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heat exchangers

Sura Tundee

a,

*

, Pradit Terdtoon

a

, Phrut Sakulchangsatjatai

a

, Randeep Singh

b,

**

,

Aliakbar Akbarzadeh

b

a

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

b

Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Group, School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University,

Bundoora East Campus, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia

Received 1 September 2009; received in revised form 25 March 2010; accepted 13 April 2010

Available online 17 July 2010

Communicated by: Associate editor Yogi Goswami

Abstract

This paper presents the results of experimental and theoretical analysis on the heat extraction process from solar pond by using the

heat pipe heat exchanger. In order to conduct research work, a small scale experimental solar pond with an area of 7.0 m

2

and a depth of

1.5 m was built at Khon Kaen in North-Eastern Thailand (16°27

0

N102°E). Heat was successfully extracted from the lower convective

zone (LCZ) of the solar pond by using a heat pipe heat exchanger made from 60 copper tubes with 21 mm inside diameter and

22 mm outside diameter. The length of the evaporator and condenser section was 800 mm and 200 mm respectively. R134a was used

as the heat transfer ﬂuid in the experiment. The theoretical model was formulated for the solar pond heat extraction on the basis of

the energy conservation equations and by using the solar radiation data for the above location. Numerical methods were used to solve

the modeling equations. In the analysis, the performance of heat exchanger is investigated by varying the velocity of inlet air used to

extract heat from the condenser end of the heat pipe heat exchanger (HPHE). Air velocity was found to have a signiﬁcant inﬂuence

on the eﬀectiveness of heat pipe heat exchanger. In the present investigation, there was an increase in eﬀectiveness by 43% as the air veloc-

ity was decreased from 5 m/s to 1 m/s. The results obtained from the theoretical model showed good agreement with the experimental

data.

Ó 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Solar pond; Thermosyphon; Heat pipe heat exchanger; Heat recovery; Renewable energy

1. Introduction

Solar pondis a simple andlowcost thermal energy storage

systemwhich collects incident solar radiation and stores it in

the form of sensible heat of saline water for a relative long

period of time (seasonal storage). The ﬁrst investigation on

the solar pond was conducted by Kalecsinsky (1902). In

the study, the solar-heated natural salt water lake known

as Lake Madoc located at 42°44

0

N, 28°45

0

E in Transylvania

was considered. This lake showed temperatures as high as

70 °C at a depth of 1.32 m in the summer season. The mini-

mal temperature was 26 °C during early spring. Following

this study, the idea of solar energy collection was further

developed by using artiﬁcially created salinity-gradient solar

ponds.

A typical salinity-gradient solar pond generally consists

of three regions namely the upper convective zone (UCZ),

the middle non-convective zone (NCZ), and the lower con-

vective zone (LCZ) as shown in Fig. 1. The upper convec-

tive zone is the topmost layer of the solar pond which is

relatively thin and consists almost entirely of fresh water

0038-092X/$ - see front matter Ó 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.solener.2010.04.010

*

Corresponding author. Tel.: +66 43338869; fax: +66 43338870.

**

Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 399256024; fax: +61 399256108.

E-mail addresses: suratundee2000@yahoo.com (S. Tundee), randeep.

singh@rmit.edu.au (R. Singh).

www.elsevier.com/locate/solener

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716

or water with low salinity. The non-convective zone is the

portion just below the upper convective zone that shows

an increasing salt concentration with respect to the pond

depth. This layer acts as heat insulation and thus minimizes

heat losses from the bottom high saline layer. The lower

convective zone has the highest percentage of salinity with-

out any concentration gradient unlike NCZ. For suﬃ-

ciently high concentration gradient in NCZ, the

convective current will be suppressed in this region which

helps to store the absorbed thermal energy in the bottom

portion (LCZ) of the pond. Fig. 1 also presents a character-

istic salinity and temperature proﬁles in the salinity-gradi-

ent solar pond. When solar radiation is incident on the

solar pond, a part of the radiation is reﬂected back from

Nomenclature

A area (m

2

)

C heat capacity (J/kg)

C

p

speciﬁc heat capacity (J/kg K)

E rate of solar irradiance absorption per unit vol-

ume of water (W/m

3

)

h convection heat transfer coeﬃcient (W/m

2

K)

H average daily solar irradiance (MJ/m

2

day)

I

o

solar intensity just penetrating the surface of the

pond (W/m

2

)

I

x

solar intensity available at depth x (W/m

2

)

j 1–4 (diﬀerent ranges of wavelength as per Ta-

ble 1)

k thermal conductivity (W/m K)

L latent heat of evaporation of water (J/kg)

l thickness of the solar pond zone (m)

LCZ lower convective zone

m

a

air mass ﬂow rate (kg/s)

NCZ non-convective zone

NTU number of heat transfer units for heat pipe heat

exchanger

n number of thermosyphons

P perimeter (m)

P

atm

atmosphere pressure (Pa)

P

v

saturation vapour pressure corresponding to

surface water temperature (Pa)

P

1

partial pressure of water vapour in air (Pa)

q rate of heat loss per unit area (W/m

2

)

q

ext

heat extracted from the lower convective zone of

solar pond by HPHE (W)

Q

tot

total heat transferred by heat pipe heat exchan-

ger (W)

