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Coupling of thermal mass with night ventilation in buildings

Description

Passive cooling designs & technologies offer great promise to lower energy use in buildings. Though the working principles of these designs and technologies are well understood, simplified tools to quantitatively evaluate their performance are lacking. Cooling by night ventilation, which

Passive cooling designs & technologies offer great promise to lower energy use in buildings. Though the working principles of these designs and technologies are well understood, simplified tools to quantitatively evaluate their performance are lacking. Cooling by night ventilation, which is the topic of this research, is one of the well known passive cooling technologies. The building's thermal mass can be cooled at night by ventilating the inside of the space with the relatively lower outdoor air temperatures, thereby maintaining lower indoor temperatures during the warmer daytime period. Numerous studies, both experimental and theoretical, have been performed and have shown the effectiveness of the method to significantly reduce air conditioning loads or improve comfort levels in those climates where the night time ambient air temperature drops below that of the indoor air. The impact of widespread adoption of night ventilation cooling can be substantial, given the large fraction of energy consumed by air conditioning of buildings (about 12-13% of the total electricity use in U.S. buildings). Night ventilation is relatively easy to implement with minimal design changes to existing buildings. Contemporary mathematical models to evaluate the performance of night ventilation are embedded in detailed whole building simulation tools which require a certain amount of expertise and is a time consuming approach. This research proposes a methodology incorporating two models, Heat Transfer model and Thermal Network model, to evaluate the effectiveness of night ventilation. This methodology is easier to use and the run time to evaluate the results is faster. Both these models are approximations of thermal coupling between thermal mass and night ventilation in buildings. These models are modifications of existing approaches meant to model dynamic thermal response in buildings subject to natural ventilation. Effectiveness of night ventilation was quantified by a parameter called the Discomfort Reduction Factor (DRF) which is the index of reduction of occupant discomfort levels during the day time from night ventilation. Daily and Monthly DRFs are calculated for two climate zones and three building heat capacities. It is verified that night ventilation is effective in seasons and regions when day temperatures are between 30 oC and 36 oC and night temperatures are below 20 oC. The accuracy of these models may be lower than using a detailed simulation program but the loss in accuracy in using these tools more than compensates for the insights provided and better transparency in the analysis approach and results obtained.

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Date Created
2011

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Optimization of the implementation of renewable resources in a municipal electric utility in Arizona

Description

A municipal electric utility in Mesa, Arizona with a peak load of approximately 85 megawatts (MW) was analyzed to determine how the implementation of renewable resources (both wind and solar) would affect the overall cost of energy purchased by the

A municipal electric utility in Mesa, Arizona with a peak load of approximately 85 megawatts (MW) was analyzed to determine how the implementation of renewable resources (both wind and solar) would affect the overall cost of energy purchased by the utility. The utility currently purchases all of its energy through long term energy supply contracts and does not own any generation assets and so optimization was achieved by minimizing the overall cost of energy while adhering to specific constraints on how much energy the utility could purchase from the short term energy market. Scenarios were analyzed for a five percent and a ten percent penetration of renewable energy in the years 2015 and 2025. Demand Side Management measures (through thermal storage in the City's district cooling system, electric vehicles, and customers' air conditioning improvements) were evaluated to determine if they would mitigate some of the cost increases that resulted from the addition of renewable resources.

In the 2015 simulation, wind energy was less expensive than solar to integrate to the supply mix. When five percent of the utility's energy requirements in 2015 are met by wind, this caused a 3.59% increase in the overall cost of energy. When that five percent is met by solar in 2015, it is estimated to cause a 3.62% increase in the overall cost of energy. A mix of wind and solar in 2015 caused a lower increase in the overall cost of energy of 3.57%. At the ten percent implementation level in 2015, solar, wind, and a mix of solar and wind caused increases of 7.28%, 7.51% and 7.27% respectively in the overall cost of energy.

In 2025, at the five percent implementation level, wind and solar caused increases in the overall cost of energy of 3.07% and 2.22% respectively. In 2025, at the ten percent implementation level, wind and solar caused increases in the overall cost of energy of 6.23% and 4.67% respectively.

Demand Side Management reduced the overall cost of energy by approximately 0.6%, mitigating some of the cost increase from adding renewable resources.

