# Technical Note

**Exergetic optimization of ﬂat plate solar collectors
**

S. Farahat, F. Sarhaddi

*

, H. Ajam

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan 98164-161, Iran

a r t i c l e i n f o

Article history:

Received 13 June 2007

Accepted 22 June 2008

Available online 13 August 2008

Keywords:

Exergy

Flat plate solar collector

Optimization

a b s t r a c t

In this paper, an exergetic optimization of ﬂat plate solar collectors is developed to determine the

optimal performance and design parameters of these solar to thermal energy conversion systems. A

detailed energy and exergy analysis is carried out for evaluating the thermal and optical performance,

exergy ﬂows and losses as well as exergetic efﬁciency for a typical ﬂat plate solar collector under

given operating conditions. In this analysis, the following geometric and operating parameters are

considered as variables: the absorber plate area, dimensions of solar collector, pipes’ diameter, mass

ﬂow rate, ﬂuid inlet, outlet temperature, the overall loss coefﬁcient, etc. A simulation program is

developed for the thermal and exergetic calculations. The results of this computational program are

in good agreement with the experimental measurements noted in the previous literature. Finally, the

exergetic optimization has been carried out under given design and operating conditions and the

optimum values of the mass ﬂow rate, the absorber plate area and the maximum exergy efﬁciency

have been found. Thus, more accurate results and beneﬁcial applications of the exergy method in the

design of solar collectors have been obtained.

Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

In a solar domestic hot water system, the ﬂat plate solar

collector is the main part of the system. Hence, the optimal

performance of the solar collector is highly important. On the

other hand, the energy equation alone does not encounter the

internal losses; it cannot be a sufﬁcient criterion for the ﬂat

plate solar collector efﬁciency. But, the second law analysis is

more informative in regard to the optimum operating zone,

quantifying the inefﬁciencies, their relative magnitudes and lo-

cations [1,2]. Therefore, the consideration of this article will be

on the detailed energy and exergy analysis of ﬂat plate solar

collectors for evaluating the thermal, optical and exergetic per-

formance and ﬁnding the optimum values of the mass ﬂow rate,

the absorber plate area and the maximum exergy efﬁciency

under given operating conditions. Much research has been car-

ried out in this category. In Refs. [3–8] models of thermody-

namic analysis for solar collectors using concepts such as exergy

output, exergy efﬁciency and entropy generation are elaborated.

However, it is assumed that the overall loss coefﬁcient is con-

stant or is computed from the empirical equation that has

speciﬁc restrictions.

Luminosu and Fara [2] discussed the optimal operation of ﬂat

plate solar collector by means of exergy analysis using numerical

simulation technique and ﬁnally gave some useful results for

a typical water heating system under given operating conditions.

However, they assumed the exergy ﬂow rate in the global solar

radiation to be equal to the solar ﬂux; the overall thermal loss

coefﬁcient, the heat removal factor, the efﬁciency factor, agent

ﬂuid properties and other heat transfer coefﬁcients of the solar

collector are constant. Also, they considered the ﬂuid inlet tem-

perature to be equal to the ambient temperature and constant.

They neglected the destroyed exergy caused by the ducts’ pres-

sure drop. These subjects are not considered in the previous

literature [1–8]:

A general model for the collector optical and thermal perfor-

mance is not fulﬁlled or it is assumed that the overall loss co-

efﬁcient and other heat transfer coefﬁcients are constant or at

minimal effect.

The complete optimization with respect to the design and

operating conditions is not carried out. Design conditions in-

clude the dimensions of the solar collector and operating

conditions include the mass ﬂow rate of the solar collector.

A common error using the Petela efﬁciency equation obtaining

the solar radiation exergy is noted.

The previous subjects have been corrected for several types of

solar collectors in Refs. [9–11]. In this paper, a procedure to design

and optimization of ﬂat plate solar collectors based on exergy

analysis is developed. The exergy analysis of the solar collector is

parametrically dependent on its optical and energy analysis. Hence,

* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ98 541 2426206; fax: þ98 541 2447092.

E-mail address: fsarhaddi@eng.usb.ac.ir (F. Sarhaddi).

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Renewable Energy

j ournal homepage: www. el sevi er. com/ l ocat e/ renene

0960-1481/$ – see front matter Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.renene.2008.06.014

Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174

ﬁrstly the optical and energy analysis of the ﬂat plate solar collector

will be carried out. Then, the solar collector exergy efﬁciency will be

computed and optimized.

2. Energy analysis

The proof of governing equations on the solar collector energy

analysis is not included to have a brief note [12]. The useful heat

gain (Q

u

) by the working ﬂuid is

Q

u

¼ _ mC

p

ðT

out

À T

in

Þ; (1)

where T

in

, T

out

, C

p

and _ mare the ﬂuid inlet, outlet temperature, heat

capacity and mass ﬂow rate of the agent ﬂuid, respectively. The

Hottel–Whillier equation for the useful heat gain (Q

u

) of a ﬂat plate

solar collector system, considering the heat losses from the solar

collector to the atmosphere, is [12]

Q

u

¼ A

p

F

R

½S À U

l

ðT

in

À T

a

Þ; (2)

where T

a

is the ambient temperature and the heat removal factor

(F

R

) is deﬁned as

F

R

¼

_ mC

p

U

l

A

p

¸

1 Àexp

À

F

0

U

l

A

p

_ mC

p

; (3)

where F

0

and f are the collector efﬁciency factor and plate effec-

tiveness. An energy balance on the absorber plate yields the fol-

lowing equation for a steady state [12]:

Q

u

¼ A

p

S À U

l

A

p

T

p

À T

a

: (4)

In Eqs. (2)–(4) T

p

, S and A

p

are the average temperature of the ab-

sorber plate, radiation absorbed ﬂux by unit area of the absorber

plate andarea of the absorber plate, respectively. U

l

is the overall loss

coefﬁcient, whichduringthe previous studies assumedas a constant

factor or a variable with little effect; whereas it is not constant. The

calculation of the overall loss coefﬁcient (U

l

) is based on simulation

convection and re-radiation losses from the absorber plate to the

atmosphere that the proof of them is not included here to have

a brief note. Thermal efﬁciency of the solar collector is given by [12]

h

en

¼

Q

u

I

T

A

p

; (5)

where I

T

is the incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber

plate.