Q

max

maximum possible heat that can be transferred

by heat exchanger (W)

R

h

relative humidity (%)

S salt concentration (kg/m

3

)

T temperature (K)

t time (s)

U overall heat transfer coeﬃcient (W/m

2

K)

UCZ upper convective zone

V wind speed (m/s)

x distance from the surface of the solar pond (m)

Z

tot

total thermal resistance of the HPHE (K/W)

Dt time diﬀerence (s)

DT temperature diﬀerence (K)

Dx thickness of horizontal layers (m)

Greek letters

e emissivity

h angles of refraction (rad)

g

j

fraction of solar radiation having absorption

coeﬃcient l

j

q density (kg/m

3

)

r Stefan–Boltzmann’s constant (=5.67 Â 10

À8

W/

m

2

K

4

)

l

j

absorption coeﬃcient for jth portion of solar

spectrum (m

À1

)

n eﬀectiveness of heat exchanger (%)

Subscripts

a air

ai air inlet

ao air outlet

amb ambient

c cold

conv convection

e evaporation

eﬀ eﬀective

f ﬁnal/last layer of the NCZ

g ground

h hot

hh hydrostatic height

i number of layer

l lower convective zone

min minimum

max maximum

n non-convective zone

r radiation

s solar pond

si sink

sky sky conditions

sl sides of lower convective zone

sn sides of non-convective zone

so source

su sides of upper convective zone

tot total

t 1, 2, 3, . . . (index for time interval Dt)

u upper convective zone

w water

S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716 1707

the top surface while most of the incident sunlight is trans-

mitted inside through the top surface of the UCZ. The frac-

tion of the transmitted radiation is ﬁrst rapidly absorbed in

the surface layer. However, this absorbed heat is lost to the

atmosphere by convection and radiation heat transfer. The

remaining radiation is then subsequently absorbed in the

middle NCZ and bottom LCZ before the rest of the radia-

tion reaches the bottom of the pond. In the LCZ, the

absorbed solar energy is converted to heat and stored as

sensible heat in high concentration brine. Since there are

no heat losses by convection from the bottom layer, the

temperature of this layer can rise substantially. The tem-

perature diﬀerence between the top and the bottom of the

solar ponds can be as high as 50–60 °C. Thermal energy

stored in the solar pond can be utilized for heating of build-

ings (hydrophonic), power production and desalination

purposes (Akbarzadeh et al., 2005).

Heat absorbed in the solar pond can be extracted by dif-

ferent means for utilization in various thermal applications.

In this area, investigation on the heat extraction systems

has been conducted by number of researchers. Jaefarzadeh

(2000) studied the heat extraction from the solar pond with

an area of 4 m

2

and a depth of 1.1 m by using in-pond heat

exchangers with water as the working ﬂuid. In this investi-

gation, a system of internal and external heat exchangers

was used. The internal heat exchanger was installed in

the LCZ that helps to extract heat from the bottom of

the pond by using circulating fresh water and transfer it

to the water to air heat exchanger placed externally to

the pond. It was concluded that the solar pond can deliver

heat either continuously with low eﬃciency or intermit-

tently with relatively high thermal eﬃciency.

Andrew and Akbarzadeh (2005) propose an alternative

method to enhance the thermal eﬃciency of the solar pond

by extracting heat from the non-convecting gradient layer

in addition to the lower convective zone. A theoretical

analysis of combined NCZ and LCZ heat extraction sug-

gested that this method has the potential to increase the

overall energy eﬃciency of the pond by up to 50% as com-

pared to the conventional method of heat extraction from

LCZ only. In the analysis, heat exchanger was assumed to

be single phase type with water as the working ﬂuid.

From the literature survey, it is evident that the heat

extraction from the solar ponds is generally performed by

means of single-phase heat transfer using sensible heat gain

by the liquid working ﬂuid which is mostly water. The cur-

rent method of heat extraction suﬀers from two main lim-

itations. Firstly, the active circulation of the working ﬂuid

inside the in-pond heat exchanger requires pumping power

which is not very sustainable in the remote area applica-

tions where solar ponds are most viable. Secondly, single-

phase heat exchangers are bulky in size and are required

to handle large mass ﬂow rates of heat transfer ﬂuid in

order to transfer kilowatt range heat provided by the solar

ponds. In this regard, two phase heat transfer systems (Lee

et al., 2006; Huang et al., 2001; Hussein, 2002; Shiraishi

et al., 1981; Lee and Bedrossian, 1978; Chyng et al.,

2003; Esen, 2004) based on the latent heat of evaporation

of the liquid working ﬂuid can be considered as an advan-

tage due to its passive mode of operation and relatively

high heat transfer capacity with reasonable system size. Till

now, such a heat exchanger is not utilized for the solar

pond heat extraction purposes. Therefore, the current

research investigates the potential and viability of heat

extraction from the lower convective zone of the solar pond

by using system of two-phase gravity-assisted thermosy-

phons as the heat exchanger. In the study, the theoretical

model of solar pond heat extraction by using thermosy-

phons is discussed and elaborated. Also, the outcomes of

the thermal simulation are compared to the experimental

data obtained from the artiﬁcially constructed salinity-gra-

dient solar pond.

