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Why Write a Book on Solar Energy Engineering?

By: , Posted on: June 5, 2014

Solar Energy Engineering coverSolar energy systems are nowadays used in a wide variety of applications; starting to the simple domestic hot water production to the more advanced solar power systems. Engineers need books to teach them the ability to design such systems and to give them the current state of research in the area. So the idea of writing the book is to help students learn the design procedure of solar energy systems and give practitioners a resource to find information on such systems in a comprehensive and understandable way.

The idea of writing the book came from Elsevier Publishing in a conference where the publishing of three comprehensive reviews in Progress in Energy and Combustion Science journal was discussed. And then the idea was put forward of compiling this material into a comprehensive book. When I said that this was a good idea I had no idea the amount of work that means. Originally the idea was to write just the various aspects covered in the above mentioned journal papers. Then we came to the idea to add some worked examples, followed by the idea to add problems at the end of each chapter and finally a solutions manual for the instructors. The title is selected to include the work “engineering” to reflect the fact that this book is intended mainly for engineering students and practitioners. The audience however can include not only a general engineering readership, but also to include a diverse readership of researchers, project planners, system installers, business/economic facility managers, educators, and a wide variety of professions as a practical resource.

So why is this book so different? What information does it provide that other books don’t?

Some books in the solar energy engineering are either not covering the whole spectrum of subjects covered by the present book or are focused on examples from the states only, which may not apply to other parts of the world. So engineering students and students following courses on solar energy can learn the fundamentals of the science, researchers can see the current state of the research in the various subjects treated and practitioner can find practical details for the construction and installation of solar energy system components to complete system design.

Book outline

The first chapter initially presents the energy demand and renewable energy. It also provides a review on energy related environmental problems which include acid rain, ozone layer depletion and global climate change. It also presents briefly the problems created by the use of nuclear energy and the general benefits that renewable energy technologies offer. The state of climate is then analyzed. It also gives a short historical introduction into solar energy, giving some details of the early applications. It concludes with a review of other renewable energy technologies, which except wind energy, are not covered in the book.

The second chapter gives an analysis of the environmental characteristics of solar radiation and in particular the reckoning of time and solar angles. In the latter the basic solar geometry equations are given including declination, hour angle, altitude angle, azimuth angle as well as the incidence angle for moving surfaces, sun path diagrams and shadow determination including the way to calculate shading effects. This is followed by a description of the basic principles of solar radiation heat transfer including transparent plates, radiation exchange between surfaces, extraterrestrial solar radiation, atmospheric attenuation, terrestrial irradiation and total radiation on tilted surfaces. It concludes with a review of the solar radiation measuring instruments and the way to construct typical meteorological year files.

Chapter three gives a review of various types of stationary and sun tracking solar collectors which are the main components of any solar system. The stationary collectors include flat plate collectors; compound parabolic collectors and evacuated tube collectors. The sun tracking concentrating collectors section cover parabolic trough collectors; Fresnel collectors; parabolic dish reflector and heliostat field collector. This review is followed by the optical and thermal analysis of both flat plate and concentrating collectors. The analysis for flat plate collectors includes both water and air type systems whereas the analysis for concentrating collector includes the compound parabolic and the parabolic trough collector. The analysis of flat-plate water collectors start with an analysis of the absorbed solar radiation followed by collector energy losses, temperature distribution between the tubes, collector efficiency factor, heat removal factor, flow factor and thermal efficiency. This is followed by practical considerations concerning flat-plate collectors. Subsequently, concentrating collectors are considered which include optical and thermal analysis of a compound parabolic collector and optical and thermal analysis of parabolic trough collectors. The chapter includes also the second law analysis of solar thermal systems.

Chapter four deals with the methods to determine experimentally the performance of solar collectors. It outlines the various tests required to determine the thermal efficiency of solar collectors. Initially collector thermal efficiency measurement is presented and the effect of flow rate, collectors connected in series and the standard requirements of the test are analyzed. Subsequently, the methods to determine the collector incidence angle modifier for flat-plate and concentrating collectors is presented followed by the acceptance angle for concentrating collectors and the collector time constant. The dynamic test method is also presented followed by the efficiency parameter conversion and assessment of the uncertainty in solar collector testing. This is followed by the way the collector test results can be used for the preliminary collector selection. Subsequently, the quality test methods are presented followed by a review of European standards used for this purpose as well as details of the solar keymark certification scheme. Finally, the chapter describes the characteristics of data acquisition systems including portable data loggers.

