump with liquid power solar converter in four states as follows:

piston and solid controllable displacer is presented. Hence, in this

paper, a novel solar-powered active Stirling pump with solid State (a): The solid displace piston is at top dead center (TDC)

controllable displacer and liquid power piston is proposed. First, and the gaseous working ﬂuid is in the compression space at the

the working principle of the converter is described. Then, a vicinity of the cold exchanger plate (see Fig. 2a). Consequently,

comprehensive mathematical model of the converter is presented pressure drop occurs in the main chamber and the liquid power

to simulate the system performance. The variation of ﬂuid pressure piston starts to move upwards in an isothermal compression

in the proposed Stirling converter is simulated using Schmidt process (process d-a) which results in the suction state.

theory and based on the estimated gas temperatures. Next, the State (b): The displacer piston is abruptly moved to bottom dead

dynamic equations governing the ﬂuid ﬂow in the pumping center (BDC) while the liquid power piston is ﬁxed. The gas

chamber (for suction and discharge states) are numerically solved volume is constant at its minimum value and the gaseous

considering the simulated pressure variation. The output power of working ﬂuid is transferred to the expansion space at the vi-

the active Stirling pump as a function of operating frequency of the cinity of the hot plate (solar absorber) in a constant volume

322 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 323

process (process a-b). Consequently, the gas pressure is transfer between the working gas and the exchanger plates. Some

increased to its maximum value. of the assumptions regarding the ﬂuid ﬂow are as follows:

State (c): according to the pressure increase of the gas, the liquid

power piston starts to move downwards and consequently, the 1. The ﬂow in the outlet pipe is time-unsteady

gas volume is increased in an isothermal process (process bec). 2. Fully developed laminar ﬂow

In this process work is generated and water is discharged to the 3. Incompressible ﬂuid (e.g. water as the ﬂuid in the pump)

reservoir. 4. Newtonian ﬂow with constant viscosity (m)

State (d): The displacer piston is abruptly moved to the TDC 5. The ﬂuid velocity proﬁle is symmetrical with respect to the

while the liquid power piston is ﬁxed. The gas volume is con- center line of the pipes

stant at its maximum value and it is transferred to the

compression space in a constant volume process (process ced).

As a result, the gas pressure is abruptly reduced to minimum

3.1. Thermal analysis

value.

The pumping process includes suction and discharge actions.

the pressure variation of the working gas due to the reciprocating

When the pressure of the gaseous working ﬂuid is more than the

motion of the displacer piston that caused the displacement of

static pressure of the water column at the outlet (which is due to

gaseous working ﬂuid between hot and cold sources. The total mass

heat transfer to the working ﬂuid), the input check valve is closed

of gaseous working ﬂuid included the gas mass within the expan-

while the output check valve is open. Accordingly, water is dis-

sion, compression, and regenerator spaces. However, since the

charged to the reservoir. In this process, it is assumed that the gas is

regenerator dead volume was considered small compared to the

isothermally expanded. Whereas, the suction state may occur once

expansion and compression spaces, the mass of gas in the regen-

the pressure of the working ﬂuid in the displacer cylinder is less

erator space was ignored. According to the proposed conﬁguration

than the static pressure at the inlet. It may result in opening the

represented schematically in Fig. 1 and based on the assumption of

input check-valve and closing the output check-valve. In this pro-

ideal gas, the gas mass in the expansion and compression spaces

cess, the working gas is isothermally compressed. However, the

can be expressed as [3]:

pressure condition cannot be a sufﬁcient criterion to determine the

status of the valves because the water columns possess dynamic PðSd y þ Vhds Þ

characteristics. It is possible to have the gaseous working ﬂuid at mh ðx; yÞ ¼ (1)

rTh

high pressure while the liquid power piston tends to return due to

its dynamic characteristics. Consequently, another important cri-

P Sd ðy0 yÞ þ xSp þ Vcds

terion regarding the velocity direction of water ﬂow must be mc ðx; yÞ ¼ (2)

rTc

considered to determine the status of each check valve.

Consequently, the total mass (m) inside the main chamber can be

One should keep in mind that for some time intervals both

computed (mreg was small):

check valves are closed which results in the constant volume pro-

cesses in the thermodynamic cycle. Hence, it is expected to have a

m ¼ mh þ mc þ mreg

thermodynamic cycle close to the ideal Stirling cycle with the

highest possible efﬁciency as one of the main contribution of the PðSd y þ Vhds Þ P Sd ðy0 yÞ þ xSp þ Vcds

¼ þ (3)

proposed design. The next section presents a comprehensive rTh rTc

mathematical model of the proposed Stirling converter.

Eq. (3) can be rearranged in terms of pressure as:

Pðx; yÞ ¼ (4)

Th Sd ðy0 yÞ þ xSp þ Vcds þ Tc ðSd y þ Vhds Þ

Fig. 3 demonstrates the ideal thermodynamic cycle of the gen-

eral irreversible LTD Stirling engines. The ideal Stirling cycle include Eq. (4) describes the internal pressure as a function of positions

two isothermal and two constant-volume processes as shown in of the displacer and power pistons (see Fig. 1). Finite time ther-

this ﬁgure. Throughout the modeling procedure, the classical modynamics states that there must be a ﬁnite temperature differ-

Schmidt assumptions [27] will be used except for ﬁnite heat ence between the working ﬂuid and the heat source so that a ﬁnite

amount of heat is transferred in a ﬁnite time [28]. Accordingly, it is

obvious that the actual temperatures of gaseous working ﬂuid in

the compression and expansion spaces are not the same as the solar

absorber and sink temperatures taking into account a ﬁnite time.

Clearly, the gas temperature in the compression space is more than

the sink temperature while the gas temperature in the expansion

space is less than the collector absorber. Thus, the following

mathematical procedure was presented to acquire the real gas

temperatures in the heat exchangers.

The total work produced by the pump over one cycle can be

expressed as:

I I

W¼ PdVp ¼ PSp dx (5)

where

Vp ¼ Sp x (6)

Fig. 3. General irreversible Stirling cycle.