3. Optical analysis

In Eq. (2) the radiation absorbed ﬂux by unit area of the absorber

plate (S) is deﬁned as

S ¼ ðsaÞI

T

; (6)

where (sa) is the effective product transmittance–absorptance that

is equal with the optical efﬁciency (h

o

) [12].

4. Exergy analysis

Exergy is deﬁned as the maximum amount of work which can

be produced by a systemor a ﬂowof matter or energy as it comes to

equilibriumwith a reference environment [13]. General form of the

exergy balance equation is [14,15]

_

E

in

þ

_

E

s

þ

_

E

out

þ

_

E

l

þ

_

E

d

¼ 0; (7)

where

_

E

in

,

_

E

s

,

_

E

out

,

_

E

l

and

_

E

d

are the inlet, stored, outlet, leakage and

destroyed exergy rate, respectively.

The inlet exergy rate includes the inlet exergy rate with ﬂuid ﬂow

and the absorbed solar radiation exergy rate. The inlet exergy rate

with ﬂuid ﬂow is given by [13,16]

_

E

in;f

¼ _ mC

p

T

in

À T

a

À T

a

ln

T

in

T

a

þ

_ mDP

in

r

: (8)

The absorbed solar radiation exergy rate, considering the Petela

theorem, is given by [17]

_

E

in;Q

¼ h

o

I

T

A

p

¸

1 À

4

3

T

a

T

s

þ

1

3

T

a

T

s

4

¸

: (9)

The term in the bracket is the Petela efﬁciency (h

p

). However, this

equation violates the second law of thermodynamics for such

systems [18]. The corrected equation, assuming the sun as an

inﬁnite thermal source, is [6,18]

_

E

in;Q

¼ h

o

I

T

A

p

1 À

T

a

T

s

; (10)

where T

s

is the apparent sun temperature and equals 75% of

blackbody temperature of the sun [3]. The summation of Eqs. (8)

and (10) will result in total inlet exergy rate of the solar

collector.

The stored exergy rate is null at steady conditions.

The outlet exergy rate includes only the exergy rate of outlet ﬂuid

ﬂow [13,16]:

_

E

out;f

¼ À _ mC

p

T

out

À T

a

À T

a

ln

T

out

T

a

À

_ mDP

out

r

: (11)

In Eqs. (8) and (11), DP

in

and DP

out

are the pressure difference of the

agent ﬂuid with the surroundings at entrance and exit of the solar

collector.

The leakage exergy rate caused by heat leakage rate from the

absorber plate to the environment is [1]

_

E

l

¼ ÀU

l

A

p

T

p

À T

a

1 À

T

a

T

p

: (12)

The destroyed exergy rate includes three terms; one is caused by

the temperature difference between the absorber plate surface and

the sun [1]:

_

E

d;DTs

¼ Àh

o

I

T

A

p

T

a

1

T

p

À

1

T

s

; (13)

the second term is caused by the ducts’ pressure drop [14,15]:

_

E

d;DP

¼ À

_ mDP

r

T

a

ln

Tout

Ta

ðT

out

À T

in

Þ

(14)

and the third termis caused by the temperature difference between

the absorber plate surface and the agent ﬂuid which is given by

[14,15]

_

E

d;DT

f

¼ À _ mC

p

T

a

ln

T

out

T

in

À

ðT

out

À T

in

Þ

T

p

: (15)

The solar collector exergy efﬁciency deﬁnes the increase of ﬂuid

ﬂow exergy upon the primary radiation exergy by the radiation

source. Substituting Eqs. (8)–(15) into Eq. (7) and considering the

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174 1170

exergy efﬁciency deﬁnition, the second law efﬁciency equation of

the solar collector is derived [1,2,18]:

h

ex

¼

_ m

C

p

T

out

À T

in

À T

a

ln

T

out

T

in

À

DP

r

I

T

A

p

1 À

T

a

T

s

¼ 1 À

ð1 À h

o

Þ þ

_ mDP

rI

T

A

p

1 À

T

a

T

s

T

a

ln

T

out

T

a

ðT

out

À T

in

Þ

þ

h

o

T

a

1 À

T

a

T

s

1

T

p

À

1

T

s

þ

U

l

T

p

À T

a

I

T

1 À

T

a

T

s

1 À

T

a

T

p

þ

_ mC

p

T

a

I

T

A

p

ln

T

out

T

in

À

ðT

out

À T

in

Þ

T

p

1 À

T

a

T

s

ð16Þ

The right-hand side terms in Eq. (16) indicate the exergy losses.

5. Formulation of the optimization problem

The optical, thermal and exergetic models presented in the

previous sections have been transposed into a MATLAB computa-

tional program. In this program, most of the geometric parameters

and operating conditions can be variables. The formulation of the

optimization problem, considering the quantities T

in

, T

a

, T

s

, I

T

, (sa),

h

o

, S, V

a

, L

3

, D

i

, etc., as constant parameters, is given by

Maximize h

ex

¼ Eq: ð16Þ;

subject to

Eqs: ð1Þ—ð6Þ

and

1 A

p

10;

0:001 _ m 0:009; T

out

; T

p

; U

l

; Q

u

; DP; C

p

; r; F

R

; F

0

; f ! 0:

where A

p

and _ mare the independent parameters and T

out

, T

p

, U

l

, Q

u

,

DP, C

p

, r, F

R

, F

0

and f are the dependent parameters in the optimi-

zation procedure. Whereas, the objective function and its con-

straints are nonlinear, it has been maximized numerically with

MATLAB optimization toolbox. MATLAB uses variations of sequen-

tial quadratic programming (SQP) method for constrained optimi-

zation [19].