2. Experimental setup

In the present experimental work, solar pond with an

area of 7 m

2

and a depth of 1.5 m was built at Rajamangala

University of Technology in north east of Thailand

(16°27

0

N102°E). The built solar pond was used to charac-

terize the daily temperature variations and possible heat

extraction rate from the salinity-gradient solar ponds.

Fig. 2 illustrates various zones in the solar pond and their

thicknesses. In this case, the pond was built above ground

with concrete walls 20 cm thick. The temperature measure-

ments were taken at diﬀerent locations along the inner con-

crete wall of the pond, as indicated in the Fig. 2, by using

K-type thermocouples with an accuracy of ±0.5 °C. These

thermocouples were equally spaced at 0.05 m interval with

the starting point at 0.05 m and end point at 1.45 m from

the bottom surface of the pond. The temperature distribu-

tions at these regions were recorded at 5 min time interval

by using the data acquisition system connected to these

thermocouples. For monitoring and processing the output

data, the data acquisition unit was connected to a com-

puter system. The solar radiation intensity (in W/m

2

) inci-

dent on the horizontal surface was measured at an interval

of 10 min by using a 105HP type pyranometer with an

uncertainty of ±5% of the output reading. In order to

record the density proﬁle for the solar pond, samples of

the saline water was extracted from diﬀerent depths of

the pond using simple gravity assisted siphoning technique.

Fig. 1. Salinity gradient solar pond.

1708 S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716

Density was measured using DMA 35N Density meter

from Anton Paar which has an accuracy of ±1 kg/m

3

.

The schematic of the heat extraction system, as shown in

Fig. 2, is composed of heat pipe heat exchanger (HPHE),

blower and air ﬂow duct. A system of internal heat exchan-

ger based on the two phase thermosyphons (gravity

assisted heat pipes) was designed for removing heat from

the LCZ of the solar pond. The heat pipe heat exchanger

(HPHE) consisted of 60 thermosyphons which were made

from copper tube with an internal diameter of 21 mm

and external diameter of 22 mm. Each tube has evaporator

and condenser length of 80 cm and 20 cm respectively.

R134a was used as the heat transfer ﬂuid inside the ther-

mosyphon. The HPHE was inclined at 60° to the vertical

that provide a favourable tilt for superior thermal perfor-

mance of the thermosyphon as well as for integrating the

heat exchanger inside the lower convective zone. Tilting

the HPHE at such an angle helps to provide heat transfer

access at the evaporator and condenser sections and also

installation of the unit in the heat storage section of the

pond. It should be noted that the performance of the ther-

mosyphon is very much dependent on the tilt angle. For

proper return of the condensate to the evaporation section,

the tilt angle should be higher (more than 45°). On the

other hand, 90° tilt increases the chances of entrainment

and blockage of condensation area with liquid ﬁlm. Keep-

ing all these factors into account, 60° tilt was considered

optimum for the present experimental setup. In order to

extract heat transferred by the HPHE from the LCZ, a var-

iable speed blower was used for circulation the ambient air

through the HPHE condenser. The air temperature at the

inlet and outlet of the HPHE condenser and volume ﬂow

rate were measured to determine the heat extraction rate.

A vane type anemometer with ±0.3 m/s accuracy was used

to measure the mean velocity of air passing through the

blower.

On the basis of the error analysis, it was observed that

the uncertainties associated with the experimental results

were higher at the lower ﬂow velocities of the air through

the blower due to the lower quantities of extracted heat.

For the minimum experimental air velocity of 1 m/s, the

maximum uncertainty for the heat extracted from the solar

pond and eﬀectiveness of the heat pipe heat exchanger was

±5.1% and ±7.2% respectively.

3. Theoretical analysis of solar pond heat extraction

3.1. Solar pond analysis

A one-dimensional mathematical model based on the

energy conservation for three zones of the pond namely

UCZ, NCZ and LCZ as shown in Fig. 3 was used to pre-

dict the thermal characteristics of the experimental solar

pond. The model outcomes were validated by using test

data obtained from the constructed solar pond. In the

model, it was assumed that the upper convective zone

and lower convective zone are fully mixed. The tempera-

ture variations inside the solar pond depend on the solar

radiation intensity incident on the horizontal surface, the

climatic conditions of the place, the structure and geometry

of the pond and the rate of heat extraction.

Using Cartesian system of coordinates, x is measured as

positive downward with the origin (x = 0) at the surface of

the pond. The general one-dimensional transient equation

UCZ

NCZ

LCZ

Concrete

slab

Computer

System

Data Logger

Signal from

thermocouples

30 cm

60 cm

70 cm

20 cm

Thermocouples

lined along the depth

of the solar pond

Blower

HPHE

Sun

TLCZ

Tai

Tao

Cold Air Warm Air

Fig. 2. Experimental setup showing diﬀerent zones of solar pond their dimensions, pond heat extraction system and associated data acquisition facilities.

