Efficient, low-cost solar thermoelectric cogenerators comprising evacuated tubular solar collectors and thermoelectric modules

Ming Zhang, Lei Miao, Yi Pu Kang, Sakae Tanemura, Craig A.J. Fisher, Gang Xu, Chun Xin Li, Guang Zhu Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have designed a solar thermoelectric cogenerator (STECG), which can supply electric power and heat simultaneously, by adding thermoelectric modules to the heat pipe in evacuated tubular solar collectors. A pilot experiment shows that the STECG can generate 0.19kWh of electrical energy and about 300l of hot water at 55°C in 1day when the figure of merit of the thermoelectric module, ZTM, is 0.59 and solar insolation is less than 1000W/m2. A theoretical model for accurately predicting the thermal losses, collector efficiency and electrical efficiency of the STECG is also presented based on energy balance and heat transfer equations. For thermoelectric modules with ZTM=1, when the solar insolation, wind velocity, ambient temperature and water temperature are 1000W/m2, 1.3m/s, 25°C and 25°C, respectively, the collector efficiency, output electrical power and electrical efficiency are calculated to be 47.54%, 64.80W and 1.59%, respectively. The results show that STECGs combining heat pipes with thermoelectric modules in evacuated tubular solar water heaters are economical and practical, making them suitable for commercial production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
Volume109
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sep
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Electricity
  • Evacuated tube heat pipe solar collector
  • Solar cogeneration
  • Thermal energy
  • Thermoelectric conversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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