5.1. The results of the optimization procedure

The selected environmental and design conditions of the solar

collector and constant parameters for the optimization procedure

are shown in Table 1. For the ﬁxed values in Table 1, the

optimization procedure leads to the following optimum values of

the objective function, the independent and dependent optimi-

zation parameters: h

ex

¼3.898%, A

p

¼9.14 m

2

, _ m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s,

T

out

¼358.8248 K, T

p

¼339.4307 K, U

l

¼4.6797 W/m

2

K, Q

u

¼2139.4

W/m

2

, C

p

¼4180.4 J/kg K, DP ¼0.0011 Pa, h

en

¼46.8144%, F

R

¼

0.5573, F

0

¼0.9114, f ¼0.9943, r ¼982.2709 kg/m

3

.

6. Validation of the simulation program

The experimental results of Ref. [2] for the open circuit mode of

the solar collector with serpentine ducts allow the checking of the

results obtained by computer simulation. A comparison has been

made between the computer simulation and experimental results

in the average hourly values for the mean monthly day [2]. Table 2

shows this comparison. The computer simulation results are more

accurate than the simulation results of Ref. [2] and are in good

agreement with the experimental data of Ref. [2] because of:

the correction of the absorbed solar radiation exergy rate by

the solar collector;

considering the exergy loss caused by the ducts’ pressure drop;

the overall thermal loss coefﬁcient, the heat removal factor, the

efﬁciency factor, agent ﬂuid properties and other heat transfer

coefﬁcients of the solar collector are assumed to be variables.

On the other hand, the calculated exergy errors compared with

those obtained by experimental can be explained as follows:

adhesive resistance of the solar collector is neglected;

wind speed is not constant and has direct effect on the overall

thermal loss coefﬁcient that can decrease the accuracy of the

calculated overall thermal loss coefﬁcient in the computer

simulation;

Table 1

Environmental and design conditions for the solar collector

Collector parameters Value

Type Black paint header-riser

ﬂat plate

Glazing Double glass

Agent ﬂuid in ﬂow ducts Water

Adhesive resistance, 1/C

b

Negligible

Length and width of collector L

1

¼1 m, L

2

¼A

p

/L

1

m

Wind speed, V

a

25 m/s

Collector tilt, b 20

**Fluid inlet and ambient temperature, T
**

in

zT

a

300 K

Apparent sun temperature, T

s

4350 K

Plate thickness, d

p

0.002 m

Effective product transmittance–absorptance or

optical efﬁciency, h

o

¼(sa)

0.84

Emissivity of the absorber plate, 3

p

0.92

Emissivity of the covers, 3

c

0.88

Glass covers’ distance, d

1

¼d

2

0.04 m

Thickness of the back insulation, d

b

0.08 m

Thickness of the sides’ insulation, d

e

0.04 m

Thermal conductivity of the absorber plate, k

p

384 W/mK

Thermal conductivity of the insulation, k

i

0.05 W/mK

Incident solar energy per unit area of the

absorber plate, I

T

500 W/m

2

Tubes’ centre to centre distance, W 0.15 m

Inner diameter of pipes, D

i

0.04 m

Table 2

Comparison between the computer simulation and experimental results in the av-

erage hourly values for the mean monthly day

Hourly interval

8–10 10–12 12–14 14–16 16–18 18–20

Luminosu and Fara [2]

CT

in

zT

a

D

h

(K) 301.15 303.15 305.15 307.15 306.15 303.15

CI

T

D

h

(W/m

2

) 503 795 788 489 397 293

CSD

h

(W/m

2

) 340 538 580 341 268 198

CT

out.exp

D

h

(K) 328.15 346.15 351.15 335.15 328.15 320.15

CDTD

h

(K) 27 43 46 28 22 17

Ch

en.exp

D

h

(%) 38 39 42 43 42 42

Ch

ex.exp

D

h

(%) 1.6 2.5 2.9 1.8 1.4 1.2

Ch

ex.calc

D

h

(%) 1.7 2.6 3 1.7 1.3 1.1

e

exergy

(%) 6.3 4.0 3.4 5.5 7.1 8.3

Present work

CU

l.calc

D

h

(W/m

2

K) 4.48 4.67 4.75 4.63 4.56 4.47

CT

out.calc

D

h

(K) 328.99 346.56 351.82 335.83 329.04 321.51

Ch

en.calc

D

h

(%) 39.61 39.09 42.42 41.97 31.25 44.84

Ch

ex.exp

D

h

(%) 1.6 2.5 2.9 1.8 1.4 1.2

Ch

ex.calc

D

h

(%) 1.65 2.55 2.95 1.76 1.36 1.16

e

exergy

(%) 3.12 2 1.72 2.22 2.85 3.33

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174 1171

the effective product of the transmittance–absorptance (optical

efﬁciency) assumed constant is changing during the day to-

gether with the change of the incidence angle of the solar ra-

diation on the solar collector;

the assumption that the water temperature at collector inlet

could be approximated by the environmental temperature is

not fulﬁlled in the real case;

when the serpentine solar collector has 10 or more bends (as

expected in practical situations), the heat removal factor is

approximated from Eq. (3) (Hottel–Whillier equation). How-

ever, this equation has errors for low mass ﬂow rate and few

tube bends in the serpentine solar collector [20];

the radiative properties of the solar collector surfaces are as-

sumed constant.

7. Results and discussion

Fig. 1 shows the behavior of the exergy efﬁciency as a function of

the mass ﬂow rate of ﬂuid and the absorber plate area, it is pre-

sented to a range of operational and design conditions where the

exergy efﬁciency takes a global maximum value. The incremented

quantities are the absorber plate area from1 to 10 m

2

and the mass ﬂow rate of ﬂuid from0.001 to 0.009 kg/s. The calculated values for

the global maximum point are A

p

¼9.14 m

2

, _ m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s,

h

ex

¼3.898%. As seen, the coordinate of the maximum point is

equal with the values of optimized parameters. Increasing the mass

ﬂow rate above the value of _ m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s determines the

nonchange of exergy efﬁciency for A

p

¼9.14 m

2

. This subject allows

the designer to optimize the solar collector regarding other con-

ditions such as design limitations and thermal applications.