S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716 1709

for temperature T in the conducting (non-convecting) zone

of the pond can be given as (Rubin et al., 1984):

qC

p

@T

@t

¼

@

@x

k

@T

@x

_ _

þ Eðx; tÞ ð1Þ

The energy source term, E(x, t), appearing in Eq. (1)

represents the rate of solar energy absorption by the ﬂuid

per unit volume, and can be expressed as follows:

E ¼ À

@I

x

@x

ð2Þ

The thermophysical properties of the saline water in

terms of temperature (T) in Kelvin and salt concentration

(S) in kg/m

3

are given by (Wang and Akbarzadeh, 1982)

as below:

k

w

¼ 0:5553 À 0:0000813S þ 0:0008ðT À 20Þ ð3Þ

q

w

¼ 998 þ0:65S À 0:4ðT À 20Þ ð4Þ

C

pw

¼ 4180 þ 4:396S þ 0:0048S

2

ð5Þ

3.1.1. Absorption of solar radiation in solar pond

Solar radiation is one of the most important parameters

for estimating the temperature in the solar pond. For the

solar pond, the thermal performance is largely dependent

on the nature of light absorption in the body of water in

the solar pond. The solar irradiance that penetrates the

pond surface decays exponentially with the depth (x) as

the energy is absorbed by ﬂuid layers. The rate of decay

is a function of the wavelength of the radiation and can

be expressed for the whole spectrum of wavelength by ser-

ies of exponential functions (Rubin et al., 1984) as follows:

I

x

I

o

¼

4

j¼1

g

j

exp

Àl

j

x

cos h

_ _

ð6Þ

Table 1 gives the values for g and l for diﬀerent range of

wavelength.

A simpliﬁed equation for light absorption in water is

given by (Wang and Akbarzadeh, 1982) as:

I

x

I

o

¼ 0:36 À 0:08 ln x for 0:01 m < x < 10 m ð7Þ

Fig. 4 presents the graph for the extent of the solar

energy absorption inside the pond with the depth by using

Eqs. (6) and (7). As evident from the trends, the predictions

UCZ

NCZ

LCZ

q

e

q

conv q

r

I

o

q

g

q

ext

q

sl

q

sn

q

su

l

l

l

n

l

u

T

u

f

1

i-1

i

i+1

Δx

i-1

Δx

i

Δx

i+1

T

l

x

i-1/2

x

i+1/2

x

i

u

l

I

n u

l l

I

+

Fig. 3. Mathematical model of the solar pond showing details of the three zones and the sub-layers for numerical analysis.

Table 1

Values for g and l for diﬀerent range of wavelength as used in Eq. (6).

j Wavelength (lm) g l

1 0.2–0.6 0.237 0.032

2 0.6–0.75 0.193 0.45

3 0.75–0.9 0.167 3

4 0.9–1.2 0.179 35

1710 S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716

made by the two correlations is quite close. It is noted that

the absorption of the incident radiation shows an initial

sharp and then slow trend with respect to the depth of

the pond. At a depth of 1 m, only 36% of the radiation

entering the pond is available while at a depth of 2 m this

value is reduced to 30%. Solar radiation intensity has a

direct eﬀect on the temperature of the pond. In this study,

the meteorological data used was recorded at Khon Kaen

in Thailand. Table 2 presents the monthly average of daily

solar radiation on horizontal surface and ambient temper-

ature based on recorded data.

3.1.2. Energy balance for the upper convective zone (UCZ)

Due to convection, the UCZ zone can be assumed to

have a uniform temperature T

u

. The UCZ is treated as a

single layer with the constant thermophysical properties

of the ﬂuid throughout the thickness of the layer. The

energy ﬂows in the solar pond is in the form of heat, thus,

the heat balance as shown in Fig. 3 can be written as:

q

u

C

pu

l

u

@T

u

@t

¼ ðI

o

À I

lu

Þ þ k

u

@T

@x

¸

¸

¸

¸

x¼lu

À q

u

ð8Þ

where q

u

is the rate of total heat loss per unit area from the

pond due to convection, evaporation, radiation as well as

heat losses through the wall (Kurt et al., 2000) as expressed

below:

q

u

¼ q

conv

þ q

e

þ q

r

þ q

su

ð9Þ

The convective heat loss from pond surface is given by

q

conv

¼ h

conv

ðT

u

À T

amb

Þ ð10Þ

where convection heat transfer coeﬃcient is determined

from

h

conv

¼ 5:7 þ 3:8V ð11Þ

where V is the average monthly wind speed at Khon Kaen

Thailand as recorded in Table 2.

The evaporative heat loss is given by

q

e

¼

Lh

conv

ðP

v

À P

1

Þ

1:6C

P

P

atm

ð12Þ

where

P

1

¼ R

h

exp 18:403 À

3885

T

amb

þ 230

_ _

ð13Þ

where R

h

is the monthly average relative humidity at Khon

Kaen Thailand as recorded in Table 2.

P

v

¼ exp 18:403 À

3885

T

u

þ230

_ _

ð14Þ

The radiation heat loss is given by

q

r

¼ e

w

r T

4

u

À T

4

sky

_ _

ð15Þ

where e

w

is the emissivity of water which is assumed to be

0.83 and r is the Stefan–Boltzmann’s constant (5.67 Â

10

À8

W/m

2

K

4

).

Sky temperature is given by (Kurt et al., 2000) as:

T

sky

¼ T

amb

À 0:55 þ 0:061

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

P

1

_

_ _

0:25

ð16Þ

q

su

is the rate of heat loss from the side walls of upper con-

vective zone per unit area of the pond given by:

q

su

¼

P

A

s

l

u

U

su

ðT

u

À T

amb

Þ ð17Þ

where U

su

is the overall heat transfer coeﬃcient from ﬂuid

inside the upper convective zone to the ambient.

