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Research Papers

Thermal Modeling and Life Prediction of Water-Cooled Hybrid Concentrating Photovoltaic/Thermal Collectors

[+] Author and Article Information
Xinqiang Xu

e-mail: xxu2@binghamton.edu

Mark M. Meyers

e-mail: meyersm@reserach.ge.com
Applied Optics Lab,
GE Global Research,
Niskayuna, NY 12309

Bahgat G. Sammakia

e-mail: bahgat@binghamton.edu
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Binghamton University-SUNY,
Binghamton, NY 13902

Bruce T. Murray

e-mail: bmurray@binghamton.edu
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Binghamton University-SUNY,
Binghamton, NY 13902

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY. Manuscript received October 7, 2011; final manuscript received May 17, 2012; published online August 9, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Santiago Silvestre.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(1), 011010 (Aug 09, 2012) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-11-1211; doi: 10.1115/1.4006965 History: Received October 07, 2011; Revised May 17, 2012

In this paper, a multiphysics, finite element computational model for a hybrid concentrating photovoltaic/thermal (CPV/T) water collector is developed. The collector consists of a solar concentrator, 18 single junction germanium cells connected in series, and a water channel cooling system with heat-recovery capability. The electrical characteristics of the entire module are obtained from an equivalent electrical model for a single solar cell. A detailed thermal and electrical model is developed to calculate the thermal and electrical characteristics of the collector at different water flow rates. These characteristics include the system temperature distribution, outlet water temperature and the thermal and electrical efficiencies. The model is used to study the effect of flow rate on the efficiencies. It is found that both efficiencies improve as the flow rate increases up to a point (0.03 m/s), and after that point remain at relatively constant levels. However, as the flow rate increases the outlet water temperature decreases, reducing the quality of the extracted thermal energy. In addition to the thermal and electrical modeling, finite element analysis is used to estimate the fatigue life of the module based on the different temperature profiles obtained from the thermal model at flow rates of 0.01 m/s and 0.03 m/s. Results show that for the higher flow rate, the outlet water temperature decreases, but the fatigue life improves. Based on the fatigue life model predictions, it is shown that the thickness of die attach layer must be increased for high outlet temperature applications of the hybrid CPV/T collector.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) Schematic of the CPV/T system; (b) longitudinal cells displacement in the system

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Fig. 2

Circuit diagram of a PV cell

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Fig. 3

Fitted I–V curve of a spectrolab GaAs solar cell compared with manufacturer's data at reference conditions (Go = 1353 W/m2, To = 28 °C)

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Fig. 4

Calculated electrical efficiency as a function of solar cell temperature at different irradiance conditions

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Fig. 5

Calculated results of a single cell at different temperature

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Fig. 6

Mesh independent study

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Fig. 7

Calculated cells' average temperature as a function of fluid velocity

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Fig. 8

Calculated cells' maximum power as a function of fluid velocity

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Fig. 9

Influence of flow rate on efficiencies and water outlet average temperature

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Fig. 10

Schematic service life temperature profiles for two selected cooling conditions

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Fig. 11

Plot of the fifth cycle hysteresis loops of the solder for two thermal profiles

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Fig. 12

Life versus maximum temperature for solder layer with 0.2 mm thickness

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Fig. 13

Solder layer thickness versus cyclic life for three thermal loading profile (the horizontal dot line represents the 20-year-life requirement 7300 cycles)

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