324 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

Substituting Eq. (4) into Eq. (5) and integrating over one cycle, the

total work done per cycle can be expressed as follows: Dm ¼ mh;max mh;min ¼ mc;max mc;min

¼ mh ð0; y0 Þ mh ðx0 ; y0 Þ

I Z0 Zx0

mTc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ

W¼ PSp dx ¼ Pðx; 0ÞSp dx þ Pðx; y0 ÞSp dx ¼

Th Vcds þ Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ

x0 0

mV T

Tc Vhds þ Th ðVcds þ Sd y0 Þ hds c (15)

¼ mrTc ln Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0

Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Tc Vhds

!! Indeed, the regeneration process is not perfect in practice and a

Tc ðVhds þ Sd Tc y0 Þ þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 heat loss due to imperfect regeneration appears in the cycle that

þ ln (7)

Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0 must be taken into account. The heat loss (QLoss) due to imperfect

regeneration can be stated as:

The required heat for isothermal expansion of the working gas

(if perfect regeneration is considered) over one cycle can be found

QLoss ¼ Qreg 1 hreg (16)

as:

I I Taking into account the heat losses due to imperfect regenera-

Qh0 ¼ PdVh ¼ PSd dy (8) tion, the total heat absorbed from the high temperature source (Qh)

and the total heat released to the heat sink (Qc) can be found as

follows:

where

Substituting Eq. (4) into Eq. (8) and integrating over a cycle, mrTc Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds

¼ ln

the required heat for isothermal expansion can be acquired as Tc Th Tc Vhds þ Th ðVcds þ Sd y0 Þ

follows: !!

Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0

þ ln

Zy0 Z0 Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0

Qh0 ¼ Pð0; yÞSd dy þ Pðx0 ; yÞSd dy

r 1 hreg

y0 þ Dm ðTh Tc Þ (17)

0 g1

mrTc Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds

¼ ln

Tc Th Tc Vhds þ Th ðVcds þ Sd y0 Þ Qc ¼ Qc0 QLoss

!!

Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0 mrTc2 Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds

þ ln (10) ¼ ln

Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 ðTc Th Þ Tc Vhds þ Th ðVcds þ Sd y0 Þ

!!

The heat released to the cold source in an isothermal Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0

compression process (if perfect regeneration is considered) is: þ ln

Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0

I I I

r 1 hreg

Qc0 ¼ PdVc ¼ PSd dy þ PSp dx (11) Dm ðTh Tc Þ (18)

g1

side the heat exchangers (Th, Tc) are different from the solar

Vc ¼ Sd ðy0 yÞ þ Sp x þ Vcds (12) absorber and sink temperatures (TH, TC). It is so important to

consider the real gas temperatures to estimate the work and power

Substituting Eq. (4) into Eq. (11) and integrating over one cycle, generated by the Stirling converter. Thus, in order to calculate the

the heat released to the cold source in an isothermal compression gas temperature in expansion and compression spaces the heat

process can be obtained: transfer equations were employed. Convection was considered as

0 1

Zy0 Z0 the dominant mode of heat transfer between the gas and the

B C exchanger plates. The convective heat transfer (Qh) from the col-

Qc0 ¼ @ Pð0; yÞSd dy þ Pðx0 ; yÞSd dyA þ W

lector absorber (at temperature TH) to the working gas (at tem-

0 y0

perature Th) can be expressed as:

mrTc2 Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds

¼ ln

ðTc Th Þ Tc Vhds þ Th ðVcds þ Sd y0 Þ h

Qh ¼ S ðT Th Þ (19)

!! n d H

Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0

þ ln (13)

Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 Besides, the amount of heat released to the heat sink from the

working gas is:

The heat stored in the regenerator can be expressed as:

h

r Qc ¼ S ðT Tc Þ (20)

Qreg ¼ DmCv ðTh Tc Þ ¼ Dm ðT Tc Þ (14) n d C

g1 h

Consequently, the temperature of the gaseous working ﬂuid in

where Dm is the amount of mass transfer between the hot and cold the expansion and compression spaces can be obtained through

spaces. It can be expressed as follows: equating Eqs. (17) and (18) to Eqs. (19) and (20) respectively,

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 325

mrTc Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds

Fh ¼ ln Fig. 4 depicts schematic diagram of a four-bar linkage mecha-

Tc Th Tc Vhds þ Th ðVcds þ Sd y0 Þ

!! nism used in the proposed design. It is clear that total mass of the

Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0 (21) working gas will be in the hot space when y ¼ y0 . Whereas, all

þ ln

Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 amounts of gas are transferred to the cold space when y ¼ 0.

Displacement of the displacer piston versus time can be formulated

r 1 hreg h

þ Dm ðTh Tc Þ Sd ðTH Th Þ ¼ 0 using kinematic analysis of a four-bar linkage mechanism that

g1 n

converts the rotational motion of the DC geared motor to recipro-

cating motion of the displacer piston.

According to Fig. 3, vertical displacement (z) of the displacer

mrTc2 Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds

Fc ¼ ln piston as a function of angles q1 and q2 can be obtained using

ðTc Th Þ Tc Vhds þ Th ðVcds þ Sd y0 Þ

geometrical relationships:

!!

