The sun is the largest source of renewable energy and this energy is abundantly available in all parts of the earth. It is in fact one of the best alternatives to the non-renewable sources of nonenergy [1]. [1]. Solar energy has been used since prehistoric times, but in a most primitive manner. Before 1970, some research and development was carried out in a few countries to exploit solar energy more efficiently, but most of this work remained mainly academic [2].

After the dramatic rise in oil prices in the 1970s, several countries began to formulate extensive research and development programmes to exploit solar energy [2]. One way to tap solar energy is through the use of solar ponds. Solar ponds are large-scale energy largecollectors with integral heat storage for supplying thermal energy. It can be use for various applications, such as process heating, water desalination, refrigeration, drying and power generation [1]

The colder water. WHAT A SOLAR POND IS A solar pond is a body of water that collects and stores solar energy. Solar energy will warm a body of water (that is exposed to the sun). They can operate in almost any climate [3]. but the water loses its heat unless some method is used to trap it. taking heat with it. creating a natural convective circulation that mixes the water and dissipates the heat. . moves down to replace the warm water. Water warmed by the sun expands and rises as it becomes less dense. the water loses its heat to the airthrough convection. which is heavier. or evaporates.2. The design of solar ponds reduces either convection or evaporation in order to store the heat collected by the pond. Once it reaches the surface.

Solar heat is thus stored in the lower layer of the pond [4]. which contains concentrated salt solution. The temperature in this layer rises since the heat it absorbs from the sunlight is unable to move upwards to the surface by convection. Solar radiation entering the pond penetrates through to the lower layer. .A solar pond can store solar heat much more efficiently than a body of water of the same size because the salinity gradient prevents convection currents.

1 WORKING PRINCIPLE The solar pond works on a very simple principle. The net result is that the pond water remains at the atmospheric temperature. The solar pond restricts this tendency by dissolving salt in the bottom layer of the pond making it too heavy to rise [1]. Similarly. in an ordinary pond. It is well-known that water or air is heated they wellbecome lighter and rise upward.2. You can see a shematic view of a solar pond in Figure 1. the sun s rays heat the water and the heated water from within the pond rises and reaches the top but loses the heat into the atmosphere. .

.Fig. 1 Shematic View Of A Solar Pond [5].

A solar pond is an artificially constructed water pond in which significant temperature rises are caused in the lower regions by preventing the occurrence of convection currents. . The more specific terms salt-gradient solar pond or nonsaltnonconvecting solar pond are also used. The solar pond. which is actually a large area solar collector is a simple technology that uses water.a pond waterbetween one to four metres deep as a working material for three main functions [6].

.Collection of radiant energy and its conversion into heat (upto 95° C) 95° Storage of heat Transport of thermal energy out of the system[6].

This dark surface at the bottom of the pond increases the absorption of solar radiation. sodium chloride or sodium nitrate are dissolved in the water.The solar pond possesses a thermal storage capacity spanning the seasons. The surface area of the pond affects the amount of solar energy it can collect. . a salt gradient solar pond consists of three zones [6]. Salts like magnesium chloride. Typically. the concentration being densest at the bottom (20% to 30%) and gradually decreasing to almost zero at the top. The bottom of the pond is generally lined with a durable plastic liner made from material such as black polythene and hypalon reinforced with nylon mesh.

Salt concentration and temperature increase with depth. salt concentration and temperatures are nearly constant in this zone [6]. Almost as thick as the middle non-convective nonzone. A gradient which serves as the non-convective nonzone which is much thicker and occupies more than half the depth of the pond. .An upper convective zone of clear fresh water that acts as solar collector/receiver and which is relatively the most shallow in depth and is generally close to ambient temperature. serving as the heat storage zone. A lower convective zone with the densest salt concentration.

If the pond contained no salt. The denser salt water at the bottom prevents the heat being transferred to the top layer of fresh water by natural convection. But the salt density difference keeps the layers of the solar pond separate. 95° . the bottom layer would be less dense than the top layer as the heated water expands. most of it is absorbed by the surface at the bottom of the pond. The less dense layer would then rise up and the layers would mix. The temperature of the dense salt layer therefore increases. due to which the temperature of the lower layer may rise to as much as 95°C [6].When solar radiation strikes the pond.

and convecting ponds. TYPES OF SOLAR PONDS There are two main categories of solar ponds: nonconvecting ponds. which reduce heat loss by preventing convection from occurring within the pond. .3. which reduce heat loss by hindering evaporation with a cover over the surface of the pond [2].

