Research Papers

Conceptual Design and Analysis of Hydrocarbon-Based Solar Thermal Power and Ejector Cooling Systems in Hot Climates

[+] Author and Article Information
TieJun Zhang

Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
P. O. Box 54224,
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
e-mail: tjzhang@masdar.ac.ae

Saleh Mohamed

Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
P. O. Box 54224,
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: Including Wind Energy and Building Energy Conservation. Manuscript received August 23, 2013; final manuscript received August 14, 2014; published online September 10, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Werner Platzer.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 137(2), 021001 (Sep 10, 2014) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-13-1238; doi: 10.1115/1.4028365 History: Received August 23, 2013; Revised August 14, 2014

A combined thermal power and ejector refrigeration cooling cycle is proposed in this paper to harness low-grade solar energy. It explores the possibility of utilizing abundant and low-cost hydrocarbon as the working fluid. Hydrocarbon fluid has been identified as a promising alternative to existing high global-warming-potential (GWP) refrigerants (i.e., HFCs) in next-generation cooling and organic thermal power systems. Several typical alternative refrigerants are evaluated by considering their fundamental thermophysical properties: absolute pressure level, volumetric cooling capacity, surface tension, saturated liquid/vapor density ratio, and kinematic viscosity. Comparing with R1234yf, R1234ze, and R744 (CO2), hydrocarbon refrigerants, such as R290 (propane) and R601 (pentane), do have inherent advantages for either cooling or power generation purposes in hot climates. Fundamental phase stability and transition issues have been considered in designing hydrocarbon ejectors for combined power and cooling cycles operating at high ambient temperature. Thermodynamic energy and exergy analysis has indicated that the proposed stand-alone solar thermal system offers an effective way to sustainable energy production in hot and dry climates.

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Fig. 1

Schematic diagram of the proposed solar thermal power and ejector cooling cycle

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Fig. 2

Pressure level of different refrigerants

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Fig. 3

Volumetric cooling capacity of different refrigerants

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Fig. 4

Surface tension of different refrigerants

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Fig. 5

Saturated liquid/vapor density ratio of different refrigerants

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Fig. 6

Kinematic viscosity of different refrigerants (saturated vapor)

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Fig. 7

Saturated vapor temperature-specific entropy lines of different refrigerants (R134a, 1234yf, R1234ze, propane, isobutane, butane, pentane, and CO2): ambient temperature 40 °C

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Fig. 8

Pressure-specific volume spinodal lines and metastable regions of Pentane (symbols: ejector motive flow P–v diagram)

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Fig. 9

Schematic diagram of a refrigerant ejector

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Fig. 10

Axial pressure/temperature/velocity distributions inside a vapor ejector

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Fig. 11

Nonlinear characteristics of motive flow nozzle inside a vapor ejector (Eq. (A6))

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Fig. 12

Pressure-enthalpy diagram of the proposed solar thermal power and ejector cooling cycle

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Fig. 14

Prediction with the proposed ejector model (experimental data from Ref. [9])

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Fig. 13

Temperature-entropy diagram of the proposed solar thermal power and ejector cooling cycle

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Fig. 15

Simulation flow chart of a vapor ejector model




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