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Energy Balance of Solar Collector

Mohamad Kharseh

E-mail:m.Kharseh@gmail.com

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Liquid Flat Plate Collectors

1. Heat Loss from Collector

2. Testing of Solar Collectors

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Useful Heat Gained By The Collector

Not all of solar radiation hits the sloped surface can be used:

Some solar radiation is reflected and re-emitted away

Some of the gained energy is lost again to the surrounding

qu = S⋅ Ap − ql

qu = Useful heat gained by the collector
S = Solar Energy absorbed in absorber
Ap = Area of the absorber plates
ql = Heat lost from the collector
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Heat Losses from Collector

The thermal losses depends on:
– The temperature difference between the absorber
plate and the ambient air
– The overall heat loss coefficient, Ul [W/m2,K]

q l = U l ⋅ A p ⋅ Tpm − Ta ( )
Tpm = Mean temperature of absorber plates
Ta = Ambient air temperature

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Heat Losses from Collector

Whenever the absorber plate is warmer than the ambient air,
heat is lost from the collector through:

– the cover (top), [W] (
qt = Ut ⋅ Ap ⋅ Tpm − Ta )
– the bottom, [W] qb = U b ⋅ Ap ⋅ (Tpm − Ta )

– the sides, [W] (
qs = Us ⋅ Ap ⋅ Tpm − Ta )

Most of the heat losses is through the cover

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Overall Heat Loss Coefficient

Then, the total heat losses is:

q l = qt + q b + qs

Since the heat loss equations are expressed on the basis
of the same temperature difference, it is then possible to
evaluate the overall heat loss coefficient, Ul, by

ql = U l ⋅ Ap ⋅ (Tpm − Ta )

U l = Ut + U b + Us

Typical values of Ul ranges from 2 to 10 W/m2K
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Thermal Network for a Flat-Plate

qu

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Bottom Heat Losses Coefficient

The heat losses coefficient through the bottom
is represented by two series resistors, R3 and
R4. It is possible to assume R4 is zero:

1 λ
Ub = =
R3 δ b

λ = thermal conductivity of insulator
δb = thickness of insulated bottom

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Side Loss Coefficient

Similarly, the heat transfer coefficient for the collector side is:

2 ⋅ L3 ⋅ (L1 + L2 ) λ
Us = ⋅
L1 ⋅ L2 δs

L1= length of casing
L2= width of casing
L3= height of casing
λ= thermal conductivity of insulation
δs = thickness of insulated side

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Top Loss Coefficient
−1
   


Ut = 
N 1
+ 
 
+
σ ⋅ T (
2
pm + Ta
2
⋅ T)(
pm + T )
a


 Tpm − Ta 
e αa   1 2N + f − 1 + 0.133 ⋅ ε p 
 C  + −N
T ⋅    ε + ⋅ ⋅ α ε
 N +f   p 0.00591 N a g 
 pm 

α a = 5.7 + 3.8 ⋅ v wind or α a = 2.8 + 3 ⋅ v wind or Nu = 0.86 Re1/ 2 Pr1/ 3

( )
f = 1 + 0.089 ⋅ α a − 0.1166 ⋅ α a ⋅ ε p ⋅ (1 + 0.07866N )

N = number of covers
C = 520 ⋅ ( 1 − 0.000051 ⋅ β ); 0 ≤ β ≤ 70
2
σ = Stefan-Boltzmann constant
εp = emissivity of plate
100
e = 0.43 ⋅ ( 1 − ) εg = emissivity of glass (0.88)
Tpm
αa = convection coefficient of ambient air (W/m2K)
νwind =Wind speed of ambient air (m/sec)
β = collector tilt (degree) 10
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Top Loss Coefficient

Determine the overall loss coefficient for a collector, single glass
cover, with the following specification:
 Plate emissivity 0.95
 Ambient temperature 10 0C
 Mean plate temperature 100 0C
 Collector sloped angel 450
 Wind speed 2 m/sec
 Back-insulation thickness 50 mm
 insulation conductivity 0.045 W/m.K
 Collector bank length 10 m
 Collector bank width 3m
 Collector thickness 75 mm
 Edge insulation thickness 25 mm