The heat balance for upper convective zone in non-dif-

ferential form can be written as

q

u

C

pu

l

u

T

tþDt

u

À T

t

u

_ _

Dt

¼ I

t

j

x¼0

À I

t

j

x¼lu

_ _

À k1

2

T

t

u

À T

t

1

Dx

1

2

_ _

À q

t

u

ð18Þ

where t is the time, Dt is the time increment and T

1

is the

temperature of the ﬁrst layer of the NCZ as deﬁned in

Fig. 3.

From the above equation, the UCZ layer temperature

can be obtained as follow:

0

1

2

3

4

5

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

I

x

/I

o

D

e

p

t

h

(

m

)

Equation (6)

Equation (7)

Fig. 4. Variation of radiation intensity with depth inside water as

calculated on the basis of two diﬀerent correlations given by Eqs. (6)

and (7).

Table 2

Metrological data for Khon Kaen Thailand based on the monthly

average.

Month Insolation,

H (MJ/m

2

day)

T

amb

(°C)

T

min

(°C)

T

max

(°C)

V

(m/s)

R

h

(%)

January 15.6 26.18 18.4 30.6 8.5 56

February 16.8 27.41 19.8 32 6.4 54

March 17.8 30.4 23.6 34.4 7.9 55

April 18.7 31.05 25.5 34.1 6.9 61

May 19.2 30.29 25.8 32.6 7.5 70

June 19.6 30.04 26 32.1 7.9 72

July 19.2 29.26 25.7 31.2 8.1 76

August 18.9 28.91 25.3 30.8 7.4 77

September 18.5 28.46 24.9 30.3 8.5 76

October 18.1 28.53 23.9 30.7 9.3 70

November 17.6 26.86 20.7 29.8 10.1 62

December 17.4 25.34 28.2 29 9.5 58

S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716 1711

T

tþDt

u

¼T

t

u

þ

Dt

q

u

C

pu

l

u

I

t

j

x¼0

ÀI

t

j

x¼lu

_ _

þk1

2

T

t

u

ÀT

t

1

Dx

1

2

_ _

Àq

t

u

_ _

ð19Þ

where q

t

u

is obtained from Eq. (9) by considering the corre-

sponding values evaluated at time, t.

3.1.3. Energy balance for the non-convective zone (NCZ)

The energy balance for the NCZ as shown in Fig. 3 is

governed by the heat diﬀusion equation and expressed by

Eq. (1). However, here this layer is also subjected to some

heat losses through the wall surrounding it. This rate of

heat loss is assumed to be proportional to the temperature

diﬀerence between the water in non-convective zone and

the ambient temperature.

The NCZ is divided into diﬀerent layers for which the

energy equation is formulated below. Fig. 3 shows the divi-

sion of the NCZ with the temperature in the ﬁrst layer

denoted by T

1

and in the last layer by T

f

.

Thus, the energy balance for any layer i other than the

ﬁrst layer, 1 and the last layer, f as shown in Fig. 3 can

be written in the non-diﬀerential form as:

q

i

C

Pi

Dx

i

T

tþDt

i

À T

t

i

Dt

¼ k

iÀ

1

2

T

t

iÀ1

À T

t

i

_ ¸

1

2

ðDx

iÀ1

þ Dx

i

Þ

À k

iþ

1

2

Â

T

t

i

À T

t

iþ1

_ ¸

1

2

ðDx

i

þDx

iþ1

Þ

þ I

x

iÀ

1

2

ð Þ

À I

x

iþ

1

2

ð Þ

_ _

À

P

A

s

Dx

i

U

sl

T

t

i

À T

t

amb

_ _

ð20Þ

Hence, the NCZ layer temperature can be expressed as:

T

tþDt

i

¼T

t

i

þ

Dt

q

i

C

p

i

k

iÀ

1

2

1

Dx

2

i

T

t

iÀ1

ÀT

t

i

_ ¸

Àk

iþ

1

2

1

Dx

2

i

T

t

i

ÀT

t

iþ1

_ ¸

_

þ

1

Dx

i

½I

x

ðiÀ

1

2

Þ

ÀI

x

ðiþ

1

2

Þ

À

P

A

s

U

sl

T

t

i

ÀT

t

amb

_ _

_

ð21Þ

The above equation can be utilized to calculate the tem-

perature at node i at time t + Dt when the temperature is

known for node i À 1, i and i + 1 at time t.

3.1.4. Energy balance for the lower convective zone (LCZ)

Heat balance for LCZ as shown in Fig. 3 can be written

as:

q

l

C

pl

l

l

@T

l

@t

¼ I

l

u

þl

n

þ k

f þ

1

2

ð Þ

@T

@x

¸

¸

¸

¸

x¼luþln

À q

sl

À q

g

À q

ext

ð22Þ

where, I

luþln

is the solar intensity available at l

u

þ l

n

depth,

q

sl

is the rate of heat loss per unit area through side walls of

LCZ, q

g

is the heat loss per unit area through the pond bot-

tom to the ground and q

ext

is the rate of heat extraction per

unit area of the solar pond by thermosyphons heat

exchanger.