Tc Vhds þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0 þ Sd y0 (22)

þ ln z ¼ l1 cosðq1 Þ þ l2 cosðq2 Þ (28)

Tc ðVhds þ Sd y0 Þ þ Th Vcds þ Sp x0

r 1 hreg h Besides, the relationship between the angles q2 and q1 can be

Dm ðTh Tc Þ Sd ðTC Tc Þ ¼ 0 stated based on the mechanism geometry as:

g1 n

Finding an explicit solution to the set of obtained nonlinear l1

equations (Eqs. (21) and (22)) is a difﬁcult task. Therefore, New- sinðq2 Þ ¼ sinðq1 Þ (29)

l2

toneRaphson method [29] was proposed to iteratively ﬁnd an

approximate solution: Substituting Eq. (29) into Eq. (28) yields:

2 31 sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

2

vFh

6 vT vFh

7

Th ðk þ 1Þ T ðkÞ 6 h vTc 7 Fh ðTh ðkÞ; Tc ðkÞÞ z ¼ l1 cosðutÞ þ l2 1 l1=l sinðutÞ ; u ¼ 2pn (30)

¼ h 6 7 (23) 2

Tc ðk þ 1Þ Tc ðkÞ 4 vFc vFc 5 Fc ðTh ðkÞ; Tc ðkÞÞ

vTh vTc

where u is angular velocity of the DC motor. Consequently, the

Eq. (23) can be solved recursively to ﬁnd the temperatures of position of displacer piston can be declared as follows:

gaseous working ﬂuid in expansion and compression spaces (Th

and Tc). The presented method for estimating the gas temperature y ¼ l1 þ l2 z

sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ1

0

can be applied to low-temperature and high-temperature Stirling 2

engines as well. It is the main advantage of the proposed mathe- ¼ l1 ð1 cosðutÞÞ þ l2 @1 1 l1=l sinðutÞ A (31)

2

matical scheme compared to the equations presented in Ref. [3]

where the assumption of low temperature difference (Th/Tc z 1)

was used to simplify the dimensionless equations and to obtain the Eq. (31) is the ﬁnal kinematic model that determines the posi-

gaseous working ﬂuid temperatures. Then, using the obtained gas tion of the displacer piston at each time instant according to the

temperatures, the thermal efﬁciency of proposed solar-powered angular velocity. Eq. (31) together with Eq. (4) is used to describe

Stirling converter can be found:

W

ht ¼ (24)

Qh

hS

d ðTc TC Þ

ht ¼ 1 hn (25)

n Sd ðTH Th Þ

Stirling cycle (see Fig. 2) based on the knowledge of gas tempera-

tures in the hot and cold spaces. However, it is a theoretical efﬁ-

ciency and the real Stirling converter cannot practically reach the

theoretical efﬁciency. Hence, a more realistic efﬁciency is calculated

in section 4.1 with more details. The ideal output power generated

by the Stirling converter can be written as:

Power ¼ Wn (26)

Substituting Eqs. (19) and (20) into Eq. (26), the power gener-

ated in an ideal Stirling cycle can be calculated as follow:

h h

Power ¼ Sd ðTH Th Þ Sd ðTc TC Þ n

n n

¼ hSd ðTH Th Þ hSd ðTc TC Þ (27) Fig. 4. Schematic diagram of four-bar linkage mechanism.

326 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

the internal pressure as a function of displacer piston position. One 3.3. Dynamic analysis of the water columns

should keep in mind that the ratio l1 =l2 should be as small as

possible. It causes a smaller value of the reaction force at the sup- It should be noted that the characteristics of water ﬂow in

port of the displacer rod. Furthermore, it can reduce the frictional suction and discharge states are entirely different as shown in

losses in the mechanism. Figs. 5 and 6. Therefore, dynamic analysis of the water columns

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 327

Table 1

Simulation data.

TH 393 (K) m 0.312387 (kg) c 0.5 (m)

TC 293 (K) Vhds 0.03Vd (m) g 1.4

Dp 0.3 (m) Vcds 0.03Vd (m) y 0.44 (rad/s)

Dt 0.07 (m) g 9.81 (m/s2) Di 0.07 (m)

Sd 1.88*0.88 (m2) r 1000 (kg/m3) h [3] 10 (W/(m2K)))

l1 0.065 (m) H 1.5 (m)

l2 0.36 (m) r 287 (J/(kg K))

328 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

Table 2

Convergence of parameter x0. dm

¼ m_ i m_ out (33)

dt

i x0 ðmÞ Tc ðKÞ Th ðKÞ PowerðWÞ ht ð%Þ

0 e 293 393 e e

Since, water was assumed incompressible ﬂuid, then r ¼ cte.

1 0.240236260465480 316.8171 368.5139 16.0322 3.9335 Hence, Eq. (33) was simpliﬁed to:

2 0.136487805916813 315.3629 370.3492 9.7275 2.5788

3 0.120461018249084 315.1873 370.5747 8.9011 2.3832 dV

4 0.115328539929931 315.1193 370.6623 8.5766 2.3053 ¼ qi qout (34)

dt

5 0.113737440828426 315.0982 370.6895 8.4755 2.2809

6 0.113235268960358 315.0915 370.6981 8.4434 2.2731

where qi is the input volumetric ﬂow rate which is equal to zero for

7 0.113072421058652 315.0893 370.7009 8.4330 2.2706

8 0.113007063675617 315.0884 370.7021 8.4287 2.2696 the mentioned conditions and qout is the output volumetric ﬂow

9 0.112980749082845 315.0881 370.7025 8.4270 2.2692 rate. Since, total volume of water was expressed as

10 0.112973776279858 315.0880 370.7027 8.4266 2.2691 V ¼ Sp ððL=2Þ xÞ þ St ððL=2Þ þ HÞ, thus:

11 0.112971887945176 315.0880 370.7027 8.4264 2.2690

12 0.112971378116764 e e e e dV dx

¼ qout /qout ¼ Sp (35)

dt dt

Table 3

The behavior of ﬂuid ﬂow versus time was investigated using

Convergence of gaseous working ﬂuid temperatures for x0 ¼ 0.1129713781 m using unsteady Bernoulli's equation along points 1 to 3 [30].

NewtoneRaphson algorithm.