Chapter five is on solar water heating systems. Both passive and active systems are described. Passive systems include thermosiphon and integrated collector storage systems. Subsequently, active systems are described which include direct circulation systems, indirect water heating systems, air water-heating systems, heat pump systems and pool heating systems, which include the analysis of various heat losses like evaporation, radiation, convection heat losses, make-up water load and solar radiation heat gain. Then the characteristics and thermal analysis of heat storage systems for both water and air systems are presented. The module and array design methods are then described and include the effects of shading, thermal expansion, galvanic corrosion, array sizing, heat exchangers, pipe and duct losses, partially shaded collectors and over-temperature protection; followed by an analysis of the characteristics of differential thermostats. Finally, methods to calculate the hot water demand are given as well as a review of international standards used to evaluate the solar water heaters performance. The chapter includes also simple system models and practical considerations for the set-up of solar water heating systems.

Chapter six deals with solar space heating and cooling systems. Initially, methods to estimate the thermal load of buildings are given. Then some general features of passive space design are presented followed by the active systems design. Passive systems include building construction-thermal mass effects, incidental thermal mass effects, intentional thermal mass effects, characteristics and performance of thermal storage walls, building shape and orientation, insulation, windows, sunspaces, overhangs and natural ventilation. Active systems include both water-based and air-based space heating and cooling systems and comprise space heating and service hot water, considerations concerning the location of auxiliary and heat pump systems. The solar cooling systems described in this chapter include both adsorption and absorption systems. The latter comprise the lithium bromide-water and ammonia-water systems. Finally, the characteristics for solar cooling with absorption refrigeration systems are given.

Chapter seven describes industrial process heat systems. Initially, the general design considerations are given in which solar industrial air and water systems are examined. Subsequently, the characteristics of solar steam generation methods are presented. This is followed by solar chemistry applications which include reforming of fuels and solar cells. The latter include a survey of their basic characteristics, fuel cell chemistry and a review of the types of fuel cells. The last section of the chapter deals with an analysis of active and passive solar dryers, the drying process characteristics, and greenhouses, including greenhouse materials.

Chapter eight deals with solar desalination systems. The chapter initially analyses the relation of water and energy as well as water demand and consumption and the relation of energy and desalination. Subsequently, the various desalination processes are described starting with a general exergy analysis of desalination systems and thermal desalination processes. This is followed by a review of the direct and indirect desalination systems. The typical direct system is the solar still and the analysis includes classification of solar distillation systems, performance of solar stills and general comments on solar distillation. Indirect collection systems presented include the multi-stage flash (MSF) process, the multiple-effect boiling (MEB) process, the vapor-compression (VC) process, reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis (ED). These are described technologically and the system design equations are given. The chapter includes also a review of the renewable energy desalination systems and examines solar thermal energy, solar ponds, solar photovoltaic, wind power, hybrid solar PV-wind power and geothermal energy. Finally, the parameters to consider in the selection of a desalination process are examined.

Chapter nine is about photovoltaic systems. Initially, the general characteristics of semiconductors are given and examine p-n junctions, the photovoltaic effect and PV cell characteristics. This is followed by a description of photovoltaic panels and examines arrays and types of PV technology and related equipment, which include batteries, inverters, charge controllers and peak-power trackers. Then a review of possible applications are presented, which include direct coupled PV systems, stand-alone applications, grid-connected systems, hybrid connected systems and types of applications with a separate section on building-integrated PV systems. This is followed by the methods used to design PV systems and examine electrical loads, absorbed solar radiation, cell temperature and sizing of PV systems. Subsequently, tilt and yield is considered describing fixed tilt, trackers, shading and tilting versus spacing considerations. Finally, the chapter examines the concentrating PV and the hybrid photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) systems and their applications including water and air-heating BIPV/T systems.