Whereas, decreasing the mass ﬂow rate below the value of

_ m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s determines the sensible decrease of exergy efﬁ-

ciency for A

p

¼9.14 m

2

and this subject shows the danger range

more clearly.

Fig. 2 shows the effect of ﬂuid inlet temperature on the exergy

efﬁciency. By increasing the ﬂuid inlet temperature until the value

of T

in

z315 K, the exergy efﬁciency increases and then decreases

quickly. In a closed circuit solar collector system, since the agent

ﬂuid works in a closed loop, if agent ﬂuid is not used in a deﬁnite

time range, the ﬂuid temperature of the storage tank is increased

and subsequently the temperature of ﬂuid inlet and the exergy

efﬁciency are increased. Fig. 3 shows the variations of the exergy

efﬁciency versus the pipes’ diameter. By increasing the pipes’

Fig. 1. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency according to the mass ﬂow rate of ﬂuid

and absorber plate area.

Fig. 2. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the ﬂuid inlet temperature.

Fig. 3. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the pipes’ diameter.

Fig. 4. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the ambient temperature.

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174 1172

diameter from 0.01 to 0.05 m, the exergy efﬁciency has a slight

increase. Fig. 4 shows the ambient temperature effect on the exergy

efﬁciency. Increasing the ambient temperature from 300 to 313 K

determines the sensible decrease of the exergy efﬁciency. Since the

ambient temperature changes during the day, for having the

maximum exergy efﬁciency other parameters and the solar col-

lector operating conditions should change during the day. Fig. 5

shows the variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the wind speed.

Increasing the wind speed from 0.001 to 50 m/s determines the

sensible decrease of the exergy efﬁciency from 5 to 3.8%. Fig. 6

shows the optical efﬁciency effect on the exergy efﬁciency. By in-

creasing the optical efﬁciency from 0.01 to 100%, the exergy efﬁ-

ciency increases from 0 to 5.4%. Fig. 7 shows the variations of the

exergy efﬁciency with respect to the incident solar energy per unit

area of the absorber plate. By increasing this parameter from 50 to

1000 W/m

2

, the exergy efﬁciency increases.

8. Concluding remarks

1. The overall loss coefﬁcient is not a constant parameter. The

precise calculation of this parameter increases the accuracy of

the exergy efﬁciency. The optical efﬁciency has a great effect on

the exergy efﬁciency. By using the ﬂat plate solar collectors

with optical concentrators, the optical efﬁciency increases.

2. The energy efﬁciency increases without extremum points with

operating parameters. The absence of such maximum points

has created difﬁculties in the design of ﬂat plate solar collec-

tors. However, the exergy efﬁciency presents points of local

maxima and a point of global maximum.

3. By increasing the incident solar energy per unit area of the

absorber plate, the exergy efﬁciency increases. The exergy ef-

ﬁciency decreases rapidly when the ambient temperature and

the wind speed increase. Since these parameters change during

the day, for having the maximum exergy efﬁciency other pa-

rameters and the solar collector operating conditions should

change during the day and the design of solar collector should

be based on the daily average of these parameters.

4. Increasing the ﬂuid inlet temperature increases the exergy ef-

ﬁciency but there is a maximum point for the ﬂuid inlet tem-

perature where the exergy efﬁciency decreases quickly.

5. The design parameters such as pipes’ diameter have a little

effect on the exergy efﬁciency.

6. The analysis presented in this paper can be used for the ther-

modynamic design of similar systems, establishing the optimal

operation parameters for a given set of conditions. The exergy

analysis is more informative in regard to optimum operating

zone, quantifying the inefﬁciencies, their relative magnitudes

and locations and unlike other optimization methods, this

method decreases internal irreversibilities, which is very

important.

Appendix A. Nomenclature

A area (m

2

)

C

p

heat capacity of the ﬂuid (kJ/kg K)

1/C

b

adhesive resistance (W/m

2

K)

D diameter (m)

_

E exergy rate (J/s)

F

0

collector efﬁciency factor

F

R

heat removal factor

I solar radiation intensity (W/m

2

)

k conductivity (W/mK)

L dimensions of collector (m)

_ m mass ﬂow rate (kg/s)

Fig. 5. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the wind speed.

Fig. 6. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the optical efﬁciency.

Fig. 7. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the incident solar energy per unit

area of absorber plate.

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174 1173

P ﬂuid pressure (Pa)

Q heat transfer rate (W)

S radiation absorbed ﬂux (W/m

2

)

T temperature (K)

U collector loss coefﬁcient (W/m

2

K)

V speed, velocity (m/s)

W tubes’ centre to centre distance (m)

Greek symbols

a absorptance

b collector tilt (

)

D difference in pressure or temperature

d distance or thickness (m)

e error (%)

3 emissivity

h efﬁciency (%)

s transmittance

f plate effectiveness

r density (kg/m

3

)

(sa) effective product transmittance–absorptance

Subscripts

1 ﬁrst, length

2 second, width

3 height

a ambient, adhesive, wind

b back

c cover

calc calculated

d destroyed

e side

en energy

ex exergy

exp experimental

exergy exergy efﬁciency

f ﬂuid

h hot, hourly

i inner, insulation

in inlet

l leakage, overall

m monthly

o optical

out outlet

p absorber plate, Petela

Q heat transfer

s stored, sun

T incident

u useful

Statistics symbols

C D

h

hourly average

References

[1] Dutta Gupta KK, Saha SK. Energy analysis of solar thermal collectors. Re-

newable Energy and Environment 1990:283–7.

[2] Luminosu I, Fara L. Determination of the optimal operation mode of a ﬂat solar

collector by exergetic analysis and numerical simulation. Energy 2005;30:

731–47.

[3] Bejan A, Keary DW, Kreith F. Second law analysis and synthesis of solar col-

lector systems. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 1981;103:23–8.