Heat loss from the side walls of LCZ can be obtained

from:

q

sl

¼

P

A

s

l

l

U

sl

ðT

l

À T

amb

Þ ð23Þ

Heat loss to the ground is given by:

q

g

¼ U

g

ðT

l

À T

g

Þ ð24Þ

Energy balance in non-diﬀerential from can be written

as:

q

l

C

pl

l

l

T

tþDt

l

À T

t

l

_ _

Dt

¼ I

t

j

x¼ðluþlnÞ

À U

g

T

t

l

À T

t

g

_ _

À

P

A

s

l

l

U

sl

T

t

l

À T

t

amb

_ _

þ k

f þ

1

2

T

t

f

À T

t

l

Dx

f

2

_ _

À q

t

ext

ð25Þ

Hence, the LCZ layer temperature can be obtained from

Eq. (26) as:

T

tþDt

i

¼ T

t

i

þ

Dt

q

l

C

pl

l

l

I

t

x¼ðluþlnÞ

À U

g

T

t

l

À T

t

g

_ _ _

À

P

A

s

l

l

U

sl

T

t

l

À T

t

amb

_ _

þ k

f þ

1

2

T

t

f

À T

t

l

Dx

f

2

_ _

À q

t

ext

_

ð26Þ

3.1.5. Numerical calculation procedure

Computer code was written on the basis of the mathemat-

ical approach outlined in the previous section to solve the

energy balance equations for the three layers of the solar

pond and obtain the temperature distribution inside each

layer. The input parameters for the program includes solar

pond dimensions, climatic parameters including ambient

temperature and solar radiation intensity as obtained from

the meteorological data for Khon Kaen, Thailand. Numeri-

cal calculations were initialized by assuming the temperature

of the various layer of the solar pond to be equal to the ambi-

ent temperature at time, t = 0. Firstly, the code determines

the value for various internal and external heat transfer coef-

ﬁcients and the liquid properties in diﬀerent layers of the

pond on the basis of the initial (i.e. ambient) temperature.

The obtained values of various heat transfer coeﬃcients

along with the values for other climatic parameters were fur-

ther used to calculate the temperatures for diﬀerent layers of

the solar pond at time interval Dt. Using the same procedure,

the code can be used to determine the temperatures of the

layers for anyselectedtime interval or time of the day. Hence,

the hourly and daily temperature values as well as the daily

solar pond eﬃciency can be plotted from the output data.

4. Performance of the experimental solar pond and

comparison with simulation model

The solar pond at Rajamangala University of Technol-

ogy, Isan Khon Kaen Campus in Thailand has been

1712 S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716

continuously operating since 6 January 2008. Experimental

work on the heat extraction from the solar pond using

designed HPHE system was conducted in the summer of

year 2008. Fig. 5 shows the seasonal variation of lower con-

vective zone temperature, denoted by T

LCZ

in Fig. 2, since

the pond started operating. During the 8 month time per-

iod plotted on the graph, the pond ﬁrst showed uniform

increase in the LCZ temperature, since it began opera-

tional, until it reached a maximum value of 42 °C on 17

June and then it presented steady decline. The minimum

LCZ temperature of about 32 °C occurred on 7 February.

In the considered time, the ambient temperature varied

from a minimum of 20 °C on 7 February to the maximum

of 35 °C on 21 April. For the solar pond, the rate of heat-

ing of LCZ is directly proportional to the incoming solar

radiation and inversely proportional to the thickness of

the LCZ. Here, the LCZ thickness is very important

parameter in the design of the solar pond. Large thickness

of the LCZ is advantageous to increase the heat storage

capacity of the pond whereas small thickness is useful to

achieve faster temperature response of the layer with the

changing weather conditions and incoming radiation inten-

sity. As shown in Fig. 5, the mathematical model has been

able to predict the pond LCZ temperature quite satisfacto-

rily. The diﬀerences in the measured and predicted results

are presumably due to the assumptions made in the formu-

lation of the model and under-prediction of the heat losses

from the pond to the ambient and ground. In addition to

this, the eﬀect of the weather condition like heavy rainfall

and strong winds which is not considered in the present

model can magnify the heat losses from the pond thereby

reducing the LCZ temperature.

In Fig. 6, density proﬁle in the LCZ, NCZ and UCZ are

plotted with respect to the height. It is noted that the den-

sity in UCZ and LCZ is fairly constant. The density of the

UCZ was close to that of pure water due to continuous

ﬂushing of the pond top surface with fresh water from

water supply. For the LCZ, the density was close to satu-

rated brine due to continuous charging of the layer with

salt from a salt diﬀuser. Fig. 7 shows the temperature pro-

ﬁle in the pond for a typical hot summer day. The density

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

03-

Jan

23-

Jan

12-

Feb

03-

Mar

23-

Mar

12-

Apr

02-

May

22-

May

11-

Jun

01-

Jul

21-

Jul

10-

Aug

30-

Aug

19-

Sep

09-

Oct

Time (Date)

T

e

m

p

e

r

a

t

u

r

e

(

°

C

)

Daily mean LCZ (Experiment)

Daily mean LCZ (Model)

Ambient

Fig. 5. Comparison between measured and calculated temperature variations in the lower convective zone.

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

975 1000 1025 1050 1075 1100 1125 1150 1175 1200 1225

Density (kg/m³)

E

l

e

v

a

t

i

o

n

(

c

m

)

Date: 30 June 2008

LCZ

NCZ

UCZ

Fig. 6. Density proﬁle of the water in the solar pond.