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Date Created
2014

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Experimental demonstration of photovoltaic powered solar cooling with ice storage

Description

The ability to shift the photovoltaic (PV) power curve and make the energy accessible during peak hours can be accomplished through pairing solar PV with energy storage technologies. A prototype hybrid air conditioning system (HACS), built under supervision of project

The ability to shift the photovoltaic (PV) power curve and make the energy accessible during peak hours can be accomplished through pairing solar PV with energy storage technologies. A prototype hybrid air conditioning system (HACS), built under supervision of project head Patrick Phelan, consists of PV modules running a DC compressor that operates a conventional HVAC system paired with a second evaporator submerged within a thermal storage tank. The thermal storage is a 0.284m3 or 75 gallon freezer filled with Cryogel balls, submerged in a weak glycol solution. It is paired with its own separate air handler, circulating the glycol solution. The refrigerant flow is controlled by solenoid valves that are electrically connected to a high and low temperature thermostat. During daylight hours, the PV modules run the DC compressor. The refrigerant flow is directed to the conventional HVAC air handler when cooling is needed. Once the desired room temperature is met, refrigerant flow is diverted to the thermal storage, storing excess PV power. During peak energy demand hours, the system uses only small amounts of grid power to pump the glycol solution through the air handler (note the compressor is off), allowing for money and energy savings. The conventional HVAC unit can be scaled down, since during times of large cooling demands the glycol air handler can be operated in parallel with the conventional HVAC unit. Four major test scenarios were drawn up in order to fully comprehend the performance characteristics of the HACS. Upon initial running of the system, ice was produced and the thermal storage was charged. A simple test run consisting of discharging the thermal storage, initially ~¼ frozen, was performed. The glycol air handler ran for 6 hours and the initial cooling power was 4.5 kW. This initial test was significant, since greater than 3.5 kW of cooling power was produced for 3 hours, thus demonstrating the concept of energy storage and recovery.

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2012

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Nano- and micro-scale temperature measurements using laser-induced fluorescence thermometry

Description

A method of determining nanoparticle temperature through fluorescence intensity levels is described. Intracellular processes are often tracked through the use of fluorescence tagging, and ideal temperatures for many of these processes are unknown. Through the use of fluorescence-based thermometry, cellular

A method of determining nanoparticle temperature through fluorescence intensity levels is described. Intracellular processes are often tracked through the use of fluorescence tagging, and ideal temperatures for many of these processes are unknown. Through the use of fluorescence-based thermometry, cellular processes such as intracellular enzyme movement can be studied and their respective temperatures established simultaneously. Polystyrene and silica nanoparticles are synthesized with a variety of temperature-sensitive dyes such as BODIPY, rose Bengal, Rhodamine dyes 6G, 700, and 800, and Nile Blue A and Nile Red. Photographs are taken with a QImaging QM1 Questar EXi Retiga camera while particles are heated from 25 to 70 C and excited at 532 nm with a Coherent DPSS-532 laser. Photographs are converted to intensity images in MATLAB and analyzed for fluorescence intensity, and plots are generated in MATLAB to describe each dye's intensity vs temperature. Regression curves are created to describe change in fluorescence intensity over temperature. Dyes are compared as nanoparticle core material is varied. Large particles are also created to match the camera's optical resolution capabilities, and it is established that intensity values increase proportionally with nanoparticle size. Nile Red yielded the closest-fit model, with R2 values greater than 0.99 for a second-order polynomial fit. By contrast, Rhodamine 6G only yielded an R2 value of 0.88 for a third-order polynomial fit, making it the least reliable dye for temperature measurements using the polynomial model. Of particular interest in this work is Nile Blue A, whose fluorescence-temperature curve yielded a much different shape from the other dyes. It is recommended that future work describe a broader range of dyes and nanoparticle sizes, and use multiple excitation wavelengths to better quantify each dye's quantum efficiency. Further research into the effects of nanoparticle size on fluorescence intensity levels should be considered as the particles used here greatly exceed 2 ìm. In addition, Nile Blue A should be further investigated as to why its fluorescence-temperature curve did not take on a characteristic shape for a temperature-sensitive dye in these experiments.

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Date Created
2011

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Modeling and optimization of a hybrid solar PV-powered air conditioning system with ice storage

Description

In this thesis the performance of a Hybrid AC System (HACS) is modeled and optimized. The HACS utilizes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to help reduce the demand from the utility during peak hours. The system also includes an ice Thermal

In this thesis the performance of a Hybrid AC System (HACS) is modeled and optimized. The HACS utilizes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to help reduce the demand from the utility during peak hours. The system also includes an ice Thermal Energy Storage (TES) tank to accumulate cooling energy during off-peak hours. The AC runs continuously on grid power during off-peak hours to generate cooling for the house and to store thermal energy in the TES. During peak hours, the AC runs on the power supplied from the PV, and cools the house along with the energy stored in the TES. A higher initial cost is expected due to the additional components of the HACS (PV and TES), but a lower operational cost due to higher energy efficiency, energy storage and renewable energy utilization. A house cooled by the HACS will require a smaller size AC unit (about 48% less in the rated capacity), compared to a conventional AC system. To compare the cost effectiveness of the HACS with a regular AC system, time-of-use (TOU) utility rates are considered, as well as the cost of the system components and the annual maintenance. The model shows that the HACS pays back its initial cost of $28k in about 6 years with an 8% APR, and saves about $45k in total cost when compared to a regular AC system that cools the same house for the same period of 6 years.