Z3

k P1 v21 P v2 1 vv

þ þ z1 ¼ 3 þ 3 þ z2 þ ds þ hLo (36)

Temp. 1 2 3 4 5 rg 2g rg 2g g vt

1

Tc ðkÞ 293 315.1142 315.088 315.088

Th ðkÞ 393 370.6746 370.7027 370.7027

where

Z3 Z2 Z3

must be carried out in two distinct sections. The continuity law vv vv vv

ds ¼ ds þ ds

incorporating unsteady Bernoulli's equation was thus used to vt vt vt

1 1 2

describe the water ﬂow dynamics in the pump for both suction and

discharge actions. L L

x x

Z2 2Z 2Z 2

vv vv vv L d x

ds ¼ ds ¼ ds ¼ x

3.3.1. Discharge state vt vt vt 2 dt 2

1 0 0

The ﬁrst consideration was devoted to the discharge state as

shown in Fig. 5. According to this ﬁgure, the mass of water in the L L

þH þH

output section was stated as: 2Z 2Z

Z3

vv vv vv L S p d2 x

L L ds ¼ ds ¼ ds ¼ þH

m¼r x Sp þ r þ H St (32) vt vt vt 2 St dt 2

2 2 2 0 0

(37)

The variation of water volume in the output section of the pump

at discharge state was investigated using continuity law:

Fig. 8. Reciprocating motion of the displacer piston (DC motor speed ¼ 0.44 rad/s).

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 329

Consequently, Finally, substituting Eqs. (35), (38), (41) and (42) together with

P1 ¼ P0 , P3 ¼ P0 , v1 ¼ dx=dt, v3 ¼ ðSp =St Þv1 , z1 ¼ ðL=2 xÞ and z3 ¼

Z3 2 ðL=2 þ HÞ into Eq. (36), yields the following nonlinear differential

vv L L Sp d x

ds ¼ x þ þH (38) equation governing the motion of liquid power piston in the pro-

vt 2 2 St dt 2

1 posed converter for discharge state.

2 ! 2

hLo is the overall pressure loss of the output pipe. It consisted of the P P0 1 Sp dx

þ 1 ð1 þ Kc Þ ðH þ xÞ

pressure loss due to viscosity effect in the straight pipes, termed the rg 2g St dt

major loss (denoted by hLmajor ) and the pressure losses of other !

components (e.g. valve and elbow), termed the minor loss (denoted 8pm ðL=2 xÞ Sp ðL=2 þ HÞ dx

þ

by hLminor ); That is, hLo ¼ hLmajor þ hLminor . rg Sp S2t dt

Assuming fully developed laminar ﬂow, the major pressure loss 2

along the tube was written as [31]: 1 L L Sp d x

¼ x þ þH (43)

g 2 2 St dt 2

L v2 64

hLmajor ¼ f where; f ¼ (39)

D 2g Re

3.3.2. Suction state

Eq. (39) was applied to the problem so as to ﬁnd the major pressure

Fig. 6 demonstrates the pump system in suction status. Ac-

loss in the output tube as follows:

cording to this ﬁgure, the mass of water in the pumping chamber

(in suction stage) was calculated as follows:

64 ðL=2 xÞ v21 64 ðL=2 þ HÞ v22

hLmajor ¼ þ (40)

Re1 D1 2g Re2 D2 2g m ¼ rSp ðL=2 xÞ þ rSi c (44)

Substituting Re1 ¼ ðrV1 D1 Þ=m, Re2 ¼ rV2 D2 =m, D21 ¼ 4Sp =p, The continuity law was thus used to study the variation of water

D22 ¼ 4St =p, v1 ¼ dx=dt and v2 ¼ ðSp =St Þv1 into Eq. (40) yields: volume in suction state. Since, the ﬂuid was assumed incom-

pressible, the continuity equation was written as follows:

8pm ðL=2 xÞ dx 8pmSp ðL=2 þ HÞ dx

hLmajor ¼ þ

rSp g dt rS2t g dt dV dx dx

! ¼ qi qout / Sp ¼ qi 0/qi ¼ Sp (45)

dt dt dt

8pm ðL=2 xÞ Sp ðL=2 þ HÞ dx

¼ þ (41)

rg Sp S2t dt

Dynamic behavior of the ﬂuid was studied using unsteady Ber-

The pressure loss due to the abrupt reduction of cross sectional noulli's equation along points 1 to 3 [30]:

area was considered as the minor loss. It was calculated as follows

Z3

[30]: P1 v21 P v2 1 vv

þ þ z1 ¼ 3 þ 3 þ z3 þ ds þ hLt (46)

rg 2g rg 2g g vt

v2 Kc Sp 2 dx 2 1

hLminor ¼ Kc 2 ¼ where; Kc ¼ 0:5 (42)

2g 2g St dt

330 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

where, The pressure drop due to abrupt changes of the cross sectional

area of the pipe was considered as the minor loss in this state and it

Z3 Z2 Z3 was expressed as follows [30]:

vv vv vv

ds ¼ ds þ ds

vt vt vt

1 1 2

v21 Ke Sp 2 dx 2

Z2 Zc Zc hLi minor ¼ Ke ¼ where; Ke ¼ 1 (51)

vv vv vv S p d2 x 2g 2g Si dt

ds ¼ ds ¼ ds ¼ c

vt vt vt Si dt 2 (47)

1 0 0

Substituting Eqs. (45), (48), (50) and (51) together with P1 ¼ P0 ,

L L P3 ¼ P, v3 ¼ dx=dt, v1 ¼ ðSp =St Þv1 , z1 ¼ L=2 and z3 ¼ ðL=2 xÞ into

x x

Z3 2Z 2Z 2 Eq. (46), the nonlinear differential equation governing the water

vv vv vv L d x

ds ¼ ds ¼ ds ¼ x ﬂow in suction state was obtained as:

vt vt vt 2 dt 2

2 0 0

2 ! 2 !

P P0 1 Sp dx 8pm ðL=2 xÞ Sp c dx 1 L Sp d2 x

þ 1 ð1 Ke Þ xþ þ 2 ¼ x þc (52)

rg 2g Si dt rg Sp Si dt g 2 Si dt 2

Z3

vv L Sp d2 x Stirling converter and optimization of the operating frequency

ds ¼ x þc (48)

vt 2 Si dt 2 were investigated. Indeed, the optimum speed of the DC motor

1 coupled with the displacer mechanism was an important issue. It

The total pressure drop included the major and minor losses as could affect the overall performance of the converter. Furthermore,

previously discussed in discharge state. The major loss was it was an important parameter to control the DC motor in the

expressed as: proposed active Stirling system. Hence, in this work the perfor-

mance of the proposed converter was ﬁrst simulated using the

presented mathematical model and then, an optimization scheme

64 ðL=2 xÞ v21 64 ðL=2 þ HÞ v22

hLi major ¼ þ (49) was conducted to ﬁnd the optimum frequency of the active Stirling

Re1 D1 2g Re2 D2 2g

pump according to the considered operating conditions.

