Study of a night sky radiator cooling system utilizing direct fluid radiation emission and varying cover materials
As the demand for power increases in populated areas, so will the demand for water. Current power plant technology relies heavily on the Rankine cycle in coal, nuclear and solar thermal power systems which ultimately use condensers to cool the steam in the system. In dry climates, the amount of water to cool off the condenser can be extremely large. Current wet cooling technologies such as cooling towers lose water from evaporation. One alternative to prevent this would be to implement a radiative cooling system. More specifically, a system that utilizes the volumetric radiation emission from water to the night sky could be implemented. This thesis analyzes the validity of a radiative cooling system that uses direct radiant emission to cool water. A brief study on potential infrared transparent cover materials such as polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl carbonate (PVC) was performed. Also, two different experiments to determine the cooling power from radiation were developed and run. The results showed a minimum cooling power of 33.7 W/m2 for a vacuum insulated glass system and 37.57 W/m2 for a tray system with a maximum of 98.61 Wm-2 at a point when conduction and convection heat fluxes were considered to be zero. The results also showed that PE proved to be the best cover material. The minimum numerical results compared well with other studies performed in the field using similar techniques and materials. The results show that a radiative cooling system for a power plant could be feasible given that the cover material selection is narrowed down, an ample amount of land is available and an economic analysis is performed proving it to be cost competitive with conventional systems.