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Heat Balance of Collector

( (
qu = Ap S − U l Tpm − Ta ))

• This expression depends on two factors:
1. Ul : is a function of the mean plate temperature, Tpm
2. Tpm: is the mean plate temperature, which is unknown

• We need to express qu in terms of a known temperature.
• The only known temperature is the fluid inlet temperature

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Absorber Cross-section

The useful heat gained by the absorber plate can be divided into:
1. the heat gained from the area above the tube
2. the heat gained from the fin

qu′ = qu′ tube + qu′ fin

tube fin

W-Do
W
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Heat Gain per unit Length

The useful heat transfer rate to the fluid in the absorber cross-section is:

qu′ = [F ⋅ (W − Do ) + Do ] ⋅ [S − U l (Tb − Ta )]

F: Standard Fin Efficiency

tanh[m ⋅ (W − Do )/ 2]
F=
m ⋅ (W − Do )/ 2

Hyperbolic
tangent
Do= tube outer diameter
W = distance between tubes
Where m is :
Tb = local absorber temperature above the bond
m = (Ul/λpδp)½
λp = thermal conductivity of absorber plate
δp = thickness of absorber plate 14
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Collector Efficiency Factor, F′

qu′ = [F ⋅ (W − Do ) + Do ] ⋅ [S − U l (Tb − Ta )]

To relate this expression to the local fluid temperature that results from
this heat transfer, the collector efficiency factor, F’, is introduced:

U0 1
F' = =
Ul  1 1 
WU l  + 
U l ⋅ [F (W − Do ) + Do ] πDi α f 

Di= tube inner diameter
αf = convection coefficient of fluid
Uo= overall heat loss coefficient from fluid to ambient
Ul = overall heat loss coefficient from absorber to ambient
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Collector Efficiency Factor, F′

Thus, useful gain can be expressed as :

qu′ = F ′ ⋅ W ⋅ [S − U l (Tf − Ta )]

We eliminated Tb from the equation and obtain an
expression for useful gain in term of known dimensions,
physical parameters and fluid temperature.

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Heat Gain in Cross-section

We can express an energy balance on the fluid flowing
through a signal tube of a small length dy as:

Fluid Flow  /n) ⋅ c pTf (y)
(m  /n) ⋅ c pTf (y + dy)
(m

dy
y
Number of tube in
the absorber plate

n ⋅ qu′ ⋅ dy = m  ⋅ c p ⋅ dTf − n ⋅ F' ⋅ W ⋅ [S − U l (Tf − Ta )] = 0
 ⋅ c p ⋅ dTf ⇒ m
dy

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Heat Gain in Cross-section

Solving this differential equation, we can determine the
fluid temperature at any position y:

 Ul ⋅n ⋅W ⋅F ' 
- y

Tf (y)-Ta -S/U l  m ⋅c p 
=e 
Tfi -Ta -S/U l

If the collector has a length L in the flow direction, then the
outlet fluid temperature Tfo is found by substituting L for y, note
that “n.W.L =Ap”

 Ul ⋅ Ap⋅F' 
- 
Tfo -Ta -S/U l  m  ⋅c p 
= e 
Tfi -Ta -S/U l
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Heat Removal Factor, FR

The heat removal factor, which relates the actual heat gain
to the maximum heat gain, is define as:

qu Actual hea t gain  ⋅ c p (Tfo − Tfi )
m
FR = =
qu Maximum heat gain Ap [S − U l (Tfi − Ta )]

Using the last equation in the previous slide, we can express
FR that is independent of the outlet temperature, Tfo:

 

Ul ⋅ Ap  


mc p  
− F' ⋅
m ⋅Cp 
FR = 1 − e  
U l Ap  
 
 
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Heat Gain in Cross-section

Then the collector heat removal factor times this
maximum possible useful energy gain is equal to
the actual useful energy gain qu

qu = Ap ⋅ FR [S − U l (Tfi − Ta )]

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Heat Gain in Cross-section
Using FR the useful heat gain can now be determined based on
the inlet temperature.
• But the overall heat loss coefficient, Ul, is a function of
the mean plate temperature, Tpm
  − F' ⋅ l p  
 U ⋅A 

mc p   m ⋅Cp   qu = Ap ⋅ FR [S − U l (Tfi − Ta )]
FR = 1 − e  
U l Ap  
 
 