Substituting Re1 ¼ ðrV1 D1 Þ=m, Re2 ¼ rV3 D2 =m, D21 ¼ 4Si =p,

D22 ¼ 4Sp =p, v1 ¼ ðSp =Si Þv3 and v3 ¼ dx=dt into Eq. (49) resulted in

4.1. System performance

the following pressure drop:

8pm ðL=2 xÞ dx 8pmSp c dx An attempt was made to evaluate the performance of the pro-

hLi major ¼ þ posed solar-powered active Stirling pump using simulation. The

rSp g dt rS2i g dt

! practical temperature of the ﬂat-plate solar absorber was reported

8pm ðL=2 xÞ Sp c dx about 373 K based on the previous practical experience published

¼ þ 2 (50)

rg Sp Si dt in Ref. [3]. Besides, it was reported that the absorber temperature

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 331

Fig. 11. Volumetric ﬂow rates in suction and discharge actions of the pump.

was further achieved 393 K when a ﬂat reﬂective surface was simultaneously and recursively solve the governing equations. It

employed together with the ﬂat solar collector. Accordingly, in this must be noted that the real temperatures of gaseous working ﬂuid

investigation the absorber temperature was initially assumed 393 K (Tc and Th) must be found using the NewtoneRaphson method as

for a ﬂat collector equipped with a reﬂective surface. The sink previously described by Eq. (23). However, it was essential to have

temperature was considered as 293.15 K for a water cooling system. the unknown parameter x0 (stroke of liquid power piston) to solve

The mass of non-pressurized gaseous working ﬂuid in the main Eq. (23) recursively. On the other hand, the parameter x0 depends

chamber was calculated considering the ideal gas assumption as on the real temperatures of the working ﬂuid in hot and cold

well as the fact that the gas was initially at sink temperature (TC). It spaces. Thus, the unknown parameter x0 should be ﬁrstly deter-

was assumed that the regenerator efﬁciency and dead volumes mined using an iterative algorithm based on an initial guess of the

were 50% and 0.03Vd respectively. Table 1 represents the values of gas temperatures in expansion and compression spaces. As an

simulation parameters considered in this investigation. A simula- initial guess to start the NewtoneRaphson algorithm, it was

tion work was thus carried out to investigate the performance of reasonable to assume Tc and Th close to TC and TH respectively.

the proposed active Stirling pump based on water head of 1.5 m. Table 2 represents the convergence of parameter x0. The converged

Due to the complexity of the proposed equations the simulation value was found as x0 ¼ 0.1129713781 m after 12 iterations. In each

procedure was demonstrated as a ﬂowchart (see Fig. 7). Using iteration, the converged values of Tc, Th, power (using Eq. (27)), and

simulation data presented in Table 1 and discretizing Eqs. (43) and efﬁciency (using Eq. (25)) were calculated. Finally, the converged

(52) through central difference method, dynamic behavior of the values of Tc and Th corresponding to x0 ¼ 0.1129713781 m were

liquid power piston was simulated based on the presented ﬂow- shown in Table 3. Thus, the gas temperatures in compression and

chart. A computer program was thus written in MATLAB to expansion spaces were found to be 315.1 K and 370.7 K respectively.

Fig. 12. Mean volumetric ﬂow rates in suction and discharge actions.

332 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

Using the obtained temperatures and the considered simulation was attributed to the fact that the term l1 =l2 was considered

data, the realistic efﬁciency of the proposed converter was calcu- small. The sinusoidal-like motion of the displacer piston caused

lated about 2.2690% using Eq. (25). One should keep in mind that pressure variation in the main chamber as shown in Fig. 9. The

the obtained efﬁciency was found based on hreg ¼ 0.5. However, the pressure variation of the gas caused the motion of the liquid

efﬁciency of the ideal Stirling cycle corresponding to the obtained power piston. Consequently, the motion of the liquid power

temperatures (Tc ¼ 315.1 K and Th ¼ 370.7 K) could theoretically piston resulted in the pumping action. Fig. 10 shows the corre-

achieve 15% considering a very small dead volume and a perfect sponding displacement of the liquid power piston. As it was ex-

regeneration (hreg ¼ 1) in Eq. (25). It means that at solar radiation pected, during a short period of time, the gas pressure applied to

intensity of 700 W/m2, the proposed converter can generate 105 W the liquid power piston wasn't enough to overcome the water

per one square meter of collector area considering ideal conditions. head in the output pipe which caused the ﬁrst constant volume

However, it is clear that the working conditions cannot be fully process in the thermodynamic cycle (at x(t) ¼ 0). On the other

ideal and hence, the efﬁciency is considerably reduced (e.g. hand, when the gaseous working ﬂuid was moved to the

2.2690%) as simulated in this section. compression space, a time was taken to increase the gas pressure

Assuming the rotational speed of 0.44 rad/s, the motion of the to further achieve the cracking pressure of the input check

displacer piston was simulated in Fig. 8. As can be seen, the valve. Thus, the second constant volume process (at x(t) ¼ x0)

motion of the displacer piston resembled a sinusoidal function. It occurred.

Fig. 13. PeV diagram of the proposed Stirling converter a) transient state b) steady state.

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 333

Fig. 14. Actual gas temperature versus operating frequency (for TC ¼ 293 K and TH ¼ 393 K).