Chapter ten deals with solar thermal power systems. Initially, the general design considerations are given followed by the presentation of the three basic technologies. These include the parabolic trough collector system; the power tower systems and the dish systems. This is followed by the thermal analysis of the basic cycles of solar thermal power plants. Subsequently, solar updraft tower systems are examined. Finally, solar ponds are examined, which is a form of large solar collector and storage system that can be used for solar power generation.

Chapter eleven presents methods used for the design and modeling of solar systems. These include the f-chart method and program and comprise sections on the design of liquid-based solar heating systems, various corrections required for the storage capacity, collector flow rate and load heat exchanger size; the design of air-based solar heating systems, various corrections required for the pebble bed storage size and air flow rate correction; the design of solar service water systems and the use of the f-chart for the design of thermosiphon solar water heating systems. The section concludes with some general remarks and a brief overview of the F-chart program. This is followed by the utilizability method and examines the hourly utilizability, daily utilizability, the design of active systems using both the hourly and the daily utilizability methods. Subsequently the the , f-chart method is presented and include the corrections for the storage tank losses and heat exchanger correction, followed by the unutilizability method, which include direct gain systems, collector storage walls        and active collection with passive storage systems. The chapter includes also a description of the various programs that can be used for the modeling and simulation of solar systems. This is followed by a short description of the artificial intelligence techniques used in renewable energy systems modeling, performance prediction and control. It includes a description of the artificial neural networks and a description of the basic neural network architectures, like the backpropagation, the general regression neural network (GRNN) and the group method data handling neural network (GMDH). Then genetic algorithms are described as well as their applications in solar energy systems, followed by a short description of GenOpt and TRNopt programs. Subsequently, fuzzy logic is examined and includes fuzzy systems applications in solar energy systems. Finally, hybrid systems are described, which employ more than one artificial intelligence applications. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the limitations of simulations.

Chapter twelve deals with economic analysis of solar systems. It includes a description of the life cycle analysis and time value of money. The life cycle analysis is then presented through a series of examples, which include fuel cost of a non-solar system, hot water system, hot water system optimization and payback time with not discounted and discounted fuel savings. Subsequently, the P1, P2 method is presented as well as the optimization of solar systems using the P1, P2 method and the chapter concludes with an analysis of the uncertainties in economic analysis.

The last chapter examines wind energy systems. It begins with an analysis of the wind characteristics and includes sections on wind speed profiles, wind speed variation with time, statistical representation of wind speed, wind resources, wind speed atlases and detailed study of wind speed. This is followed by the one dimensional model of wind turbines and a survey of the characteristics of wind turbines, which includes sections on types of wind turbines, power characteristics of wind turbines, offshore wind turbines and wind parks. The chapter concludes with a section on economic issues and a section of the wind energy exploitation problems.

Solar Energy Engineering: Processes and Systems is available for purchase on the Elsevier Store. Use discount code “STC3014” and save 30% at checkout!

About the Author

soteris kalogirou biopicProfessor Soteris Kalogirou is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sciences and Engineering of the Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glamorgan (UK) in 1995. In June 2011 he received from the same university the title of D.Sc. He is Visiting Professor at Brunel University, UK and Adjunct Professor at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Ireland.

For more than 30 years, he is actively involved in research in the area of solar energy and particularly in flat plate and concentrating collectors, solar water heating, solar steam generating systems, desalination and absorption cooling. He has 44 books and book contributions and published 266 papers; 116 in international scientific journals and 150 in refereed conference proceedings. Until now, he received more than 5000 citations on this work. He is Editor-in-Chief of Renewable Energy and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Energy, and Editorial Board Member of another eleven journals. He is the editor of the book Artificial Intelligence in Energy and Renewable Energy Systems, published by Nova Science Inc., co-editor of the book Soft Computing in Green and Renewable Energy Systems, published by Springer and author of the book Solar Energy Engineering: Processes and Systems, published by Academic Press of Elsevier.

He has been a member of World Renewable Energy Network (WREN) since 1992 and is a member of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Institute of Refrigeration (IoR) and International Solar Energy Society (ISES).

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