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Date Created
2011

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Design methodology for modifying an existing internal combustion engine to generate power from a stored air system

Description

A low cost expander, combustor device that takes compressed air, adds thermal energy and then expands the gas to drive an electrical generator is to be designed by modifying an existing reciprocating spark ignition engine. The engine used is the

A low cost expander, combustor device that takes compressed air, adds thermal energy and then expands the gas to drive an electrical generator is to be designed by modifying an existing reciprocating spark ignition engine. The engine used is the 6.5 hp Briggs and Stratton series 122600 engine. Compressed air that is stored in a tank at a particular pressure will be introduced during the compression stage of the engine cycle to reduce pump work. In the modified design the intake and exhaust valve timings are modified to achieve this process. The time required to fill the combustion chamber with compressed air to the storage pressure immediately before spark and the state of the air with respect to crank angle is modeled numerically using a crank step energy and mass balance model. The results are used to complete the engine cycle analysis based on air standard assumptions and air to fuel ratio of 15 for gasoline. It is found that at the baseline storage conditions (280 psi, 70OF) the modified engine does not meet the imposed constraints of staying below the maximum pressure of the unmodified engine. A new storage pressure of 235 psi is recommended. This only provides a 7.7% increase in thermal efficiency for the same work output. The modification of this engine for this low efficiency gain is not recommended.

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Date Created
2011

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Comparative analysis of benchmarking and audit tools

Description

Among the various end-use sectors, the commercial sector is expected to have the second-largest increase in total primary energy consump¬tion from 2009 to 2035 (5.8 quadrillion Btu) with a growth rate of 1.1% per year, it is the fastest growing

Among the various end-use sectors, the commercial sector is expected to have the second-largest increase in total primary energy consump¬tion from 2009 to 2035 (5.8 quadrillion Btu) with a growth rate of 1.1% per year, it is the fastest growing end-use sectors. In order to make major gains in reducing U.S. building energy use commercial sector buildings must be improved. Energy benchmarking of buildings gives the facility manager or the building owner a quick evaluation of energy use and the potential for energy savings. It is the process of comparing the energy performance of a building to standards and codes, to a set target performance or to a range of energy performance values of similar buildings in order to help assess opportunities for improvement. Commissioning of buildings is the process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested and capable of being operated and maintained according to the owner's operational needs. It is the first stage in the building upgrade process after it has been assessed using benchmarking tools. The staged approach accounts for the interactions among all the energy flows in a building and produces a systematic method for planning upgrades that increase energy savings. This research compares and analyzes selected benchmarking and retrocommissioning tools to validate their accuracy such that they could be used in the initial audit process of a building. The benchmarking study analyzes the Energy Use Intensities (EUIs) and Ratings assigned by Portfolio Manager and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Spreadsheets. The 90.1 Prototype models and Commercial Reference Building model for Large Office building type were used for this comparative analysis. A case-study building from the DOE - funded Energize Phoenix program was also benchmarked for its EUI and rating. The retrocommissioning study was conducted by modeling these prototype models and the case-study building in the Facility Energy Decision System (FEDS) tool to simulate their energy consumption and analyze the retrofits suggested by the tool. The results of the benchmarking study proved that a benchmarking tool could be used as a first step in the audit process, encouraging the building owner to conduct an energy audit and realize the energy savings potential. The retrocommissioning study established the validity of FEDS as an accurate tool to simulate a building for its energy performance using basic inputs and to accurately predict the energy savings achieved by the retrofits recommended on the basis of maximum LCC savings.

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2011

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Application of phase change material in buildings: field data vs. EnergyPlus simulation

Description

Phase Change Material (PCM) plays an important role as a thermal energy storage device by utilizing its high storage density and latent heat property. One of the potential applications for PCM is in buildings by incorporating them in the envelope

