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First Annual Civil Engineering Conference: “CIVIL 2009”

ESTIMATION OF SERVICE LIFE
FOR A SOLAR CHIMNEY-
COLLECTOR SYSTEM

A A Adedeji
Department of Civil Engineering, University
of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
aaadeji@unilorin.edu.ng amadeji@yahoo.com
INTRODUCTION AND OVERALL AIMS
In order to construct and find the service life time of a solar
chimney-collector used for enhancing ventilation in a room,
the following objectives were put in place:

 Internal microclimatic condition of the specimen
room was evaluated by measuring the
temperature of solar chimney-collector and the
room.

 Appropriate properties of materials were
collected for the solar chimney-collector and the
specimen one-room building.

 Applied test-retest reliability technique to access
service life of the SCC unit.
Stack Ventilation Principle
Stack ventilation is caused by stack pressure or buoyancy
at an opening due to variation in air density as a result of
difference in temperature across the opening.

The same principle has been applied for opening at
different height, where the difference in pressure between
them is due to the vertical gradient (windward and leeward
sides respectively).

Figure 1: Convectional Stack Ventilation Movement
Advantages
Potential benefits regarding natural ventilation and use of solar
chimney-collector include (Olayioye,2003):

Improved ventilation rates on still, hot
days
 Reduced reliance on wind and wind
driven ventilation
 Improved control of air flow though a
building envelopes
 Greater choice of air intake (i.e. leeward
side of building)
 Improved air quality especially in urban
areas
 Increased night time ventilation rates
Advantages contd.
 Allow ventilation of narrow, small spaces
with minimal exposure to external
elements
 Improved passive cooling during warm
season (mostly on still, hot days)
 Enhanced performance of thermal mass
(cooling, cool storage)
 Improved thermal comfort (improved air
flow control, reduced draughts)
 It requires no major maintenance once it
is installed.
Limitations of stack driven
ventilation

 Lower magnitude compared to wind
ventilation
 Relies on temperature differences
(inside/outside)
 Design restrictions (height, location of
apertures) and may incur extra costs
(ventilator stacks, taller spaces)
 The quality of air it introduces in
buildings may be polluted especially in
industrial areas
METHODOLOGY
Construction
Pyrex glass was used for the model
building wall with aluminium roofing sheet.
For the SCC, ply wood used as an
insulator, transparent glass, aluminium
metal sheet (coated black) and the pipe
(used as air outlet). Also used are
chloroform and araldite (as adhesive). See
Figure 2.
Properties of glass and aluminium also are
shown in Table 1. Figures 3a and 3b show
one-room building attached with SCC.
Figure 2 Solar collector
Table 1 Properties of plain glass and absorber

Specific heat Density Reflectivity Absorbtivity
Materials (Kj/KgoC) (Kg/m3)

Glass (Plain 1.1 2200 0.9 -
glass)

Aluminium 0.88 2.7 - 0.78
(absorber)

Source: Olayioye, (2003)
Solar
Chimney-
collector unit

Model room

Raft foundation

Digital multi-
meter

Figure 3a Chimney-collector attached to the room
Vent pipe

Solar chimney
collector unit

Model room

Foundation

Figure 3b Solar chimney attached with the building
Temperature Measurement
Digital multi-meters (Figure 4) were used to
measure the ambient, chimney chamber and
the rooms when windows were closed and
opened each for 5 weeks, between 10.00
Hrs to 15.00 Hrs each day. The average
results are shown respectively in Figure 5.

Figure 4 Digital multi-meter
45
40 Dry(Ambient) ̊ C
35
30 Dry(Room) ̊ C
25
Dry(Chimney
20 before) ̊ C
15 Dry(After) ̊ C
10
R.H%
5
0
windows windows
closed opened

Figure 5 Average values of the ambient, room and chimney
temperatures and the Relative Humidity (%) for the rooms’ closed
and opened windows
Reliability Analysis and Application
Constant failure rate (CFR) is employed
here for easy algebraic manipulation
(Adedeji 2008, Leitch 1988, Trochim 2006),
so that reliability of the components:

R = e-t/m (1)
where t = period of time, m = expected average
numbers of break down=2 assuming that all other
parts of the solar collector remain stable except
glass and fading of the black colour.
Average temperature intensity/week
(window closed only) is shown in Table 2.
Table 2 Average temperature /week (window
Average Energy (Q) closed)
Temperature Rate per week
Week temper- (W) intensity (Ri) (d)
ature (Tav) %
o
C
RT CT R C R C R C

1 32 37 92.93 98.56 51.1 20 0.63 1.86
2 33 40 118.27 76.03 61.0 18.5 0.54 2.16
3 32 34 185.86 25.34 55.9 13.2 0.57 2.57
4 34 41 123.90 38.11 36.7 10.2 0.92 3.9
5 32 36 98.56 74.62 37.0 12.0 0.86 3.00
RT, CT = Room and chimney temperatures respectively
The mean time to failure (MTTF) is the
average functioning (without a failure)
period for an item or average life cycle of
a number of items is,
MTTF = 1/d (2)
Where d = temperature intensity/week.
The lifetime failure probability Plife in the
objective function which is then
minimized as,
Clife.min = Ci (t) + Cf Plife (3)
Where Plife = 1 - Ø(R(t)) (4)
Ci, Cf = initial and life time (final) costs
resp.
Results of Analysis and Discussion
Cost analysis
 The cost of constructing a standard room size of 3.6m x
3.6m x 3.0m using pyrex glass for the wall and the solar
chimney-collector attached is about N 373,598.00
 Projecting the amount for the same room size for
sandcrete block walls attached with the solar chimney-
collector costs N2, 213,127.00. (June, 2009).

Reliability analysis
Results showed that: at the maximum MTTF of 0.303 and
the lifetime failure probability Plife = 0.288.
 for a closed window room, the average Reliability = 0.746,
 while the reliability of 0.711 was recorded for a room with
window opened.
At the reliability of 0.746 for Plife = 0.254, service
life of the Chimney-collector is estimated to be
50yrs
Conclusion
 From the measurement of the room
temperature, relative humidity levels in
the air changes drastically through the
heating and cooling process, which lead to
a wide variation of the relative humidity
levels indoors.
 The relative humidity range, 32-37%, in a
room complies with required by the
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA,2007) of 30–50%
 The solar chimney works well even when
the window is closed. The service age of
50years gives a reliability of 0.0.711 for
the chimney collector service life.
Contributors
 D D Olatubosun - Designer/Builder
 H. K Yusuf – GAs Application Analyst
 T A Owolabi – Reliability Analyst
BE IN PEACE
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