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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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2011

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Spatial temperature uniformity and statistical determination of dominant degradation modes in PV modules

Description

This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 of this thesis investigates the influence of spatial temperature distribution on the accuracy of performance data of photovoltaic (PV) modules in outdoor conditions and provides physical approaches to improve the spatial temperature distribution of

This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 of this thesis investigates the influence of spatial temperature distribution on the accuracy of performance data of photovoltaic (PV) modules in outdoor conditions and provides physical approaches to improve the spatial temperature distribution of the test modules so an accurate performance data can be obtained in the field. Conventionally, during outdoor performance testing, a single thermocouple location is used on the backsheet or back glass of a test module. This study clearly indicates that there is a large spatial temperature difference between various thermocouple locations within a module. Two physical approaches or configurations were experimented to improve the spatial temperature uniformity: thermally insulating the inner and outer surface of the frame; backsheet and inner surface of the frame. All the data were compared with un-insulated conventional configuration. This study was performed in an array setup of six modules under two different preconditioning electrical configurations, Voc and MPPT over several clear sunny days. This investigation concludes that the best temperature uniformity and the most accurate I-V data can be obtained only by thermally insulating the inner and outer frame surfaces or by using the average of four thermocouple temperatures, as specified in IEC 61853-2, without any thermal insulation.

Part 2 of this thesis analyzes the field data obtained from old PV power plants using various statistical techniques to identify the most influential degradation modes on fielded PV modules in two different climates: hot-dry (Arizona); cold-dry (New York). Performance data and visual inspection data of 647 modules fielded in five different power plants were analyzed. Statistical tests including hypothesis testing were carried out to identify the I-V parameter(s) that are affected the most. The affected performance parameters (Isc, Voc, FF and Pmax) were then correlated with the defects to determine the most dominant defect affecting power degradation. Analysis indicates that the cell interconnect discoloration (or solder bond deterioration) is the dominant defect in hot-dry climate leading to series resistance increase and power loss, while encapsulant delamination is being the most dominant defect in cold-dry climate leading to cell mismatch and power loss.

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2015

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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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2014

Model agnostic extreme sub-pixel visual measurement and optimal characterization

Description

It is possible in a properly controlled environment, such as industrial metrology, to make significant headway into the non-industrial constraints on image-based position measurement using the techniques of image registration and achieve repeatable feature measurements on the order of 0.3%

It is possible in a properly controlled environment, such as industrial metrology, to make significant headway into the non-industrial constraints on image-based position measurement using the techniques of image registration and achieve repeatable feature measurements on the order of 0.3% of a pixel, or about an order of magnitude improvement on conventional real-world performance. These measurements are then used as inputs for a model optimal, model agnostic, smoothing for calibration of a laser scribe and online tracking of velocimeter using video input. Using appropriate smooth interpolation to increase effective sample density can reduce uncertainty and improve estimates. Use of the proper negative offset of the template function has the result of creating a convolution with higher local curvature than either template of target function which allows improved center-finding. Using the Akaike Information Criterion with a smoothing spline function it is possible to perform a model-optimal smooth on scalar measurements without knowing the underlying model and to determine the function describing the uncertainty in that optimal smooth. An example of empiric derivation of the parameters for a rudimentary Kalman Filter from this is then provided, and tested. Using the techniques of Exploratory Data Analysis and the "Formulize" genetic algorithm tool to convert the spline models into more accessible analytic forms resulted in stable, properly generalized, KF with performance and simplicity that exceeds "textbook" implementations thereof. Validation of the measurement includes that, in analytic case, it led to arbitrary precision in measurement of feature; in reasonable test case using the methods proposed, a reasonable and consistent maximum error of around 0.3% the length of a pixel was achieved and in practice using pixels that were 700nm in size feature position was located to within ± 2 nm. Robust applicability is demonstrated by the measurement of indicator position for a King model 2-32-G-042 rotameter.

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Date Created
2012

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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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Date Created
2012

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Challenging the versatility of the Tesla turbine: working fluid variations and turbine performance

Description

Tesla turbo-machinery offers a robust, easily manufactured, extremely versatile prime mover with inherent capabilities making it perhaps the best, if not the only, solution for certain niche applications. The goal of this thesis is not to optimize the performance of

Tesla turbo-machinery offers a robust, easily manufactured, extremely versatile prime mover with inherent capabilities making it perhaps the best, if not the only, solution for certain niche applications. The goal of this thesis is not to optimize the performance of the Tesla turbine, but to compare its performance with various working fluids. Theoretical and experimental analyses of a turbine-generator assembly utilizing compressed air, saturated steam and water as the working fluids were performed and are presented in this work. A brief background and explanation of the technology is provided along with potential applications. A theoretical thermodynamic analysis is outlined, resulting in turbine and rotor efficiencies, power outputs and Reynolds numbers calculated for the turbine for various combinations of working fluids and inlet nozzles. The results indicate the turbine is capable of achieving a turbine efficiency of 31.17 ± 3.61% and an estimated rotor efficiency 95 ± 9.32%. These efficiencies are promising considering the numerous losses still present in the current design. Calculation of the Reynolds number provided some capability to determine the flow behavior and how that behavior impacts the performance and efficiency of the Tesla turbine. It was determined that turbulence in the flow is essential to achieving high power outputs and high efficiency. Although the efficiency, after peaking, begins to slightly taper off as the flow becomes increasingly turbulent, the power output maintains a steady linear increase.