According to the simulation results presented in Fig. 10 it was together. As a result, the simulation work was validated to some

obvious that the discharge action occurred once the curve showed extent.

an increasing trend. On the other hand, the suction action took The PeV diagram is an important thermodynamic representa-

place when it showed a decreasing trend. In other words, tion of a thermal converter. The PeV diagram usually contains

isothermal expansion and compression of the gaseous working important information about the thermodynamic cycle. Thus,

ﬂuid resulted in the discharge and suction actions in the pump based on the presented mathematical model the PeV diagrams

respectively. were simulated for transient state (see Fig. 13a) and steady state

The ﬁnal variations of volumetric ﬂow rate in both discharge (see Fig 13b) conditions. The actual temperatures of gaseous

and suction states of the pump were demonstrated in Fig. 11 over working ﬂuid in compression and expansion spaces and the

100 s. It can be clearly seen that the ﬂow rate showed slower var- sinusoidal-like motion of the displacer piston were taken into ac-

iations in discharge state while steeper changes were found in count to plot the PeV diagrams. As can be seen in Fig. 13b, two

suction state. Furthermore, the curves possessed a phase shift be- constant volume processes were found based on the proposed

tween suction and discharge stages, which could be attributed to Stirling converter and the obtained cycle considerably resembled

the phase difference between the motions of displacer and power the ideal Stirling cycle.

pistons. As discussed earlier, the efﬁciency and power presented by Eqs.

It is an important issue to investigate whether the mean volu- (25) and (27) were theoretical ones. In practice, it is obvious that

metric ﬂow rates in suction and discharge actions converge the displacer cannot move abruptly from top to bottom dead cen-

together or not and it can further represent validity of the simu- ters and vice versa. In other words, the sinusoidal movement of the

lation procedure. To address this latest issue, the average volu- displacer piston caused a gradual displacement of the gas in the

metric ﬂow rates for both suction and discharge actions were regenerator space, which resulted in gradual pressure variations

calculated and plotted in Fig. 12. It can be clearly seen that the mean instead of abrupt pressure changes that was the main requirement

values of the ﬂow rates for both pumping states converged of the ideal Stirling cycle for a constant-volume pressure increase.

Fig. 15. Output power versus rotational speed of DC motor (dead volume ¼ 0.05Vd). Fig. 16. Output power versus rotational speed of DC motor (dead volume ¼ 0.03Vd).

334 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

Using Eq. (54), the real power of the proposed converter was

found to be 8.4264 (W) taking into account the imperfect regen-

erator (hreg ¼ 50%), the existence of dead volumes (0.06 Vd) and the

sinusoidal variation of the gas volume. Although, a more realistic

output power was found in this section, it was important to

consider the consumed power of the DC motor in calculating the

net power of the Stirling converter. Thus, the power required for the

DC motor could reasonably be subtracted from the power gener-

ated by the Stirling converter. However, from another viewpoint it

was obvious that the power required for the DC motor was pro-

vided by solar energy, which was a free source and hence, one could

ignore the required energy of the DC motor in calculating the

output power of the proposed solar converter. It is discussed with

experimental evidences in section 5.

It is important to note that the obtained power was found based

on a randomly chosen speed of the displacer piston. Thus, an

optimization study was conducted to ﬁnd the optimum frequency

at which the generated power was maximized.

Fig. 17. Output power for H ¼ 1 m and dead volume of 0.03Vd.

Besides, when the internal pressure achieved the cracking pressure

of the check valve and the velocity direction of the water ﬂow was The rotational speed of the DC motor was an important

proper, the gas volume varied while the pressure was still varying parameter that could entirely change the characteristics of the

and hence, it conﬁned the constant volume processes. Conse- proposed active Stirling pump. Indeed, the angular velocity of the

quently, the practical output power and efﬁciency of the proposed DC motor could control the variations of internal pressure in the

Stirling converter were different from the ideal cycle (compare main chamber of the converter. In other words, decreasing the

Fig. 13b to Fig. 3). A more realistic output power can be calculated operating frequency increased the required time for heat transfer in

considering sinusoidal variations of gas volume as follows: the heat exchangers. The effect of operating frequency on the gas

H H temperature was even more signiﬁcant when an imperfect regen-

rg qout ðtÞðH þ xðtÞÞdt rg qin ðtÞðxðtÞÞdt erator was considered (which was conventional in the Stirling cycle

Power ¼

t t machines). A simulation work was thus implemented to study the

Z t effect of rotational speed of the DC motor on the actual temperature

rg qout ðtÞðH þ xðtÞÞ qin ðtÞðxðtÞÞdt of the gaseous working ﬂuid. Fig. 14 demonstrates the variations of

0

¼ (53) gas temperature in expansion and compression spaces considering

t

different regenerator efﬁciencies. It can be seen that by increasing

Eq. (53) can be solved numerically using numerical integration

the rotational speed of the DC motor from 0 rad/s to 2.5 rad/s the

methods (e.g. trapezoid or Simpsons methods). Deﬁning

temperature of the gaseous working ﬂuid in expansion space was

zðtÞ ¼ qout ðtÞðH þ xðtÞÞ qin ðtÞðxðtÞÞdt, the generated power can be

decreased while it was increased in the compression space.

determined using the trapezoid method:

Moreover, when speed converged to zero the gas temperatures in

hot and cold spaces were close to the temperatures of the hot and

rgtðzð1Þ þ 2zð2Þ þ / þ 2zðN 1Þ þ zðNÞÞ=2N

Power ¼ cold sources. Clearly, the variations of gas temperature owing to

t imperfect regeneration affected the internal pressure as well as the

rgðzð1Þ þ 2zð2Þ þ / þ 2zðN 1Þ þ zðNÞÞ generated work of the cycle. Another important question was about

¼ (54)

2N the optimum frequency at which the output power of the proposed

Fig. 18. Output power for H ¼ 1.5 m and dead volume of 0.03Vd. Fig. 19. Output power for H ¼ 2 m and dead volume of 0.03Vd.