[4] Suzuki A, Okamura H, Oshida I. Application of exergy concept to the analysis of

optimum operating conditions of solar heat collectors. Journal of Solar Energy

Engineering 1987;109(4):337–42.

[5] Liu Geng, Cengel YA, Turner RH. Exergy analysis of a solar heating system.

Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 1995;117:249–51.

[6] Torres-Reyes E, Cervantes de Gortari JG, Ibarra-Salazar BA, Picon-Nunez M. A

design method of ﬂat-plate solar collectors based on minimum entropy gen-

eration. Exergy 2001;1(1):46–52.

[7] Tyagi SK, Shengwei Wang, Singhal MK, Kaushik SC, Park SR. Exergy analysis

and parametric study of concentrating type solar collectors. International

Journal of Thermal Sciences 2007;46:1304–10.

[8] Badescu Viorel. Optimal control of ﬂow in solar collectors for maximum ex-

ergy extraction. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 2007;50:

4311–22.

[9] Farahat S, Ajam H, Sarhaddi F. Optimization of linear parabolic solar collectors

with exergy concept and comparison with energy analysis. In: Proceedings of

the fourth international mechanical engineering conference and ninth annual

paper meet, Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 2004. p. 139–46.

[10] Ajam H, Farahat S, Sarhaddi F. Exergetic optimization of solar air heaters and

comparison with energy analysis. International Journal of Thermodynamics

December 2005;8(4):183–90.

[11] Sarhaddi F, Farahat S, Ajam H, Sobhnamayan F. Thermodynamic optimization

of the solar parabolic cookers and comparison with energy analysis. In: Pro-

ceedings of the ﬁfth international chemical engineering congress (IChEC

2008), Kish Island, Iran, January 2008.

[12] Sukhatme SP. Solar energy. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1993. p. 83–139.

[13] Kotas TJ. The exergy method of thermal plant analysis. Malabar, FL: Krieger

Publish Company; 1995.

[14] Suzuki A. General theory of exergy balance analysis and application to solar

collectors. Energy 1988;13(2):153–60.

[15] Suzuki A. A fundamental equation for exergy balance on solar collectors.

Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 1988;110(2):102–6.

[16] Bejan A. Advanced engineering thermodynamics. New York: Wiley Inter-

science; 1988. p. 133–7, 462–5.

[17] Petela R. Exergy of heat radiation. ASME Journal of Heat Transfer 1964;86:187–

92.

[18] Najian MR. Exergy analysis of ﬂat plate solar collector. MS Thesis, Tehran, Iran:

Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Tehran Uni-

versity; 2000.

[19] Optimization toolbox user’s guide version 2, Ó Copyright 1995–2007. The

MathWorks, Inc.. Available from: <http://www.mathworks.com/products/

optimization>; 2007.

[20] Dayan M. High performance in low-ﬂowsolar domestic hot water systems. MS

Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-

Madison; 1997. p. 19–55 [chapter 3].

S. Farahat et al. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174 1174

Tout.
The solar collector exergy efﬁciency deﬁnes the increase of ﬂuid ﬂow exergy upon the primary radiation exergy by the radiation source. (8)–(15) into Eq. Ts
(10)
(3)
where F0 and f are the collector efﬁciency factor and plate effectiveness. respectively. Farahat et al. Substituting Eqs. El and Ed are the inlet.f ¼ mCp Tin À Ta À Ta ln in þ : r Ta
(8)
The absorbed solar radiation exergy rate. DPin and DPout are the pressure difference of the agent ﬂuid with the surroundings at entrance and exit of the solar collector. outlet temperature. 4.DTs ¼ Àho IT Ap Ta
1 1 . The stored exergy rate is null at steady conditions. respectively.Q ¼ ho IT Ap 1 À .
(2)
The term in the bracket is the Petela efﬁciency (hp). / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174
ﬁrstly the optical and energy analysis of the ﬂat plate solar collector will be carried out.15]:
where (sa) is the effective product transmittance–absorptance that is equal with the optical efﬁciency (ho) [12]. outlet.DP ¼ À r ðTout À Tin Þ
(14)
and the third term is caused by the temperature difference between the absorber plate surface and the agent ﬂuid which is given by [14. However. (7) and considering the
. this equation violates the second law of thermodynamics for such systems [18]. (2)–(4) Tp. An energy balance on the absorber plate yields the following equation for a steady state [12]:
À Á Qu ¼ Ap S À Ul Ap Tp À Ta :
(4)
where Ts is the apparent sun temperature and equals 75% of blackbody temperature of the sun [3]. The calculation of the overall loss coefﬁcient (Ul) is based on simulation convection and re-radiation losses from the absorber plate to the atmosphere that the proof of them is not included here to have a brief note. The inlet exergy rate with ﬂuid ﬂow is given by [13. which during the previous studies assumed as a constant factor or a variable with little effect. (8) and (10) will result in total inlet exergy rate of the solar collector. considering the Petela theorem. Ul is the overall loss coefﬁcient. Eout . leakage and destroyed exergy rate. radiation absorbed ﬂux by unit area of the absorber plate and area of the absorber plate.f ¼ ÀmCp Tout À Ta À Ta ln À : r Ta
(11)
In Eqs. General form of the exergy balance equation is [14. Cp and m are the ﬂuid inlet. Optical analysis In Eq.
(1)
_ where Tin. Energy analysis The proof of governing equations on the solar collector energy analysis is not included to have a brief note [12]. 2. is [12]
" # 4 Ta 1 Ta 4 _ Ein.15]
Tout ðTout À Tin Þ _ _ Ed. respectively.Q ¼ ho IT Ap 1 À þ : 3 Ts 3 Ts
(9)
Qu ¼ Ap FR ½S À Ul ðTin À Ta Þ. considering the heat losses from the solar collector to the atmosphere. heat capacity and mass ﬂow rate of the agent ﬂuid. The useful heat gain (Qu) by the working ﬂuid is
The inlet exergy rate includes the inlet exergy rate with ﬂuid ﬂow and the absorbed solar radiation exergy rate.16]
_ mDPin T _ _ Ein. The outlet exergy rate includes only the exergy rate of outlet ﬂuid ﬂow [13. Es .
(6)
the second term is caused by the ducts’ pressure drop [14. IT Ap
(5)
À Á Ta _ El ¼ ÀUl Ap Tp À Ta 1 À : Tp
(12)
where IT is the incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate. 3. is given by [17]
_ Qu ¼ mCp ðTout À Tin Þ. assuming the sun as an inﬁnite thermal source.16]:
In Eqs. À Tp Ts
(13)
S ¼ ðsaÞIT .18]
where Ta is the ambient temperature and the heat removal factor (FR) is deﬁned as
FR ¼
_ mCp 1 À exp Ul Ap
& À
F 0 Ul A p _ mCp
'! . S and Ap are the average temperature of the absorber plate. whereas it is not constant.1170
S. is [6.15]
Tout _ mDP Ta ln Ta _ Ed. The summation of Eqs. (8) and (11). the solar collector exergy efﬁciency will be computed and optimized.
Ta _ Ein. (2) the radiation absorbed ﬂux by unit area of the absorber plate (S) is deﬁned as
The destroyed exergy rate includes three terms.
(7)
_ _ _ _ _ where Ein . Thermal efﬁciency of the solar collector is given by [12]
_ mDPout Tout _ _ Eout.DTf ¼ ÀmCp Ta ln À : Tin Tp
(15)
_ _ _ _ _ Ein þ Es þ Eout þ El þ Ed ¼ 0. The leakage exergy rate caused by heat leakage rate from the absorber plate to the environment is [1]
hen ¼
Qu . The corrected equation. one is caused by the temperature difference between the absorber plate surface and the sun [1]:
_ Ed. The Hottel–Whillier equation for the useful heat gain (Qu) of a ﬂat plate solar collector system. Then. Exergy analysis Exergy is deﬁned as the maximum amount of work which can be produced by a system or a ﬂow of matter or energy as it comes to equilibrium with a reference environment [13]. stored.