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

20 25 30 35 40 45 50

Temperature (°C)

E

l

e

v

a

t

i

o

n

(

c

m

)

Date: 30 June 2008

LCZ

NCZ

UCZ

Fig. 7. Temperature proﬁle inside the solar pond.

S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716 1713

and temperature proﬁles in Figs. 6 and 7 are plotted for the

period before the actual heat extraction from the pond was

commenced.

5. Heat pipe heat exchanger (HPHE) analysis

The gravity assisted heat pipe (thermosyphon) is an

eﬀective heat transfer device that utilises latent heat of

the working ﬂuid, ﬂowing under the inﬂuence of gravity,

to transport heat from the source to the sink. As the latent

heat of vaporization is relatively high, the thermosyphon

can transfer large quantity of heat with very small end to

end temperature diﬀerential and thus low thermal resis-

tance. In the thermal analysis of the heat pipe heat exchan-

ger (HPHE) constructed from 60 thermosyphon tubes,

equations and correlations from ESDU (1983) were used.

The total thermal resistance (Z

tot

) of HPHE from heat

source which in this case is the lower convective zone to

the ambient heat sink is related to the actual overall heat

transfer (Q

tot

) as given below:

Q

tot

¼

DT

eff

Z

tot

ð27Þ

where DT

eﬀ

is eﬀective temperature diﬀerence between heat

source and heat sink and deﬁned by:

DT

eff

¼ T

so

À T

si

À DT

hh

ð28Þ

In Eq. (28), T

so

is heat source temperature, T

si

is the heat

sink temperature and DT

hh

is mean temperature diﬀerence

due to hydrostatic head of the liquid column in the evapora-

tor which is calculated by using formulations from ESDU

(1983). The individual thermal resistances that make up

the total thermal resistance from the heat source to the heat

sink in the thermosyphon are depicted in Fig. 8. Calculation

approach mentioned in ESDU (1983) is used to determine

each resistance element. Fig. 9 shows the schematic of the

heat pipe heat exchanger that was installed for heat extrac-

tion from the lower convective zone of the solar pond.

The thermal performance of the heat pipe heat exchan-

ger was assessed on the basis of the eﬀectiveness-number of

transfer unit (NTU) method (Kays and London, 1994).

For a heat pipe heat exchanger with n rows of heat pipes

in the direction of ﬂow, the following eﬀectiveness-NTU

equations can be written:

NTU ¼

UA

tot

C

min

ð29Þ

n ¼ 1 À expðÀNTUÞ ð30Þ

where UA

tot

is the overall thermal conductance of the ther-

mosyphon heat exchanger as calculated in the previous sec-

tion, i.e.

UA

tot

¼

1

Z

tot

ð31Þ

C

min

is equal to heat capacity rate of the cold (C

c

) or hot

(C

h

) ﬂuid, whichever is small. In the present case, the heat

capacity of the lower convective zone is large enough as

compare to the heat capacity of the air ﬂowing through

the HPHE condenser therefore C

min

represents the heat

capacity of the cold ﬂuid.

Eﬀectiveness of the heat exchanger can also be obtained

from:

n ¼

Q

tot

Q

max

ð32Þ

The maximum possible heat transfer from the heat

exchanger can be expressed as:

Q

max

¼ m

a

C

pa

ðT

LCZ

À T

ai

Þ ð33Þ

Z1, Z9 Convection resistance

Z2, Z8 Conduction resistance

Z3f, Z3p, Z7 Internal resistance of boiling and condensing

(f denotes film and p denotes pool boiling)

Z5 Thermal resistance due to vapour pressure drop

Z10 Axially thermal conduction resistance

Z4, Z6 Vapour liquid interface resistance

Top of condenser

Bottom of evaporator

Z1

Z2

Z3f

Z3p

Z4

Z5

Z6

Z7

Z8

Z10

Z9

Condensate

Vapour

Heat source (T

so

)

Heat source (T

si

)

Heat pipe

container

Fig. 8. Thermal resistance and their locations.

T

ao

T

ai

T

LCZ

Evaporator

Section

Condenser

Section

Air Out

Lower

Convective

Zone

Air In

Fig. 9. Heat pipe heat exchanger (HPHE) installed inside the lower

convective zone (LCZ) of the solar pond and the associated temperatures.

1714 S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716

6. HPHE results and discussion

It is evident from the Eq. (27) that the thermal perfor-

mance of the HPHE is dependent on the solar pond tem-

perature. While the solar pond LCZ temperature is low,

the thermosyphon will have low thermal performance due

to the high thermal resistance encountered by the working

ﬂuid (R134a) at the low operating temperatures. For high

LCZ temperature in solar pond, the HPHE shows superior

thermal performance owing to the improvement in the ﬁg-

ure of merit of the working ﬂuid at high temperatures

(Dunn and Reay, 1994). As a result, the eﬀectiveness of

the thermosyphon based heat exchanger for heat extraction

from LCZ increases at higher pond temperatures. For large

quantity of heat extraction from the LCZ, the pond tem-

perature will eventually decrease which will result in the

corresponding decrease in the performance of the ther-

mosyphon. This cycle is repeated continuously in the heat

extraction by two phase thermosyphon heat exchanger.

