An international research group has developed an active cooling technique for solar panels that utilizes an inclined channel and two jets of nanofluids.
The system consists of a double jet of nanofluid in a 2D channel placed below a heating plate that adheres to the photovoltaic panel. The two jets enter the channel through two slots of width separated by a distance and are perpendicular to the active wall of the channel.
“The cooling system is an inclined channel, with an isothermal heated upper wall, subjected to two jets of nanofluid,” the scientists said, adding that the device uses water mixed with copper nanoparticles as a nanofluid.
“The channel presents an inclination, with the horizontal direction, denoted by angle and whose limit is chosen equal to 30 degrees.This value corresponds to the optimal angle that corresponds to the maximum absorption of the solar radiations by a photovoltaic panel in Tunisia,” they added.
In the proposed system configuration, the channel is heated by its upper wall and cooled by two jets of nanofluids penetrating through its lower wall.
The researchers tested the system with the aim of numerically analyzing the heat transfer and the production of thermal entropy in the nanofluid flowing through an entire channel due to viscous effects. The created entropy characterizes an irreversible process that shows the degradation and usury of the physical system itself, they added.
Through their analysis, they found that the modification of the inclination angle has limited effect on heat transfer and irreversibility, and that the created entropy increases nearly 15% when the nanoparticle concentration reaches 8%. This entropy could result in significant deterioration and usury at the impact locations of the two jets.
The entropy issue may be addressed by increasing the number of jets and the angle of the jets on heat transfer as well as applying hydrodynamics on the created entropy. “This may lead simultaneously to an increase in heat transfer with minimization of the created entropy,” the scientists stated. “This minimization can be achieved in terms of intensity reduction or even in terms of a redistribution of irreversibilities.”
The team did not provide details about the system costs and possible commercial application.
The system is described in the study “Qualitative modeling of solar panel cooling by nanofluid jets: Heat transfer and second law analysis,” published in Case Studies in Thermal Engineering. The research group includes academics from the University of Tabuk in Saudi Arabia and the Gabes University in Tunisia.
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