The increase in greenhouse gas and other global warming emissions makes it necessary to utilize renewable energy sources such as solar energy with high potential for heat production by means of solar thermal collectors. Among various types of solar collectors, evacuated tube solar collector (ETC) has attracted many attentions specially for the application in solar water heater systems (SWHs). However, due to the intermittence in solar intensity during the day, the ETCs may not work at their maximum functionality. There are number of studies investigating the effect of energy storage materials to eliminate the mismatch between supply and demand during peak hours. In the recent work of the authors, application of phase change materials (PCMs) integrated directly within the ETCs is studied experimentally. In this study, the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of heat pipe evacuated tube solar collector (HPETC) is performed. In order to cross-validate the obtained results to the recent experimental analysis, the boundary conditions are set as the real field-testing data. In the first part of the study, the 3D model of commercially available HPETC is simulated, while in the second part the HPETC integrated with the PCM is developed to analyze the improved thermal distribution. The selected type of PCM is Tritriacontane paraffin (C33H68), with a melting point of 72 °C and latent heat capacity of 256 kJ/kg. The simulation results show a acceptable agreement between the CFD modeling and the experimental data. The results from this study can be the benchmark for efficiency improvement of the ETCs in thermal energy storage systems.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.