3p Emissivity of the covers. considering the quantities Tin. Tp . the objective function and its constraints are nonlinear. Ta IT Ap 1À Ts
ð16Þ
The right-hand side terms in Eq. Validation of the simulation program The experimental results of Ref.92 0.6 1. Cp .63 335.9943.04 31.04 m
hex
! h DP Tout _ m Cp Tout À Tin À Ta ln À r T in ¼ Ta IT Ap 1 À Ts Tout ( Ta ln _ mDP Ta ¼ 1 À ð1 À ho Þ þ Ta ðTout À Tin Þ rIT Ap 1 À Ts À Á Ul Tp À Ta ho Ta 1 1 T 1À a þ À þ Ta Ta Tp Tp Ts 1À IT 1 À Ts Ts Tout ðTout À Tin Þ 9 ln À = _ mCp Ta T Tin p þ .15 m 0.14 m2. Tout ¼ 358.0011 Pa. [2] for the open circuit mode of the solar collector with serpentine ducts allow the checking of the results obtained by computer simulation.47 321.calcDh (%) Chex. the optimization procedure leads to the following optimum values of the objective function. Table 2
Table 2 Comparison between the computer simulation and experimental results in the average hourly values for the mean monthly day Hourly interval 8–10 Luminosu and Fara [2] 301.2 1.97 1. etc. the independent and dependent optimi_ zation parameters: hex ¼ 3. is given by
shows this comparison. FR. MATLAB uses variations of sequential quadratic programming (SQP) method for constrained optimization [19].4307 K.6 4. ki Incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate. Ta.56 39.002 m 0. Cp ¼ 4180. f ¼ 0.5 2. Di. the overall thermal loss coefﬁcient.4 1.8 1.15 397 268 328. considering the exergy loss caused by the ducts’ pressure drop. Ts Plate thickness. F0 and f are the dependent parameters in the optimization procedure.22 16–18 306.83 41. Ts.5 4.2709 kg/m3. db Thickness of the sides’ insulation.8248 K.7 Chex.4 J/kg K. wind speed is not constant and has direct effect on the overall thermal loss coefﬁcient that can decrease the accuracy of the calculated overall thermal loss coefﬁcient in the computer simulation.expDh (%) Chex. agent ﬂuid properties and other heat transfer coefﬁcients of the solar collector are assumed to be variables. W Inner diameter of pipes.5 2.expDh (K) 27 CDTDh (K) 38 Chen. de Thermal conductivity of the absorber plate. kp Thermal conductivity of the insulation.9 2. DP.9114. 1/Cb Length and width of collector Wind speed.
8 > Maximize h ¼ Eq: ð16Þ. Formulation of the optimization problem The optical. thermal and exergetic models presented in the previous sections have been transposed into a MATLAB computational program.84 1. The formulation of the optimization problem.expDh (%) 1.75 351.42 2.76 2. ho. On the other hand. r.48 328. Qu ¼ 2139. F 0 .04 m 0.S.36 2. the heat removal factor.8144%.6 Chex. L2 ¼ Ap/L1 m 25 m/s 20 300 K 4350 K 0.61 1. F . Tout . FR ¼ 0. r.calcDh (%) eexergy (%) 6. 6.88 0.12 10–12 303.51 44. DP ¼ 0. The computer simulation results are more accurate than the simulation results of Ref.1. [2] and are in good agreement with the experimental data of Ref. r ¼ 982.calcDh (W/m2 K) CTout.84 0. 3c Glass covers’ distance.15 795 538 346.6797 W/m2 K. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174
1171
exergy efﬁciency deﬁnition.72 14–16 307.3 7.25 1. IT.82 42. S.65 3. Tp.15 46 42 2.95 1.15 CTin z TaDh (K) 503 CITDh (W/m2) 340 CSDh (W/m2) 328.15 CTout. For the ﬁxed values in Table 1. DP.15 22 42 1. F0 ¼ 0.expDh (%) 1. 5.15 17 42 1. the efﬁciency factor.15 489 341 335.4 4. Tp ¼ 339.85 18–20 303.1 4. m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s. U .3 Present work CUl.0 4.09 2.05 W/m K 500 W/m2 0. IT Tubes’ centre to centre distance.99 39. dp Effective product transmittance–absorptance or optical efﬁciency.16 3. The results of the optimization procedure The selected environmental and design conditions of the solar collector and constant parameters for the optimization procedure are shown in Table 1. (sa).5573.8 1. Farahat et al. Whereas.1 8.67 346. Di Value Black paint header-riser ﬂat plate Double glass Water Negligible L1 ¼1 m. ho ¼ (sa) Emissivity of the absorber plate. d1 ¼ d2 Thickness of the back insulation. Tin z Ta Apparent sun temperature.08 m 0.2. > > > > subject to ex > > > < Eqs: ð1Þ—ð6Þ > and > > > 1 Ap 10. Ul ¼ 4. > > > > 0:001 m 0:009. the calculated exergy errors compared with those obtained by experimental can be explained as follows: adhesive resistance of the solar collector is neglected.15 43 39 2.7 5. Qu . the second law efﬁciency equation of the solar collector is derived [1. Ul.4 1.calcDh (%) eexergy (%) 4.3 4.33
. it has been maximized numerically with MATLAB optimization toolbox. [2] because of: the correction of the absorbed solar radiation exergy rate by the solar collector.15 28 43 1.2 1.55 2 12–14 305.calcDh (K) Chen. f ! 0: _ : R l
_ where Ap and m are the independent parameters and Tout. L3.898%. b Fluid inlet and ambient temperature. A comparison has been made between the computer simulation and experimental results in the average hourly values for the mean monthly day [2].18]:
Table 1 Environmental and design conditions for the solar collector Collector parameters Type Glazing Agent ﬂuid in ﬂow ducts Adhesive resistance..4 W/m2. Ap ¼ 9.04 m 384 W/m K 0. Cp. Va. In this program. Qu.56 329.9 3 3. most of the geometric parameters and operating conditions can be variables. 5. as constant parameters. (16) indicate the exergy losses. Va Collector tilt.15 788 580 351.15 293 198 320. hen ¼ 46.

