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[en] In this paper three problems in solar energy and solar power producing systems are reviewed, in which applying the formalism of nonequilibrium thermodynamics has resulted in practical design progress and improved physical insight: Modeling natural convection as an irreversible thermodynamic heat engine for the specific example of the Earth's winds; Optimizing solar-driven heat engines for conventional power generation; and examining the impact of the specifically radiative functional form of heat transfer inherent to solar energy on the performance of heat engines operating at maximum power
[en] Highlights: • Thermal engine with a double-tube structure is developed for underwater glider. • Isostatic pressing technology is effective to increase volumetric change rate. • Actual volumetric change rate reaches 89.2% of the theoretical value. • Long term sailing of 677 km and 27 days is achieved by thermal underwater glider. - Graphical Abstract: - Abstract: Underwater glider is one of the most popular platforms for long term ocean observation. Underwater glider driven by ocean thermal energy extends the duration and range of underwater glider powered by battery. Thermal engine is the core device of underwater glider to harvest ocean thermal energy. In this paper, (1) model of thermal engine was raised by thermodynamics method and the performance of thermal engine was investigated, (2) thermal engine with a double-tube structure was developed and isostatic pressing technology was applied to improve the performance for buoyancy driven, referencing powder pressing theory, (3) wall thickness of thermal engine was optimized to reduce the overall weight of thermal engine, (4) material selection and dimension determination were discussed for a faster heat transfer design, by thermal resistance analysis, (5) laboratory test and long term sea trail were carried out to test the performance of thermal engine. The study shows that volumetric change rate is the most important indicator to evaluating buoyancy-driven performance of a thermal engine, isostatic pressing technology is effective to improve volumetric change rate, actual volumetric change rate can reach 89.2% of the theoretical value and the average power is about 124 W in a typical diving profile. Thermal engine developed by Tianjin University is a superior thermal energy conversion device for underwater glider. Additionally, application of thermal engine provides a new solution for miniaturization of ocean thermal energy conversion.
[en] In any solar thermal application, such as solar space heating, solar hot water for domestic or industrial use, concentrating solar power, or solar air conditioning, a solar receiver converts incident sunlight into heat. In order to be efficient, the receiver must ideally absorb the entire solar spectrum while losing relatively little heat. Currently, state-of-the-art receivers utilize a vacuum gap above an absorbing surface to minimize the convection losses, and selective surfaces to reduce radiative losses. Here we investigate a receiver design that utilizes aerogels to suppress radiation losses, boosting the efficiency of solar thermal conversion. We predict that receivers using aerogels could be more efficient than vacuum-gap receivers over a wide range of operating temperatures and optical concentrations. Aerogel-based receivers also make possible new geometries that cannot be achieved with vacuum-gap receivers.
[en] Highlights: • A novel solar driven multi-stage bubble column humidifier is developed and tested. • Single stage, two stage, and three stage configuration were tested. • Average day round absolute humidity is increased by 9% for 2 stage configuration. • Average day round absolute humidity is increased by 23% for 3 stage configuration. • Air absolute humidity increases up to 26% with the integration of Fresnel lens. - Abstract: In this study, a novel solar heated multi-stage bubble column humidifier is designed and tested. The overall objective of this work is to investigate the main operating parameters of the new humidifier. The study addresses the significance of the perforated plate geometric features, optimum balance of air superficial velocity and water column height, and the influence of inlet water temperature and inlet air relative humidity on the performance of the humidifier. The day round performance of the humidifier is investigated in single stage, two stage, and three stage configuration, in which each configuration was tested with and without the integration of the Fresnel lens. Findings show that the average day round absolute humidity, without Fresnel lens, increased up to 9% for the two stage configuration and 23% for the three stage configuration as compared to the single stage configuration of the humidifier. The integration of the Fresnel lens further increased the absolute humidity up to 25% as compared to the results obtained without the integration of the Fresnel lens under the same prevailing conditions, which is significant. Moreover, the current humidifier shows a higher humidification efficiency in the climatic conditions that have a lower inlet air relative humidity. Furthermore, the finding demonstrates that the newly developed multi-stage bubble column humidifier has better performance as compared to the conventional single stage bubble column humidifier. The findings from this study are of pivotal importance to understand the optimum operating conditions of the humidifier for its possible integration with the dehumidifier. Consequently, an improved humidification-dehumidification desalination system attained.