Fig. 10 shows the solar pond LCZ temperature and heat

extraction rate by HPHE from the experimental solar pond

at Khon Kaen province for 3 h time period. The heat

extraction rate showed somewhat cyclic variation with

respect to the time as discussed above. It is noted from

the graph that the LCZ temperature is fairly constant

which can be due to small quantity of heat extraction rate

as compared to the overall thermal capacity of the pond

and remote location of the LCZ temperature measurement

point from the HPHE evaporator.

Fig. 10 also shows the variation of inlet and outlet air

temperature across the HPHE condenser. It is noted from

the graph that the average temperature of LCZ and tem-

perature of inlet air at condenser section was 39.9 °C and

28.8 °C respectively. With 60 thermosyphon tubes, the rate

of heat extraction was around 100 W on the continuous

basis for a time period of 3 h which resulted in very slight

decrease from 40 °C to 39 °C in the solar pond LCZ tem-

perature. It should be noted that the size and simplicity

of the heat pipe heat exchanger, which includes only 60

thermosyphon tubes without any ﬁns or heat enhancement

surfaces on the evaporator or condenser sides, restricts the

heat extraction rate from the LCZ to the stated values. In

this case, design modiﬁcations including increase in the

heat transfer area and augmentation in the heat exchange

process can improve the extraction rate. However, the pres-

ent design of the heat exchanger based on the passively

operating thermosyphon provided a sustainable and energy

eﬃcient method of extracting heat stored in the solar pond.

Fig. 11 plots the overall heat exchanger eﬀectiveness for

condenser inlet air velocity ranging from 1 to 5 m/s and for

solar pond LCZ temperature of 40 °C. It is noted from the

plot that the eﬀectiveness decreases with the increase in the

inlet air velocity which is due to the decrease in the temper-

ature of the air exiting the HPHE exchanger. As in this case

the heat capacity of the lower convective zone is very high,

an increase in the air ﬂow velocity through the HPHE con-

denser results in the corresponding decrease in the air out-

let temperature which in turn decreases the eﬀectiveness of

the heat exchanger as per simpliﬁed form of Eq. (32) given

below.

n ¼

T

ao

À T

ai

T

LCZ

À T

ai

ð34Þ

The investigation showed that the thermal performance

of the thermosyphon heat exchanger can be increased up to

43% by decreasing the inlet air velocity from 5 m/s to 1 m/

s. The outcome of the simulation approach is compared

with the experimental results on the basis of eﬀectiveness

versus NTU plot in Fig. 12. As evident form the plot, the

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200

Time (minute)

H

e

a

t

e

x

t

r

a

c

t

i

o

n

(

W

)

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

T

e

m

p

e

r

a

t

u

r

e

(

°

C

)

Heat extraction rate

Air inlet temperature

Air outlet temperature

LCZ temperature

Fig. 10. Heat extraction rate and related temperature distribution during

heat transfer process from solar pond.

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

0 1 2 3 4 5 6

Mean air velocity (m/s)

E

f

f

e

c

t

i

v

e

n

e

s

s

(

%

)

Fig. 11. Eﬀect of air velocity on the heat exchanger eﬀectiveness.

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5

NTU

E

f

f

e

c

t

i

v

e

n

e

s

s

Model

Exp (V=1 m/s)

Exp (V=2 m/s)

Exp (V=3 m/s)

Exp (V=4 m/s)

Exp (V=5 m/s)

Fig. 12. Eﬀectiveness versus NTU plot for the heat pipe heat exchanger.

S. Tundee et al. / Solar Energy 84 (2010) 1706–1716 1715

predicted trend showed good agreement with the experi-

mentally obtained results. It is noted that the eﬀectiveness

and NTU shows increase with the decrease in the inlet

air velocity which is very typical for the heat exchangers.

In the present application the main objective is to extract

heat from the pond at high temperature, therefore low

velocity at the HPHE condenser will provide twofold ben-

eﬁt of increase in heat transfer eﬀectiveness and low power

consumption by the air blower.

7. Conclusions

In this paper, heat extraction from a small-scale solar

pond by means of two-phase heat pipe heat exchanger

has been studied. A heat pipe heat exchanger was installed

in the lower convective zone of the salinity gradient solar

pond to extract heat on the continuous basis. Detailed

experimental and theoretical investigation has been con-

ducted on the thermal performance of the salinity-gradient

solar pond and two phase heat extraction system. A math-

ematical model to predict the temperature proﬁle for diﬀer-

ent zones in the solar pond and to access the thermal

performance of the thermosyphon equipped heat exchan-

ger on the basis of the eﬀectiveness-NTU approach has

been explained in detail. The small scale thermosyphon

(or heat pipe) heat exchanger used for extracting heat from

the solar pond showed a continuous heat extraction rate of

about 100 W. As a result, there was a drop in temperature

of lower convective zone from 40 °C to 39 °C in 3 h period

of heat extraction. For the conducted tests, the maximum

eﬀectiveness of 43% for heat exchanger at the air inlet

velocity of 1 m/s was achieved. The predicted outcomes

from the mathematical model showed reasonable agree-

ment with the experimental results.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude

for the support provided by Rajamangala University of

Technology and Global Cities of RMIT University for

undertaking the present research work.

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