it is presented to a range of operational and design conditions where the exergy efﬁciency takes a global maximum value. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the ambient temperature. However. 4.001 to 0. the heat removal factor is approximated from Eq.14 m2 and this subject shows the danger range more clearly. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the ﬂuid inlet temperature. this equation has errors for low mass ﬂow rate and few tube bends in the serpentine solar collector [20]. In a closed circuit solar collector system.14 m2.
. the assumption that the water temperature at collector inlet could be approximated by the environmental temperature is not fulﬁlled in the real case. Results and discussion Fig. By increasing the ﬂuid inlet temperature until the value of Tin z 315 K. hex ¼ 3.
Fig. This subject allows the designer to optimize the solar collector regarding other conditions such as design limitations and thermal applications. 1. the coordinate of the maximum point is equal with the values of optimized parameters.14 m2. Fig. Fig. the radiative properties of the solar collector surfaces are assumed constant.009 kg/s. decreasing the mass ﬂow rate below the value of _ m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s determines the sensible decrease of exergy efﬁciency for Ap ¼ 9. since the agent ﬂuid works in a closed loop. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency according to the mass ﬂow rate of ﬂuid and absorber plate area. 3 shows the variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the pipes’ diameter. when the serpentine solar collector has 10 or more bends (as expected in practical situations). 3. 2 shows the effect of ﬂuid inlet temperature on the exergy efﬁciency.1172
S. Whereas.
Fig. Farahat et al. The incremented quantities are the absorber plate area from 1 to 10 m2 and the mass
Fig. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174
the effective product of the transmittance–absorptance (optical efﬁciency) assumed constant is changing during the day together with the change of the incidence angle of the solar radiation on the solar collector. (3) (Hottel–Whillier equation). 2. if agent ﬂuid is not used in a deﬁnite time range. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the pipes’ diameter. Increasing the mass _ ﬂow rate above the value of m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s determines the nonchange of exergy efﬁciency for Ap ¼ 9. m ¼ 0:0087 kg=s.
7.898%. the ﬂuid temperature of the storage tank is increased and subsequently the temperature of ﬂuid inlet and the exergy efﬁciency are increased.
ﬂow rate of ﬂuid from 0. By increasing the pipes’
Fig. the exergy efﬁciency increases and then decreases quickly. 1 shows the behavior of the exergy efﬁciency as a function of the mass ﬂow rate of ﬂuid and the absorber plate area. The calculated values for _ the global maximum point are Ap ¼ 9. As seen.

