Research Papers

Theoretical and Experimental Investigations of Solar-Thermoelectric Air-Conditioning System for Remote Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Muath Alomair

School of Engineering,
University of Guelph,
Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
e-mail: alomairm@uoguelph.ca

Yazeed Alomair

School of Engineering,
University of Guelph,
Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
e-mail: yazeed@uoguelph.ca

Shohel Mahmud

Associate Professor
School of Engineering,
University of Guelph,
RICH-3519, 50 Stone Road East,
Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
e-mail: smahmud@uoguelph.ca

Hussein A. Abdullah

Professor and Director
School of Engineering,
University of Guelph,
Guelph, ON N1G2W1, Canada
e-mail: habdulla@uoguelph.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received August 7, 2014; final manuscript received January 8, 2015; published online February 18, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Zahid Ayub.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 7(2), 021013 (Jun 01, 2015) (10 pages) Paper No: TSEA-14-1184; doi: 10.1115/1.4029678 History: Received August 07, 2014; Revised January 08, 2015; Online February 18, 2015

In this paper, we have designed and constructed a low cost solar-thermoelectric (TE) air-conditioning system for people in remote areas where electricity is still in short supply. Such system can be potentially used to condition tents and living areas. The proposed solar-powered TE air-conditioning system is based on the principles of Peltier effect to create a finite temperature difference across the condenser and the evaporator of the TE air-conditioning system. The cold side (or the evaporator) of the TE module is used for air-conditioning application; provides cooling to the living space. The thermal energy from the hot side of the module is dumped to the surrounding environment. Using the existing heat transfer and thermodynamics knowledge, an analytical model is developed to predict the performance of the solar-TE air-conditioning system in terms of the hot and cold reservoir temperatures, heat removal rates from the conditioned space, power input, and coefficient of performance (COP). A second analytical model is proposed to predict the cooling down period of the conditioned space as a function of heat removed by air-conditioning system, heat gained through the wall of the conditioned space, and heat generated inside the conditioned space. A detailed system is constructed to predict the performance of solar-TE air-conditioning system experimentally. A conditioned space was constructed to carry out the experimental work. Multiple air-conditioning systems were installed in the conditioned space. The cooling performance of the designed solar-TE air-conditioning system was experimentally tested and verified with the analytical calculation.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic diagram of the TE air-conditioning module with different components and power supply

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Fig. 6

COP as a function of input current i at different numbers of unit module at TH = 310 K and TL = 290 K

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Fig. 4

Heat removal QL as a function of temperature difference ΔT between the high and low temperature reservoir at different values of temperatures at high temperature reservoir (i = 1 A)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Heat removal QL as a function of input current i at different temperature difference at TH = 320 K

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Fig. 2

Heat removal QL as a function of input current i at different values of unit TE cell at (A0U0)cond=18 W/K, (A0U0)eva=1.2 W/K, TL = 298 K, and TH = 298 K

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Effect of temperature difference ΔT on the power input Pin to the system at different values of ambient temperature TH a fixed current i = 3.0 A

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Fig. 9

Temperature variation in the conditioned space with time when ∀·eva = 30 m3/h, ∀·cond = 32.5 m3/h, Cv = 0.718 kJ/kg·K, ρair = 1.184 kg/m3, n = 120, (A0U0)con = 3.87 W/K, (A0U0)eva=0.32 W/K, and T0 = 0°C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Temperature variation in the conditioned space with time when ∀·eva = 30 m3/h, ∀·cond = 32.5 m3/h, Cv = 0.718 kJ/kg·K, ρair = 1.184 kg/m3, n = 120, (A0U0)con = 3.87 W/K, (A0U0)eva=0.32 W/K, and T0 = 15°C

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Temperature variation in the conditioned space with time when ∀·eva = 30 m3/h, ∀·cond = 32.5 m3/h, Cv = 0.718 kJ/kg·K, ρair = 1.184 kg/m3, n = 120, (A0U0)con = 3.87 W/K, (A0U0)eva = 0.32 W/K, and T0 = 17°C with nonzero internal heat load

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

COP as a function of temperature difference ΔT at different ambient temperatures TH and the current input i = 3.0 A

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Fig. 8

Schematic diagram of the experimental setup with different components



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