U0 1
F' = =
Ul  1 1 
WU l  + 
U l ⋅ [F (W − Do ) + Do ] πDi α f 

U l = Ut + U b + Us

−1
   


Ut = 
N
+
1

+

(
σ ⋅ Tpm
2
)(
+ Ta2 ⋅ Tpm + Ta ) 

  + − + ⋅ ε 
 C  Tpm − Ta 
e αa  1 2 N f 1 0.133 p
⋅    + −N
T +   ε p + 0.00591⋅ N ⋅ α a εg 
 pm  N f  
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Mean Plate Temperature

1. Guess a first value of Ul (2 – 10 W/m2,K) and calculate
the heat gain, qu.
2. Tpm can then be calculated from the original heat gain
equation:
( (
qu = Ap S − U l Tpm − Ta ))

3. Use the calculated Tpm to derive a new Ul.
4. Continue with iterations until Ul remains approximately
the same from one calculation to another.
– Since Ul is only vaguely dependent on the temperature,
one or two repetition should be necessary

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Instantaneous Collector Efficiency

Collector is exposed to solar radiation while the fluid flow rate
and temperature increase is measured.

– The useful heat gain in a collector operating under steady
state condition equals the enthalpy increase of the fluid:

(
qu=m c p T fo -T fi )
– The instantaneous collector efficiency is the ratio of the
useful heat gain to the incident solar radiation:

ηi=
qu
=
( )
m c p T fo -T fi FR
= [S-U (T -T )]
L fi a
Ap I T Ap I T IT
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Instantaneous Collector Efficiency
The efficiency curve for a collector is plotted as a function of (Tfi – Ta)/IT

[Tfi-Ta/IT]⋅103 [K⋅m2/W]

The efficiency curve yields a straight line since FR, (τα) and Ul are
fairly constant for a collector type when the flow rate is constant
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Example

Casing: Cover:
Material: glass
Length = 2.4m
N = 1
Width = 1.2m
αc = εc = 0.84
δb = 25mm n2/n1 = 1.526
λb = 0.036W/mK

Heat carrier:
Absorber:
Fluid: water
Length = 2.3m
Width = 1.15m m = 15kg/h
δp-c1 = 25mm Ti = 293 K
δp = 0.5mm hf = 205W/m2K
λp = 237W/mK
αp = 0.9
Ambient:
εp = 0.1
D0 = 13.4mm Ta = 273 K
Di = 12.4mm Va = 5 m/s
W = 143mm
Kδc = 0.03

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Assignment 2
Useful heat gained by the collector and collector efficiency
1. Determine the best slope angle of your solar collector, for your
region, that produces the maximum energy.
2. Annual & monthly available solar energy on sloped surface in your
region.
3. Annual & monthly useful heat gained by one square meter of solo
collector.
4. Monthly solar collector efficiency.
5. annual average solar collector efficiency
Using following Assumption:
W=0.143 m, Do=0.0134, Di=0.0123, δb=0.05, δs=0.025,
δp=0.001, λinsulation=0.045, λp=237 and the flow rate is 0,004
kg/s

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S = (τα)b ⋅ GbT + (τα)d ⋅ (GdT + GrT )

τ ⋅α
(τα ) =
1 − (1 − α )ρd

qu = Ap ⋅ FR [S − U l (Tfi − Ta )]

  − F' ⋅ l p  
 U ⋅A 
U0 1

mc p   m ⋅Cp   F' = =
FR = 1 − e   Ul  1 1 
U l Ap   WU l  + 



 U l ⋅ [F (W − Do ) + Do ] πDi α f 

U l = Ut + U b + Us

−1
   


Ut = 
N
+
1

+

( 2 2
)(
σ ⋅ Tpm + Ta ⋅ Tpm + Ta ) 

  2N + f − 1 + 0.133 ⋅ ε p 
 C  Tpm − Ta 
e αa  1
⋅   + −N
T    ε p + 0.00591⋅ N ⋅ α a εg 
 pm  N +f   27