3. and two types of glazing (sheets of plastic or glass) on top. The bag has a blackened bottom. The sun heats the water in the bag during the day. . Excessive heat loss when pumping the hot water to the storage tank has limited the development of shallow solar ponds [3]. At night the hot water is pumped into a large heat storage tank to minimize heat loss.1 CONVECTING SOLAR PONDS A well-researched example of a convecting pond wellis the shallow solar pond. has foam insulation below. This pond consists of pure water enclosed in a large bag that allows convection but hinders evaporation.

. This convecting pond differs from shallow solar ponds only in that the water need not be pumped in and out of storage. placing insulation on top of the glazing reduces heat loss [3]. saltless pond. Double-glazing covers Doubledeep saltless ponds. At night.Another type of convecting pond is the deep. or when solar energy is not available.

The salts commonly used are sodium chloride and magnesium chloride.3. The dark lining enhances absorption of the sun's radiation and prevents the salt from contaminating the surrounding soil and groundwater [3]. A dark-colored material darkusually butyl rubber lines the pond. A salt gradient pond has three distinct layers of brine (a mixture of salt and water) of varying concentrations.2 NONCONVECTING SOLAR PONDS There are two main types of nonconvecting ponds: salt gradient ponds and membrane ponds. the most concentrated layer forms at the bottom. The least concentrated layer is at the surface. Because the density of the brine increases with salt concentration. .

.3° store some heat. As a result. the bottom layer remains denser than the upper layers.3°C. thus inhibiting convection. Another method of heat removal is to extract heat with a heat transfer fluid as it is pumped through a heat exchanger placed on the bottom of the pond [3]. the bottom layer stores the most. the water near the bottom of the pond becomes warm up to 93. Even when it becomes warm.As sunlight enters the pond. Although all of the layers 93. Pumping the brine through an external heat exchanger or an evaporator removes the heat from this bottom layer. the water and the lining absorb the solar radiation.

.Another type of nonconvecting pond. In figure 2 you can see an example of salt gradient solar pond. As with salt gradient ponds. heat is removed from the bottom layer [2]. inhibits convection by physically separating the layers with thin transparent membranes. the membrane pond.

. 2 Salt Gradient Solar Pond [7].Fig.

4. for example. to preheat feed water to boilers) Fruit and vegetable canning industry Fruit and vegetable drying (for example. APPLICATIONS Salt production (for enhanced evaporation or purification of salt. vine fruit drying) Grain industry (for grain drying) Water supply (for desalination) [4]. fish or brine shrimp) Dairy industry (for example. that is production of vacuum quality salt) Aquaculture. using saline or fresh water (to grow. .

such as textile processing and dairy industries. Process heat Studies have indicated that there is excellent scope for process heat applications (i.e. fish and chemicals and space heating are other possible applications [6].). Hot air for industrial uses such as drying agricultural produce. water heated to 80 to 90° C. . timber. when a large quantity of 90° hot water is required.

5paise per litre. which compares favourably with the current costs incurred in the reverse osmosis or electrodialysis/desalination process [6]. Desalination Drinking water is a chronic problem for many villages in India. solar ponds can provide a costcost-effective solution to the potable drinking water problem. . In remote coastal villages where seawater is available. Desalination costs in these places work out to be 7.

 Refrigeration Refrigeration applications have a tremendous scope in a tropical country like India. Perishable products like agricultural produce and life saving drugs like vaccines can be preserved for long stretches of time in cold storage using solar pond technology in conjunction with ammonia based absorption refrigeration system [6]. .


In figure 3 you can see the Bhuj solar pond. .1 BHUJ SOLAR POND The 6000-square-metre solar pond in Bhuj. supplied totally about 15 million litres of hot water to the dairy at an average temperature of 75°C between 75° September 1993 and April 1995 [8]. the 6000-squarefirst large-scale pond in industrial environment to largecater to actual user demand.5.

.Fig. 3 The Bhuj Solar Pond [1].

constructed by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI). today lies in disuse for want of financial support and government policy to help this eco-friendly ecotechnology grow [9]. the Bhuj solar pond. sadly. which successfully demonstrated the use of a solar pond to supply heat to an actual industrial user. But. .It was the first experiment in India.

5 m. to demonstrate the feasibility of using a salt gradient pond for industrial heating [9].The Bhuj solar pond was conceived as a research and development project of TERI. The pond was then filled with water and 4000 tonnes of common salt was dissolved in it to make dense brine [1]. . The solar pond is 100 m long and 60 m wide and has a depth of 3. which took over nine years to establish.

. development. electricity. and fresh water can be produced in the southwestern United States using solar pond technology [10]. It has operated since May 1986 and has successfully shown that process heat. You can see the picture of El Paso Solar Pond in figure 4.2 EL PASO SOLAR POND The El Paso Solar Pond project is a research. and demonstration project initiated by the University of Texas at El Paso in 1983.5.

