Performance Analysis of Solar Water Heater at Possible Flow Rates with and Without Phase Change Material
To store excess solar energy from the sun, in this project we provide phase change materials (PCM) at the bottom of the absorber plate. Experiments were conducted in the cascaded solar water heater with and without phase change materials at different flow rates. During the sun-shine hours, the phase change material (PCM) absorbs latent heat of solar energy and stores the same energy up to its melting point. Similarly during off-sunshine hours, the phase change material releases the energy, which is used to heat the water. The set up can result a higher efficiency of the solar collector system. In this work, the paraffin wax has been selected as a phase change material due to its low cost, easily availability and considerable thermo-physical properties. The PCM unit stores the heat during the sun-shine hours and supplies hot water during the night and overcast periods. An attempt was made to produce hot water even after sun-shine hours every day. The performance of this PCM based thermal energy storage system is compared with conventional latent heat storage system and the conclusions drawn from them are presented. The conventional solar water heater gives better efficiency during day time because of the energy absorbed by phase change material. Thus a solar water heater integrated with phase change material unit gives little better efficiency during off sun-shine hours due to the presence of thermal energy storage system.
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