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 335

Stirling converter was maximized. Hence, a simulation was carried sections and experimental tests were primarily performed to study

out to investigate the effect of rotational speed of the DC motor on the feasibility of pumping water by the proposed active LTD Stirling

the generated power of the converter considering different regen- pump at low temperature difference. The experimental results

erator efﬁciencies and using the data presented in Table 1. The were then compared to a part of the simulation to further evaluate

obtained results were demonstrated in Figs. 15 and 16 for different the validity of the simulation outcomes.

dead volumes. It is clear there is an optimum value for operating

frequency corresponding to regenerator efﬁciency in which the 5.1. Converter construction

output power is at its maximum value. Furthermore, a higher op-

timum speed was found in higher regenerator efﬁciency. Conse- The proposed converter was thus constructed as shown in

quently, it was reasonable to tune the speed of the DC motor using Fig. 20 considering the design parameters given in Table 4. It was

its optimum value so that maximum pumping capacity was ach- attempted to choose the converter dimensions as close as possible

ieved. According to Fig. 16, the optimum speed corresponding to to the simulation study. The displacer cylinder was made of 40 mm

the regenerator efﬁciency of 50% was found to be 0.38 rad/s. A thick wooden frame because the working temperature of the

smaller value of the output power can be seen in Fig. 15 compared converter was lower than 393 K and the wooden frame could safely

to Fig. 16 through which the negative effect of the dead volumes withstand this temperature. Besides, the wooden cylinder

was clearly demonstrated. A more descriptive simulation of the possessed a small conductive heat transfer coefﬁcient compared to

generated power corresponding to various operating frequencies metallic one that was a desired characteristic to prevent heat

and regenerator efﬁciencies were carried out considering three transfer from the hot absorber plate to the cold plate. The displacer

water heads including 1 m, 1.5 m and 2 m as shown respectively in cylinder was made of a light substance such as Unolit. Accordingly,

Figs. 17e19. In all cases, there were clearly optimum operating a thermal isolator was used on top of the displacer piston to pre-

frequencies corresponding to the converter parameters. Hence, it is vent damage due to the absorber heat. The clearance between the

important to note that the highest output power will be achieved if displacer piston and displacer cylinder was 10 mm. The cylinder of

the system is forced to run at the optimum speed through the liquid power piston (pumping chamber) was constructed from

proposed active control system. Consequently, the speed controller Teﬂon bar. It was further connected to the wooden displacer cyl-

was tuned based on the outcomes of the simulation study. It can be inder through a steel pipe with appropriate connectors. The

further observed that by increasing the water head (H) at the outlet, exchanger plates were made of aluminum plates with thickness of

less output power was generated. 5 mm to provide sufﬁcient strength against maximum pressure

inside the displacer cylinder. Connecting rod and the rest of links

5. Experimental study were constructed from aluminum. Crankshaft and crank were

machined from a steel bar. The crank shaft was supported by two

In this section, the described thermal converter was manufac- ball bearings. It was coupled with DC geared motor from one side

tured based on the dimensions considered in the simulation and it was attached to the crank of the displacer piston on the other

336 H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337

Table 4 conditions. As can be seen in the table, six tests were carried out on

Design parameters. the developed experimental converter. Three different values of

Parameter Value/type water head including 0.5 m, 1 m and 1.5 m were experimented. For

Displacer piston dimensions 1.86 m*0.86 m*0.1 m

each water head, three values of DC motor speed were tested. It can

Displacer cylinder dimensions 1.96 m*0.88 m*0.2 be clearly seen that the there is an optimum value for DC motor

Stroke of displacer piston 0.13 m speed (at the corresponding head) in which a more pumping ca-

Hot and cold plates 2 m*1 m pacity is obtained.

Reﬂector 2 m*1 m

The power consumed by the DC motor was also measured in

Crank length 0.065 m

Connecting rod length 0.36 m each tests and reported in Table 6. In all tests, the output powers of

Diameter of liquid piston cylinder 0.28 m the converter were more than the required power for the DC motor.

Dead volumes 0.03Vd One should keep in mind that in the experimental study there was

DC motor 12 V, 150 rpm

no regenerator which signiﬁcantly reduced the output power of the

Output/Input pipe diameter 0.02 m

Regenerator efﬁciency 0%

converter. According to the simulation outcomes if an efﬁcient

regenerator (e.g. hreg ¼ 90%) had been used it was possible to

signiﬁcantly increase the power (e.g. six times more). Besides, non-

Table 5

pressurized air instead of pressurized helium or hydrogen was used

Employed transducers. in the converter, which decreased the output power. However, the

feasibility of pumping water by the proposed converter at low

Sensor Type

temperature difference was clearly demonstrated taking into ac-

Flow sensor Hall-effect YF-S201 count the mentioned limitations.

Temperature sensor NTC 100 K [32]

Pressure sensor BMP085

Speed sensor Encoder 5.3. Comparison of experimental and simulation results

lation results were carried out to investigate the validity of the

side. The crank mechanism was statically balanced by a 0.34 kg simulation study. Three last rows of Table 6 presented the experi-

counter weight to signiﬁcantly reduce the power required for the mental results for water head of 1.5 m at collector and sink tem-

DC motor. The nominal operating voltage and speed of the DC peratures of 391 K and 294 K respectively and without the

motor was 12 V and 150 rpm respectively. Finally, the reﬂector was application of regenerator. It is obvious that the mentioned oper-

made of aluminum foil so as to increase solar radiation intensity ating conditions are close to what was considered in the simulation

over the collector area and it was added to the single glazed ﬂat study presented in Fig. 16 for regenerator efﬁciency of zero. Ac-

collector. cording to test No. 8 presented in Table 6, at optimum speed of

0.2 rad/s a more output power was acquired in comparison with the

5.2. Experimental results powers obtained at 0.3 rad/s and 0.1 rad/s. Besides, the speed of

0.22 rad/s reported in test No. 8 was in a good agreement with the

In this section, the developed solar-powered active Stirling optimum speed of 0.18 rad/s simulated in Fig. 16 (when regenerator

pump was preliminarily tested to investigate the feasibility of efﬁciency was zero) through which the validity of the simulation

pumping water at low temperature difference. The measurement was afﬁrmed to some extent. However, the obtained power in this

facilities employed in this investigation were listed in Table 5. All test was about 2.05 W that was smaller than the simulated power of

experiments were implemented at Shiraz University of technology 2.7 W (see Fig. 16). This difference could be attributed to the fact

from 21 to 27 December 2014. The mean intensity of solar radiation that more frictional and thermal losses existed in the experimental

was about 720 W/m2 based on the measurement done by a Casella converter. Besides, a part of the energy generated by the converter

Solar-meter. The maximum measured collector temperature was could be stored as potential energy in the ﬂexible elements of the

391 K while the minimum measured temperature of heat sink was converter such as the exchanger plates and the displacer piston.

