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OPERATION MODEL FOR A SIMPLE SOLAR THERMAL INSTALLATION

Buletinul AGIR nr. 2-3/2010 aprilie-septembrie


93
OPERATION MODEL FOR A SIMPLE
SOLAR THERMAL INSTALLATION
Dr. fiz. Ioan LUMINOSU
Universitatea Politehnica din Timioara

Este cadru didactic la Universitatea Politehnica din Timioara cu ore de predare la Facultatea de
Calculatoare i Automatic. Domeniile de interes sunt energetica solar i nanomaterialele cu aplicaii la
ferofluide. A obinut rezultate proprii relativ la climatizarea locuinelor, producerea aerului cald tehnologic,
uscarea produselor ceramice, fluidizarea bitumului, simularea numeric a unor procese fizice, optimizarea
colectorilor solari cu ajutorul analizei exergetice, proprieti optice ale ferofluidelor cu aplicaii n energetica
solar, actinometrie. A publicat numeroase articole tiinifice n reviste internaionale ca Energy (Elsevier),
Exergy (Elsevier), Thermal Science i n reviste din ar ca Romanian Reports of Physics sau Buletinul tiinific
al Universitii Politehnica din Timioara. A publicat n mai multe manuale i o monografie. Desfoar
activitate de cercetare-dezvoltare n cadrul unor granturi coordonate de AMCSITT Politehnica i CNCSIS

Prof. dr. ing. Coleta De SABATA
Universitatea Politehnica din Timioara

Absolvent a Facultii de Electrotehnic de la Institutul Politehnic din Timioara (1957). Titlul de doctor n
tiine tehnice obinut n 1966 la Institutul Politehnic din Iai. ncadrat la IPT din anul 1957, a predat Fizic
pn n 1990, i pn n prezent pred Energetic nuclear n calitate de profesor consultant. Domenii de
interes n cercetarea tiinific: elaborarea i studiul magnetismului peliculelor feromagnetice electrolitice
pure i aliate, acoperiri galvanice de mare rezisten, magnei permaneni, sticle magnetice, ferite (48 de
lucrri publicate ); cercetri teoretice i experimentale cu privire la conversia energiei solare, cu aplicaii n special n domeniul
industrial (37 lucrri publicate). A publicat (singur sau n colaborare) 7 cursuri, 2 culegeri de probleme, 4 ndrumtoare de
laborator, a brevetat 7 invenii la OSIM, a participat la 16 congrese internaionale i 4 congrese internaionale din Romnia. A
condus n calitate de director 52 de contracte de cercetare tiinific, 4 contracte cu caracter secret, i a participat la alte
6 contracte. A condus doctorat din 1987, n Fizic tehnic, pn la dispariia specializrii. A publicat mai multe monografii.
Afilieri: Societatea European de Fizic, Asociaia oamenilor de tiin, Uniunea Scriitorilor din Romnia.

Prof. dr. ing. Aldo De SABATA
Universitatea Politehnica din Timioara

Absolvent al Facultii de Electrotehnic, Institutul Politehnic Timioara (1985), secia Electronic
aplicat. Doctor inginer n Electronic, Institutul Politehnic Bucureti (1993). Stagii i burse n Frana,
Spania, Grecia, Italia i Germania. Profesor universitar la Facultatea de Electronic i Telecomunicaii din
2002. Domenii de interes tiinific: teoria informaiei, microunde i electromagnetism, energie solar.
Publicaii: dou monografii, un manual universitar, trei cursuri universitare, un ndrumtor de lucrri de
laborator, o culegere de probleme, 70 de lucrri tiinifice n ar i n strintate (i 9 comunicate).
Director sau colaborator la granturi i contracte de cercetare naionale sau internaionale. Secretar tiinific
al Consiliului Facultii de Electronic i Telecomunicaii (2000-2008). Membru IEEE, ACER, Asociaia
Inginerilor Electroniti din Timioara. Expert RENAR.

REZUMAT. Se propune un model simplu de funcionare a unei instalaii solare termice i se implementeaz ca program pe
calculator. Modelul se bazeaz pe utilizarea datelor privind radiaia solar n funcie de timp i spaiu i pe ecuaiile de funcionare a
dispozitivelor n regim staionar. Scopul acestui studiu este de a demonstra eficiena aplicaiilor termosolare n partea de vest a
Romniei i de a ncuraja poteniali utilizatori casnici de energie solar.

Cuvinte cheie: termosolar, boiler, albedo, azimut, declinaie, iradiere.

ABSTRACT. A simple model for the operation of a solar thermal installation is proposed and implemented as a computer program.
The model is based on solar radiation data for a given geographical location and on equations describing the devices in stationary
CALITATE I SECURITATE AMBIENTAL
Buletinul AGIR nr. 2-3/2010 aprilie-septembrie
94
state. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the efficiency of solar thermal applications in the Western part of Romania and to
encourage potential users of domestic applications of solar energy.

Key words: thermal, solar, boiler, albedo, azimuth, declination, irradiation.

