Investigation of a novel solar photovoltaic/loop-heat-pipe heat pump system

Zhang, Xingxing

February 2014

Thesis or dissertation

© 2014 Xingxing Zhang. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

With the widespread deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) and thermal devices imminent, this research aims to resolve some engineering barriers to the existing solar photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) technologies by incorporating an innovative loop heat pipe (LHP) and a typical heat pump. In addition, a coated aluminium-alloy (Al-alloy) sheet replaces the conventional baseboard for the PV cells to improve heat exportation. As a result, this research has developed a novel solar PV/LHP heat pump system to maximise the electrical output of a PV module and generate an additional amount of heat simultaneously.

The overall investigation followed the basic methodology of combined theoretical and experimental analysis, including procedures for a critical literature review, optimal concept design, mathematical derivation, the development of simulation models, prototype fabrication, laboratory-controlled and field testing, simulation model validation and socio-economic analysis. A full range of specialised simulation models was developed to predict the system performance with reasonable accuracy. The proposed LHP device has a maximum heat transfer limit of about 900W. The Al-alloy baseboard improved PV efficiency by nearly 0.26% when compared with a traditional PV baseboard. During the real-time measurement conditions, the mean electrical, thermal and overall energetic/exergetic efficiencies of the PV/LHP module were 9.13%, 39.25% and 48.37%/15.02%, respectively. The basic thermal and advanced system coefficients of performance (COPth/COPPV/T) were almost 5.51 and 8.71, respectively. The test results indicated that this system performed better than conventional solar/air energy systems. The feasibility analysis illustrated that this system could generate a substantial amount of energy in subtropical climatic regions, such as Hong Kong. It is cost effective to operate this system in areas with high energy charging tariffs, such as London and Hong Kong.

The research results are expected to configure feasible solutions for future PV/T technologies and develop a new solar-driven heating system. The core technologies may enable a significant reduction in or even elimination of the carbon footprint in the built environment.

Department of Engineering, The University of Hull
Zhao, Xudong
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull; Shanghai Pacific Energy Centre; European Commission. Marie Curie Actions
Qualification level
Qualification name
9 MB
QR Code