291 K (in the water cooling system). In fact, a portion of the pumped

water by the converter was used to cool the cold plate and hence, 6. Conclusion

the cold plate temperature was close to the ambient temperature.

To investigate the performance and feasibility of the developed This work presented a novel solar-powered active LTD Stirling

system, it was primarily tested. Table 6 represents the preliminary pump equipped with a solid controllable displacer and liquid po-

results obtained from the experiment for different operating wer piston. The proposed design combined the beneﬁts of Fluidyne

Table 6

Experimental results.

Test Pumping Mean Power (W) DC motor DC motor Absorber Heat sink

number head (m) volumetric speed (rad/s) power (W) temp. (K) temp. (K)

ﬂow rate (m3/s)

2 0.5 8.77*1e4 4.3018 0.71 1.3 390.45 295.65

3 0.5 7.32*1e4 3.5950 0.50 1.1 389.65 294.75

4 1.0 2.9*1e4 2.8400 0.44 1.1 390.85 294.65

5 1.0 3.57*104 3.5030 0.35 1.0 389.65 293.95

6 1.0 3.12*1e4 3.0700 0.24 0.8 391.25 295.15

7 1.5 1.08*1e4 1.6000 0.31 0.9 390.45 293.75

8 1.5 1.39*1e4 2.0500 0.22 0.8 391.15 294.65

9 1.5 1.15*1e4 1.6940 0.13 0.7 390.75 294.55

H. Jokar, A.R. Tavakolpour-Saleh / Renewable Energy 81 (2015) 319e337 337

excellent sealing of the main chamber while the controllable dis-

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1162e9.

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using an optimum operating frequency and hence, the proposed and testing of a two-cylinder solar Stirling engine powered by a ﬂat-plate

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[4] Finkelstein T, Organ A. Air engines, the history, science and reality of the

possible to adapt the system frequency to any allowable water head perfect engine. New York, NY: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers;

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ratory; 1983.

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and hence, maximum efﬁciency could be expected. temperatures. J Sound Vib 1979;63:507e16.

[15] Fangsuwannarak K. In: A study of regenerator used in ﬂuidyne Engine in a

Pressurizing the converter was simply possible according to the

case of tuning column conﬁguration with merged cylinders in the proceeding

proposed design. In fact, pressurizing the main chamber could of the 17th conference of the mechanical Engineering Network of Thailand;

result in balancing the water column by a static pressure and hence, 2003.

it was possible to pump water to a higher height. Similar to coun- [16] Tantiwongpaisan S. Liquid piston Stirling engine. In: Proceeding of the 19th

conference of the mechanical Engineering Network of Thailand; 2005.

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pressure was thus presented in ﬂuid systems according to the placer system and its application on water pumping. In: The proceeding of the

proposed design. The importance of regenerator efﬁciency, oper- 23rd conference of the Mechanical Engineering Network of Thailand; 2009.

[18] De Klerk G, Rallis C. A solar powered, back-to-back, liquid piston Stirling

ating frequency, dead volumes and the considered water head were engine for water pumping. J Energy South Afr 2002;13:36e42.

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verter was developed and primarily evaluated. There was no energy 1998;13:261e8.

[20] Mason JW, Stevens JW. Characterization of a solar-powered ﬂuidyne test bed.

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the simulation results. The experimental results clearly revealed 1983.

[22] Walker G, Senft JR. Free-piston Stirling engines. Springer; 1985.

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[23] Wong Y, Sumathy K. Solar thermal water pumping systems: a review. Renew

the experimental outcomes were in a good agreement with a part Sustain Energy Rev 1999;3:185e217.

of simulation results through which the validity of the simulation [24] Delgado-Torres AM. Solar thermal heat engines for water pumping: an up-

date. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2009;13:462e72.

scheme was afﬁrmed.

[25] Bumataria RK, Patel NK. Review of Stirling Engines for pumping water using

Finally, it is important to note that the proposed converter can solar energy as a source of Power.

be used with an efﬁcient regenerator and a pressurized gaseous [26] Orda E, Mahkamov K. Development of “Low-tech” solar thermal water pumps

working ﬂuid (e.g. helium) resulting in considerably higher output for use in developing countries. J Sol Energy Eng 2004;126:768e73.

[27] Cavazzuti M. Optimization methodsefrom theory to design. Springer; 2013.

power and efﬁciency. The next paper will be directed towards the [28] Sharma A, Shukla KS, Rai KA. Finite time thermodynamic analysis and opti-

modiﬁcations of design and more experimental investigations on mization of solar-dish Stirling heat engine with regenerative losses. Therm Sci

the proposed active Stirling pump. 2011;15:995e1009.

[29] Woodford C, Phillips C. Numerical methods with worked examples. Matlab

Edition. Springer; 2012.

Acknowledgment [30] Young DF, Munson BR, Okiishi TH, Huebsch WW. A brief introduction to ﬂuid

mechanics. John Wiley & Sons; 2010.

[31] Fay JA. Introduction to ﬂuid mechanics. MIT Press; 1994.

The authors wish to express their deep gratitude to Shiraz [32] Steinhart JS, Hart SR. Calibration curves for thermistors. In: Deep sea research

University of Technology and Iran's National Elites Foundation for and oceanographic abstracts. Elsevier; 1968. p. 497e503.

providing research facilities and funding.

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