1. INTRODUCTION
Thermal applications of solar energy are developing
fast. For example, the increase from 2004 to 2005 has
been of 24%, such that the total surface of thermal solar
collectors reached as much as 164 million m
2
at the end
of 2004. In 2007, the capacity of thermal solar instal-
lations in the world has been of 88 GW, 17.3% higher
than in the preceding year.
Solar energy is free and available in large quantities,
but it has a random and diffuse character. In order to
alleviate these drawbacks, thermal solar chains contain a
segment destinated for accumulation and storage of the
thermal energy provided by the solar collector. Heat is
accumulated in materials with high thermal capacity at
moderate thermal levels. Most frequently used are water
and rock. Heat is stored in solar boilers equiped with high
quality insulation materials. For domestic use, generally
water is preferred for heat storage. In this case, the thermal
system contains the solar collector, pipes for heat transpor-
tation, the warm water storage boiler, pumps and splitter.
Theoretical and experimental research have been de-
veloped at the "Politehnica" University of Timioara in
the fields of actinometry and solar technique that used also
computer simulations [1..6]. Such simulations are fre-
quently used for optimum design of solar systems [7, 8].
In this paper, the conception of a simple and trans-
parent computer model, devised for the study of a solar,
thermal installation in simulated (quasi-real) conditions
is reviewed [8] and simulation results are presented. The
installation is composed in principle of a thermal
collector and a boiler for warm water accumulation. The
purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of thermal, solar
installations in the western part of Romania, to propose a
simple program for users that might be useful also for
education in the field of solar energy.
The basic diagram of the installation is presented in
Fig. 1. The elements are: 1 thermal collector for solar
radiation and conversion to thermal energy; 2 pipes for
the circulating thermal agent; 3 heat exchanger having
a thermal conductive cladding (EX); 4 thermal accu-
mulator with insulating cladding (ST); 5 thermal agent
that circulates thermal energy from the collector to the
thermal accumulator; 6 liquid for thermal storage.
2. ANALYTICAL MODEL
The computer simulation program calculates the
average solar irradiation of the storage system and the
response of the system. For irradiance calculation, a
combination of existing information from the literature
and data obtained in our laboratories is used.
The angle under which solar radiation is incident in
a given day at a certain hour on a surface making an
angle s with the horizontal and whose normal has an
azimuth angle with respect to the southern direction
(positive towards West) can be calculated by means of
well known formulae (see e.g. [10]). The intensity of
solar radiation deviates from the solar constant S =
1353 W/m
2
[10] in accordance to the variation of the
Earth Sun distance. The angle between the direction
of the Sun and the horizontal plane is the solar altitude,
, and its complement is the zenith angle
Z
. These
angles can be computed from local geographical and
time data.


(1)
(2)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(5)
(6)
(5)


Fig. 1. Diagram of the thermal solar installation.

The global solar radiation G = B+D+A is split in
[11]: direct radiation B, diffuse radiation D and albedo
A. The components of the irradiation on an inclined
surface G
S
= B
S
+D
S
+A
S
can be calculated from the
above mentioned ones and geometrical parameters that
define the position of the surface. The quantities G and
G
S
vary with season, month, day and hour.
Temperature varies along pipes that transport heat,
along the lengths of the solar collector and of the heat
exchanger. We consider the thermal field in the warm
water accumulator to be uniform. We use the following
notations (Fig. 1): T
in,T
temperature at the input of the
solar collector; T
out,T
temperature at the output of the
solar collector; T
in,EX
temperature at the input of the
heat exchanger; T
out,EX
temperature at the output of the
heat exchanger. By neglecting losses along pipes, we
have: T
out,T
= T
in,EX
and T
out,EX
= T
in,T
. We denote by T
ST

the temperature in the warm water accumulator, and by
T
ST
its value at the initial moment. Energy propagates
OPERATION MODEL FOR A SIMPLE SOLAR THERMAL INSTALLATION
Buletinul AGIR nr. 2-3/2010 aprilie-septembrie
95
through the walls of the heat exchanger from the
working agent to the liquid to be heated and, at time t,
the temperature in the accumulator becomes T
ST
. We
denote by T
A
the ambient temperature. All temperatures
in the formulae below are measured in [K].
The temperature of the working agent at the output
of the solar collector T
out,T
, is [10]

'
,
,
( )
( )
T C ef
P
S
out T A
T
U S F
mc S
in T A
T
G
T T
U
G
T T e
U

to
= + +
| | to
+
|
\ .