Phase Change Material (PCM) plays an important role as a thermal energy storage device by utilizing its high storage density and latent heat property. One of the potential applications for PCM is in buildings by incorporating them in the envelope for energy conservation. During the summer season, the benefits are a decrease in overall energy consumption by the air conditioning unit and a time shift in peak load during the day. Experimental work was carried out by Arizona Public Service (APS) in collaboration with Phase Change Energy Solutions (PCES) Inc. with a new class of organic-based PCM. This "BioPCM" has non-flammable properties and can be safely used in buildings. The experimental setup showed maximum energy savings of about 30%, a maximum peak load shift of ~ 60 min, and maximum cost savings of about 30%. Simulation was performed to validate the experimental results. EnergyPlus was chosen as it has the capability to simulate phase change material in the building envelope. The building material properties were chosen from the ASHRAE Handbook - Fundamentals and the HVAC system used was a window-mounted heat pump. The weather file used in the simulation was customized for the year 2008 from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) website. All EnergyPlus inputs were ensured to match closely with the experimental parameters. The simulation results yielded comparable trends with the experimental energy consumption values, however time shifts were not observed. Several other parametric studies like varying PCM thermal conductivity, temperature range, location, insulation R-value and combination of different PCMs were analyzed and results are presented. It was found that a PCM with a melting point from 23 to 27 °C led to maximum energy savings and greater peak load time shift duration, and is more suitable than other PCM temperature ranges for light weight building construction in Phoenix.

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Date Created
2010

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Experimental measurements of thermoelectric phenomena in nanoparticle liquid suspensions (nanofluids)

Description

This study analyzes the thermoelectric phenomena of nanoparticle suspensions, which are composed of liquid and solid nanoparticles that show a relatively stable Seebeck coefficient as bulk solids near room temperature. The approach is to explore the thermoelectric character of the

This study analyzes the thermoelectric phenomena of nanoparticle suspensions, which are composed of liquid and solid nanoparticles that show a relatively stable Seebeck coefficient as bulk solids near room temperature. The approach is to explore the thermoelectric character of the nanoparticle suspensions, predict the outcome of the experiment and compare the experimental data with anticipated results. In the experiment, the nanoparticle suspension is contained in a 15cm*2.5cm*2.5cm glass container, the temperature gradient ranges from 20 °C to 60 °C, and room temperature fluctuates from 20 °C to 23°C. The measured nanoparticles include multiwall carbon nanotubes, aluminum dioxide and bismuth telluride. A temperature gradient from 20 °C to 60 °C is imposed along the length of the container, and the resulting voltage (if any) is measured. Both heating and cooling processes are measured. With three different nanoparticle suspensions (carbon nano tubes, Al2O3 nanoparticles and Bi2Te3 nanoparticles), the correlation between temperature gradient and voltage is correspondingly 8%, 38% and 96%. A comparison of results calculated from the bulk Seebeck coefficients with our measured results indicate that the Seebeck coefficient measured for each suspension is much more than anticipated, which indicates that the thermophoresis effect could have enhanced the voltage. Further research with a closed-loop system might be able to affirm the results of this study.

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Date Created
2010

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Dynamic control of radiative heat transfer with tunable materials for thermal management in both far and near fields

Description

The proposed research mainly focuses on employing tunable materials to achieve dynamic control of radiative heat transfer in both far and near fields for thermal management. Vanadium dioxide (VO2), which undergoes a phase transition from insulator to metal at the

The proposed research mainly focuses on employing tunable materials to achieve dynamic control of radiative heat transfer in both far and near fields for thermal management. Vanadium dioxide (VO2), which undergoes a phase transition from insulator to metal at the temperature of 341 K, is one tunable material being applied. The other one is graphene, whose optical properties can be tuned by chemical potential through external bias or chemical doping.

In the far field, a VO2-based metamaterial thermal emitter with switchable emittance in the mid-infrared has been theoretically studied. When VO2 is in the insulating phase, high emittance is observed at the resonance frequency of magnetic polaritons (MPs), while the structure becomes highly reflective when VO2 turns metallic. A VO2-based thermal emitter with tunable emittance is also demonstrated due to the excitation of MP at different resonance frequencies when VO2 changes phase. Moreover, an infrared thermal emitter made of graphene-covered SiC grating could achieve frequency-tunable emittance peak via the change of the graphene chemical potential.

In the near field, a radiation-based thermal rectifier is constructed by investigating radiative transfer between VO2 and SiO2 separated by nanometer vacuum gap distances. Compared to the case where VO2 is set as the emitter at 400 K as a metal, when VO2 is considered as the receiver at 300 K as an insulator, the energy transfer is greatly enhanced due to the strong surface phonon polariton (SPhP) coupling between insulating VO2 and SiO2. A radiation-based thermal switch is also explored by setting VO2 as both the emitter and the receiver. When both VO2 emitter and receiver are at the insulating phase, the switch is at the “on” mode with a much enhanced heat flux due to strong SPhP coupling, while the near-field radiative transfer is greatly suppressed when the emitting VO2 becomes metallic at temperatures higher than 341K during the “off” mode. In addition, an electrically-gated thermal modulator made of graphene covered SiC plates is theoretically studied with modulated radiative transport by varying graphene chemical potential. Moreover, the MP effect on near-field radiative transport has been investigated by spectrally enhancing radiative heat transfer between two metal gratings.

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2016