. 4 El Paso Solar Pond [10].Fig.

a canning plant in northeast El Paso.The El Paso Solar Pond project began when the University of Texas at El Paso discovered an existing pond which has a 3350 square meter area and 3 meter depth located at Bruce Foods. In figure 5 you can see another view of El Paso Solar Pond. Texas [10]. .

.Fig. 5 Closer View of El Paso Solar Pond [10].

performing tasks ranging from construction to applied research. problem solving. numerous students have done projects related to the pond. . lab techniques. instrumentation. gaining valuable experience in equipment design and construction. and documentation [10].Over 90 graduate and undergraduate students have been involved in the project. In addition.

In addition.The solar pond provides a unique opportunity to do research in such areas as double diffusive convection. and computer modeling. heat exchanger [10]. system studies. wind/wave interaction. flow in stratified fluids. . cost analysis. the state of the art equipment on site provides an excellent opportunity for energy efficiency studies.

3 PYRAMID HILL SOLAR POND A consortium of RMIT University. . In Figure 6 you can see the picture of this solar pond. Geo-Eng GeoAustralia Pty Ltd and Pyramid Salt Pty Ltd has completed a project using a 3000 square metre solar pond located at the Pyramid Hill salt works in northern Victoria to capture and store solar energy using pond water which can reach up to 80° 80°C [11].5.

.Fig. 6 The Pyramid Hill Solar Pond [12].

It is planned in a subsequent stage of the project to generate electricity using the heat stored in the solar pond. . specifically producing brine shrimps for stock feed. thus making this local industry more energy self-sufficient.Pyramid Salt will use the pond's heat not only in its commercial salt production but also for aquaculture. selfAt the local level this will be a significant boost in an area with high unemployment and a depressed economy [12].

6. fuel oils. and nuclear energy has some unsolved environmental and safety problems. COST OF SOLAR PONDS As technology develops. hydraulic energy. The first three of these energy sources have limited life times. Hydraulic energy is an insufficient energy source. These energy sources have some disadvantages. the researchers have condensed their studies on new alternative energy sources known as renewable energy sources [13]. This energy need is provided from different energy sources known as traditional energy sources. geothermal energy. Therefore. such as coal. . and nuclear energy. the energy needs of communities increases.

These are biomass. And in figure 8 the annual maintenance and fuel expenses and. In figure 7 you can see a table which is comparing initial costs of different water heating systems. and solar energy. the sum of these expenses for different water heating systems (1991 prices) [14]. biogas. Solar energy among these energy sources is the most abundant and considerable research is being carried out in this area. wind energy. hydrogen energy. . wave energy.

Fig. 7 The Initial Costs of Several Water Heating Systems(1991 prices). .

8 Annual Maintenance And Fuel Expenses And The Sum Of These Expenses For Different Water Heating Systems (1991 Prices).Fig. .

Salinity gradient solar ponds. the actual cost of utilizing SGSPs may be lower than reported when other factors are taken into account. or tax breaks that may be developed for facilities that use renewable fuels [11]. such as savings incurred by bypassing the waste disposal permitting process. . although not dramatically cheaper than other disposal methods. Moreover. the environmental savings associated with using a renewable fuel. may still be a viable option especially in circumstances where the unit cost of power is very high or where access to a power grid is limited.

Diffuse radiation (cloudy days) is fully used. Very large surfaces can be built thus large scale energy generation is possible.7. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES Low investment costs per installed collection area. . Thermal storage is incorporated into the collector and is of very low cost. Expensive cleaning of large collector surfaces in dusty areas is avoided [15].

flat land. and because of the current availability of cheap fossil fuels. . solar pond development has been limited [3]. For these reasons. An example is preventing soil contamination from the brine in a solar pond.Solar ponds can only be economically constructed if there is an abundance of inexpensive salt. and easy access to water. Environmental factors are also important.

8. source. water desalination. production of magnesium chloride. refrigeration. enhancement of salt yield in salt farms. It will be the future energy farms. Solar ponds can be used energy. . bromine recovery from bittern. CONCLUSION Solar ponds can be effectively used as replacements in industries that use fossil fuel to generate thermal energy. for process heating.

htm 2.http://edugreen.REFERENCES 1. nisation%2FFaculties%2FEngineering%2FSchool 4.eere. tsheets/aa8.res.teri.%20M echanical%20and%20Manufacturing%20Engine ering%2FResearch%20and%20Development%2 FSolar%20Pond/ .

5.http://www.utep.ocean. 98/Students/Neil/ 00814/fco13049.[http://www.htm ponds.washington.html#2 6.http://mhatwar.html 7.html .poemsinc.

http://wrri.htm .http://www.11.ece.nmsu.greenhouse.pdf 14.teriin.utep.http://journals.html ond/ fiz-98-22-6/fiz-22fiz-98-22-6/ cp/solar/ 13.

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