the optical efﬁciency increases. the exergy efﬁciency increases. Since the ambient temperature changes during the day. this method decreases internal irreversibilities. The absence of such maximum points has created difﬁculties in the design of ﬂat plate solar collectors. Farahat et al. 7 shows the variations of the exergy efﬁciency with respect to the incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate.001 to 50 m/s determines the sensible decrease of the exergy efﬁciency from 5 to 3. Fig. 8. 5 shows the variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the wind speed. By increasing the optical efﬁciency from 0. The overall loss coefﬁcient is not a constant parameter. The exergy efﬁciency decreases rapidly when the ambient temperature and the wind speed increase. However. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the wind speed. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the optical efﬁciency. for having the maximum exergy efﬁciency other parameters and the solar collector operating conditions should change during the day and the design of solar collector should be based on the daily average of these parameters.8%. The design parameters such as pipes’ diameter have a little effect on the exergy efﬁciency. the exergy efﬁciency increases from 0 to 5. The energy efﬁciency increases without extremum points with operating parameters. Increasing the wind speed from 0. By increasing this parameter from 50 to 1000 W/m2. Nomenclature A Cp 1/Cb D _ E F0 FR I k L _ m area (m2) heat capacity of the ﬂuid (kJ/kg K) adhesive resistance (W/m2 K) diameter (m) exergy rate (J/s) collector efﬁciency factor heat removal factor solar radiation intensity (W/m2) conductivity (W/m K) dimensions of collector (m) mass ﬂow rate (kg/s)
Fig. 6 shows the optical efﬁciency effect on the exergy efﬁciency. Increasing the ﬂuid inlet temperature increases the exergy efﬁciency but there is a maximum point for the ﬂuid inlet temperature where the exergy efﬁciency decreases quickly. 2. The precise calculation of this parameter increases the accuracy of the exergy efﬁciency. quantifying the inefﬁciencies.S.05 m. The variations of the exergy efﬁciency versus the incident solar energy per unit area of absorber plate. 4 shows the ambient temperature effect on the exergy efﬁciency.
1. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174
1173
diameter from 0. 6. Since these parameters change during the day. establishing the optimal operation parameters for a given set of conditions.
Appendix A.01 to 100%.
. 7. the exergy efﬁciency has a slight increase. 5. Increasing the ambient temperature from 300 to 313 K determines the sensible decrease of the exergy efﬁciency. By using the ﬂat plate solar collectors with optical concentrators. which is very important. Fig.4%. 3. The exergy analysis is more informative in regard to optimum operating zone. The optical efﬁciency has a great effect on the exergy efﬁciency.
Fig. Concluding remarks
Fig. the exergy efﬁciency presents points of local maxima and a point of global maximum. for having the maximum exergy efﬁciency other parameters and the solar collector operating conditions should change during the day. 4.01 to 0. Fig. 6. their relative magnitudes and locations and unlike other optimization methods. Fig. The analysis presented in this paper can be used for the thermodynamic design of similar systems. 5. By increasing the incident solar energy per unit area of the absorber plate. the exergy efﬁciency increases.

46:1304–10. [20] Dayan M. In: Proceedings of the ﬁfth international chemical engineering congress (IChEC 2008). width 3 height a ambient. [6] Torres-Reyes E. p. overall m monthly o optical out outlet p absorber plate. Advanced engineering thermodynamics. insulation in inlet l leakage. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 1988.86:187– 92. [14] Suzuki A. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 2007. Ibarra-Salazar BA. Saha SK. Turner RH. Second law analysis and synthesis of solar collector systems. Picon-Nunez M. MS Thesis. Farahat S. A design method of ﬂat-plate solar collectors based on minimum entropy generation. Malabar. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 1995.109(4):337–42.1(1):46–52. Renewable Energy and Environment 1990:283–7. [15] Suzuki A.com/products/ optimization>. wind b back c cover calc calculated d destroyed e side en energy ex exergy exp experimental exergy exergy efﬁciency f ﬂuid h hot. p. Sarhaddi F. velocity (m/s) tubes’ centre to centre distance (m)
T u
incident useful
Statistics symbols hourly average C Dh References
[1] Dutta Gupta KK. Kish Island. [17] Petela R. [5] Liu Geng. [12] Sukhatme SP. Sobhnamayan F.
Greek symbols a absorptance b collector tilt ( ) D difference in pressure or temperature d distance or thickness (m) e error (%) 3 emissivity h efﬁciency (%) s transmittance f plate effectiveness r density (kg/m3) effective product transmittance–absorptance (sa)
Subscripts 1 ﬁrst. A fundamental equation for exergy balance on solar collectors. Optimization of linear parabolic solar collectors with exergy concept and comparison with energy analysis. Exergy of heat radiation. Ajam H.30: 731–47.50: 4311–22. 19–55 [chapter 3]. / Renewable Energy 34 (2009) 1169–1174
P Q S T U V W
ﬂuid pressure (Pa) heat transfer rate (W) radiation absorbed ﬂux (W/m2) temperature (K) collector loss coefﬁcient (W/m2 K) speed.13(2):153–60. Determination of the optimal operation mode of a ﬂat solar collector by exergetic analysis and numerical simulation. 2000. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 1981. 462–5. Optimal control of ﬂow in solar collectors for maximum exergy extraction.103:23–8. Exergy analysis of ﬂat plate solar collector. Kaushik SC. New York: McGraw-Hill. Farahat et al. Application of exergy concept to the analysis of optimum operating conditions of solar heat collectors.117:249–51. 1988. 1997. Kreith F. [19] Optimization toolbox user’s guide version 2. [16] Bejan A. [8] Badescu Viorel. Solar energy. Cervantes de Gortari JG. Tehran University. January 2008.. Petela Q heat transfer s stored. Energy 2005. Cengel YA.1174
S. Oshida I. Exergetic optimization of solar air heaters and comparison with energy analysis. 1995. 139–46. [18] Najian MR. MS Thesis. hourly i inner. [9] Farahat S. University of WisconsinMadison. FL: Krieger Publish Company. Tehran. Park SR. [2] Luminosu I. Okamura H. Exergy 2001. Available from: <http://www.8(4):183–90. [13] Kotas TJ. 2007. [4] Suzuki A. Fara L. Exergy analysis and parametric study of concentrating type solar collectors. Dhaka. College of Engineering. Shengwei Wang. Ajam H. p. Sarhaddi F. ASME Journal of Heat Transfer 1964. Keary DW. length 2 second. sun
. adhesive. General theory of exergy balance analysis and application to solar collectors. Department of Mechanical Engineering. Singhal MK. Energy 1988. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 1987. International Journal of Thermal Sciences 2007. The exergy method of thermal plant analysis. December 2004. [10] Ajam H. Farahat S. [3] Bejan A. 1993. 133–7. [11] Sarhaddi F. p. Bangladesh.110(2):102–6. Energy analysis of solar thermal collectors. In: Proceedings of the fourth international mechanical engineering conference and ninth annual paper meet. Iran. Exergy analysis of a solar heating system. [7] Tyagi SK. 83–139. Thermodynamic optimization of the solar parabolic cookers and comparison with energy analysis. High performance in low-ﬂow solar domestic hot water systems. Ó Copyright 1995–2007. The MathWorks. International Journal of Thermodynamics December 2005.mathworks. Iran: Department of Mechanical Engineering. New York: Wiley Interscience. Inc.