KeywordsConcentrating Solar Power (CSP)
Flow Mixing Evaluation
Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF)
Phase Change Material (PCM)
Thermal Energy Storage (TES)
Algae Culture Raceway
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe demand for clean and environmentally benign energy resources has been a great concern in the last two decades. To alleviate the associated environmental problems, reduction of the use of fossil fuels by developing more cost-effective renewable energy technologies becomes more and more significant. Among various types of renewable energy sources, solar energy and bioenergy take a great proportion. This dissertation focuses on the heat transfer and flow in solar energy and bioenergy systems, specifically for Thermal Energy Storage (TES) systems in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants and open-channel algal culture raceways for biofuel production. The first part of this dissertation is the discussion about mathematical modeling, numerical simulation and experimental investigation of solar TES system. First of all, in order to accurately and efficiently simulate the conjugate heat transfer between Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) and filler material in four different solid-fluid TES configurations, formulas of an eﬀective heat transfer coeﬃcient were theoretically developed and presented by extending the validity of Lumped Capacitance Method (LCM) to large Biot number, as well as verifications/validations to this simplified model. Secondly, to provide design guidelines for TES system in CSP plant using Phase Change Materials (PCM), a general storage tank volume sizing strategy and an energy storage startup strategy were proposed using the enthalpy-based 1D transient model. Then experimental investigations were conducted to explore a novel thermal storage material. The thermal storage performances were also compared between this novel storage material and concrete at a temperature range from 400 °C to 500 °C. It is recommended to apply this novel thermal storage material to replace concrete at high operating temperatures in sensible heat TES systems. The second part of this dissertation mainly focuses on the numerical and experimental study of an open-channel algae culture raceway for biofuel production. According to the proposed flow field design of ARID-HV algal raceway, experiments and numerical simulation have been conducted to understand the enhancement of flow mixing in the flow field of ARID-HV raceway by cutting slots on top of the dam near the dead zones. A new method was proposed to quantitatively evaluate the flow mixing by using the statistics of temporal and spatial distribution of the massless fluid particles (centered in each cell at the inlet surface) in the raceway collecting the data of path-lines of fluid particles from CFD results. It is hoped that this method can be applied to assist the algal raceway flow field design as well as other engineering applications. The third part introduces the details about the construction work of a high temperature molten salt test loop. Because of the limited operating temperature of conventional synthetic oils, in order to obtain higher energy conversion efficiency, higher operating temperature is always desirable in a CSP plant which leads to the requirement of new generation of HTF. Currently, a halide salt eutectic mixture (NaCl-KCl-ZnCl₂) as a potential HTF for future CSP applications has been proposed by a multi-institute research team, led by University of Arizona. The thermophysical properties of the halide eutectic salt have been measured. However, this new developed halide eutectic salt has not been tested in a circulating loop at a high operating temperature for the measurement of heat transfer coefficient. It is a significant effort to build such a test system due to extremely high operating temperature. As a consequence, in the third part of this dissertation, details about the design of the lab-scale test system and all the equipment items will be introduced. The investigations included in this dissertation for the heat transfer and flow in solar energy and bioenergy systems are of particular interest to the renewable energy engineering community. It is expected that the proposed methods can provide useful information for engineers and researchers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College