(1)
The quantities in (1) and their values for the
considered installation are: the equivalent product ab-
sorbance transmission for the black plate window
system () = 0.83; heat loss coefficient at the collector,
U
T
= 6.62 Wm
2
K
1
; collector efficiency factor F
ef
= 0.92;
specific heat of the working fluid,
' 1 1
4185J kg K ;
P
c

=
mass flow rate of the working fluid:
.
d / d m m t = =
-3 1
6.9 10 kg s

= ; surface of the collecting area S


C
=
= 6 m
2
; t time.
The temperature in the accumulator at time t is [12]

( )
" '
, ,
B t
ST in EX in EX ST
T T T T e

= . (2)
The quantity B [s
1
] in (2) is calculated with
'
"
/
1
C ST P
P
dm dt c
B e
M c
q


( =

, where: M = 200 kg is the


mass of the working fluid; the specific heat of the water
to be heated has an equivalent value in between the
specific heat of the water and the specific heat of the
metal tubes from the tank
" -1 -1
4170J kg K ;
P
c = the
efficiency of the thermal accumulator
ST
= 0.90. The
dimensionless quantity C is given by
'
d / d
EX EX ST
AC P
S U
C
m t c q

=

,
where: the thermal exchange surface for the heat ex-
changer S
EX
= 0.63 m
2
; the thermal exchange coefficient
for the heat exchanger:
U
EXAC
= 1136 W m
2
K
1
.
The temperature of the working agent at time t at the
output of the heat exchanger is [12]

( )
" "
, ,
C
out EX ST in EX ST
T T T T e

= + (3)
Then, the process is repeated by taking
, ,
.
out EX in T
T T =
The efficiency of the thermal collector is [9]:

( )
'
, ,
/
P out T in T
T
S
dm dt c T T
G A
q

= (4)
and the efficiency of the installation is given by

( )
" " '

P ST ST
inst
S C
M c T T
G A t

= . (5)
In [1], the following empirical linear equations are
proposed for the estimation of the ambient temperature
[
o
C] in the interval h = 06 ..15 h for the months of
interest:

( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
( )
1.4 1.2 6 ,
7.7 1.3 6 ,
13.0 1.4 6
17.7 1.1 6 ,
17.8 1.1 6 ,
17.3 1.4 6
14.1 1.3 6 ,
8.7 1.2 6
Mar
Apr
Mai
Iun
Iul
Aug
Sep
Oct
h
h
h
h
h
h
h
h
u
u
u
u
u
u
u
u
= +
= +
= +
= +
= +
= +
= +
= +
(6)
The computer program that simulates the installation
in Fig. 1 has been written in Matlab
TM
. The heating is
supposed to begin at 8 a.m., when all elements of the
system are at the ambient temperature. Solar irradiation
and ambient temperature are calculated as mentioned
above, while time and geographical data are input by
the user. A time step, is also specified. During this time
step, the irradiation, the temperature of the working
fluid and the temperature of the storing mass are sup-
posed constant.


Fig. 3. Temperature of the fluid at the heat exchanger output.

The temperature at the collector output is calculated
with (1); the temperature in the accumulator is calcula-
CALITATE I SECURITATE AMBIENTAL
Buletinul AGIR nr. 2-3/2010 aprilie-septembrie
96
ted with (2) and, initially, we take
'
ST A
T T = ; then, the
quantity
'
ST
T is set to the previous value of
"
ST
T ; the
water temperature at the heat exchanger output is cal-
culated with (3) by taking
, ,
.
in EX out T
T T = The procedure
is iterated until the temperature in the accumulator
approaches 353 K (80
o
C). The collector and
installation efficiencies are calculated, from one step to
the next, with (4) and (5) respectively.
The hourly evolutions of the quantities T
out,T
, T
out,EX
,
" '
,
ST ST
T T ,
inst
and
T
are calculated and plotted.
3. RESULTS
Results of simulations for June 15, July 15, August 15
and September 15 are presented in Figs. 2..5. A time
step of 30 min has been used.

Fig. 2. Temperature of water in the tank.

The temperature of the heat stocking water increases
almost linearly until 2 p.m. and then flattens to a value
of approximately 70
o
C in June and 50
o
C in September,
Fig. 2., while the temperature at the output of the heat
exchanger increases, Fig. 3. This evolution leads to a
decrease of the collector efficiency, Fig. 4, and installation
efficiency, Fig. 5. It can be seen in Fig. 4 that the
efficiency of the collector decreases almost linearly
between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then the slope increases
together with the increase in temperature. The overall
efficiency is lower than the collector efficiency and it
has a similar evolution. The efficiencies do not vary
very much with the month of the year, which denotes a
good behavior of the installation. However, the dif-
ference between the temperatures reached at 15 h in
June and September is of approximately 20
o
C.

Fig. 4. Collector efficiency.

Fig. 5. Efficiency of the installation.
4. CONCLUSIONS
A simple and transparent computer program that
simulates the working conditions of a boiler heated by
solar energy has been written. The program provides
the time variation of the temperature of the storage
agent as well as other system parameters such as the
efficiency of the istallation with a time step that can be
introduced by the user. The user can also input the date,
the geograpical position and the orientation of the
collecting surface.
The program may be used for demonstrating the ef-
ficiency of solar installation and for education purposes,
as physical quantities at various points of the thermal
chain may be computed, plotted and correlated. It can
be easily modified to acount for the consumption of
warm water by the user.
OPERATION MODEL FOR A SIMPLE SOLAR THERMAL INSTALLATION
Buletinul AGIR nr. 2-3/2010 aprilie-septembrie
97
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