[en] Ocean thermal energy conversion is a power cycle that generates power using the temperature difference between the surface water and deep water of the ocean. In this study, the performance analysis of a transcritical carbon dioxide Rankine cycle for ocean thermal energy conversion and optimization using genetic algorithms are conducted. A simple Rankine cycle and a Rankine cycle with a feed-liquid heater are considered, and a solar-boosted ocean thermal energy conversion system is applied to construct a transcritical cycle. From the results of the analysis, the exergy efficiency increased as the turbine inlet temperature increased, and the heat source outlet temperature was lower in the transcritical cycle. The exergy efficiency due to the turbine inlet pressure and the intermediate pressure of a Rankine cycle with a feed-liquid heater were nonlinear, and there was an optimization point. Then, the genetic algorithm calculated the optimal values by reflecting all of the independent variables in the transcritical cycle. From the results of the optimal value analysis, it was found that the exergy efficiency of a Rankine cycle with a feed-liquid heater was improved compared to that of a simple Rankine cycle.
[en] The energy is the basis for almost all industrial activities and domestic needs. But recently there are increasing concerns internationally over environmental problems and consequent climate changes caused by the excessive use of fossil fuels. Furthermore the price of crude oil is increasing steadily with unstable supplies. In order to solve these national energy problems, the utilization of ocean energy is introduced as one of the best alternative technologies for the future. OTEC power plant has been installed at the west Inchon power plant site. Temperature differences of 20∼25 deg. C have been utilized for plant operations, where R22 is used as a working fluid. The system is composed of low pressure turbine, plate type heat exchanger, and pumps. In the present investigation the experimental results, such as gross power, net power and objective function, are analysed when temperature differences change from the reference design point
[en] In this review work, energy harvesting methods for waste heat with small temperature differences between heat source and sink are discussed. At present, many methods are tried and employed to utilize this type of waste heat. A typical example is found in a conventional power generation system. By utilizing this type of waste heat, additional energy can be produced in regular power generation systems. Up to this point, two energy harvesting methods have been introduced and applied for the use with this type of waste heat. One is a method using an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) while the other is a method using a thermoelectric generation (TEG). An ORC is a Rankine cycle that can be applied to this type of waste heat using organic fluids such as refrigerants as working fluids instead of water used in a typical Ranking cycle. On the other hand, a TEG utilizes Peltier, Seebeck, and Thomson effects caused by the temperature difference between the heat source and sink for energy harvesting. In this work, various aspects associated with the use ORC and TEG for waste heat harvesting with small temperature differences between the heat source and sink.
[en] The bibliography contains citations concerning biological fouling and associated corrosion of heat exchangers and cooling systems. Topics include chlorination methods and systems, biocides, microbiological corrosion control, and alternative controls that comply with environmental regulations. Applications in cooling towers, ocean thermal energy conversion, nuclear power plants, and conventional oil and coal fired power plants are considered. (Contains 163 citations with title list and subject index.)
[en] A thermodynamic engine cycle can be implemented by exploiting the temperature difference existing between the warm surface seawater and cold deep seawater. It employs a working fluid that evaporates by warm seawater, produces work in an expander device, such as a gas turbine and finally condenses by cold deep seawater. A new Carnot-based cycle for OTEC applications, called CAPILI cycle is presented. In this new engine cycle, work is produced by the movement of an inert liquid through a hydraulic turbine. This inert liquid characterized by a very low saturation pressure and immiscibility with the working fluid, acts as a liquid piston that moves alternately between two insulated cylinders. The insulated cylinders are connected alternately to an evaporator and a condenser, each of them operates at different pressure and temperature levels. A performance study which consists in a steady state energy balance is realised first to select the most suitable working fluid for this specific application. It was found that the best fluid is the HFC refrigerant R134a. A dynamic modelling based on the concept of equivalent Gibbs system is carried out to appreciate the dynamic behaviour and the performances of this new thermal conversion process. -- Highlights: ► A novel Carnot-based cycle operating with a liquid piston is investigated for OTEC application. ► The most suitable working fluid giving the best performances is found to be the HFC R134a. ► The performances of this new thermal process are evaluated using a dynamic modelling. ► A thermal efficiency of 1.9% can be obtained by exploiting seawater temperature difference of 20 °C. ► A net cycle efficiency of 1.2% is achieved considering a net to gross power production ratio of 61%.