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2012

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Finite element analysis on the effects of elastomeric inclusions for abating heat transfer in steel reinforced concrete columns

Description

Concrete columns constitute the fundamental supports of buildings, bridges, and various other infrastructures, and their failure could lead to the collapse of the entire structure. As such, great effort goes into improving the fire resistance of such columns. In a

Concrete columns constitute the fundamental supports of buildings, bridges, and various other infrastructures, and their failure could lead to the collapse of the entire structure. As such, great effort goes into improving the fire resistance of such columns. In a time sensitive fire situation, a delay in the failure of critical load bearing structures can lead to an increase in time allowed for the evacuation of occupants, recovery of property, and access to the fire. Much work has been done in improving the structural performance of concrete including reducing column sizes and providing a safer structure. As a result, high-strength (HS) concrete has been developed to fulfill the needs of such improvements. HS concrete varies from normal-strength (NS) concrete in that it has a higher stiffness, lower permeability and larger durability. This, unfortunately, has resulted in poor performance under fire. The lower permeability allows for water vapor to build up causing HS concrete to suffer from explosive spalling under rapid heating. In addition, the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of HS concrete is lower than that of NS concrete. In this study, the effects of introducing a region of crumb rubber concrete into a steel-reinforced concrete column were analyzed. The inclusion of crumb rubber concrete into a column will greatly increase the thermal resistivity of the overall column, leading to a reduction in core temperature as well as the rate at which the column is heated. Different cases were analyzed while varying the positioning of the crumb-rubber region to characterize the effect of position on the improvement of fire resistance. Computer simulated finite element analysis was used to calculate the temperature and strain distribution with time across the column's cross-sectional area with specific interest in the steel - concrete region. Of the several cases which were investigated, it was found that the improvement of time before failure ranged between 32 to 45 minutes.

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2011

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Study of cross-flow cooling efects in a stirling engine heat exchanger

Description

While much effort in Stirling engine development is placed on making the high-temperature region of the Stirling engine warmer, this research explores methods to lower the temperature of the cold region by improving heat transfer in the cooler. This paper

While much effort in Stirling engine development is placed on making the high-temperature region of the Stirling engine warmer, this research explores methods to lower the temperature of the cold region by improving heat transfer in the cooler. This paper presents heat transfer coefficients obtained for a Stirling engine heat exchanger with oscillatory flow. The effects of oscillating frequency and input heat rate on the heat transfer coefficients are evaluated and details on the design and development of the heat exchanger test apparatus are also explained. Featured results include the relationship between overall heat transfer coefficients and oscillation frequency which increase from 21.5 to 46.1 Wm-2K-1 as the oscillation frequency increases from 6.0 to 19.3 Hz. A correlation for the Nusselt number on the inside of the heat exchange tubes in oscillatory flow is presented in a concise, dimensionless form in terms of the kinetic Reynolds number as a result of a statistical analysis. The test apparatus design is proven to be successful throughout its implementation due to the usefulness of data and clear trends observed. The author is not aware of any other publicly-available research on a Stirling engine cooler to the extent presented in this paper. Therefore, the present results are analyzed on a part-by-part basis and compared to segments of other research; however, strong correlations with data from other studies are not expected. The data presented in this paper are part of a continuing effort to better understand heat transfer properties in Stirling engines as well as other oscillating flow applications.

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2011

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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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2011

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Pyrogel synthesis: an experimental analysis and simulation

Description

Processed pyro-gel contains castor oil with solid component of boehmite (Al-OOH). The pyro-gel is synthesized by heat to convert boehmite to gamma-Al2O3 and to a certain extent alpha-Al2O3 nano-particles and castor oil into carbon residue. The effect of heat on

Processed pyro-gel contains castor oil with solid component of boehmite (Al-OOH). The pyro-gel is synthesized by heat to convert boehmite to gamma-Al2O3 and to a certain extent alpha-Al2O3 nano-particles and castor oil into carbon residue. The effect of heat on pyro-gel is analyzed in a series of experiments using two burning chambers with the initial temperature as the main factor. The obtained temperature distribution profiles are studied and it is observed that the gel behaves very close to the theoretical prediction under heat. The carbon residue with Al2O3 is then processed for twelve hours and then analyzed to obtain the pore distribution of the Al2O3 nano-particles and the relation between the pore volume and the pre-heat temperature is analyzed. The obtained pore distribution shows the pore volume of Al2O3 nano-particles has direct relation to the pre-heat temperature. The experimental process involving the cylindrical reactor is simulated by using a finite rate chemistry eddy-dissipation model in a non-premixed and a porous mesh. The temperature distribution profile of the processed gel for both the meshes is obtained and a comparison is done with the data obtained in the experimental analysis. The temperature distribution obtained from the simulations show they follow a very similar profile to the temperature distribution obtained from experimental analysis, thus confirming the accuracy of both the models. The variation in numerical values between the experimental and simulation analysis is discussed. A physical model is proposed to determine the pore formation based on the temperature distribution obtained from experimental analysis and simulation.

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Date Created
2010