Two energy storage alternatives for a solar-powered sustainable single floor desert home

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Mechanical Engineering Department

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Research Article

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WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment

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This paper is concerned with the thermodynamic analysis of a totally solarpowered desert home. The home is air-conditioned and provides all modern comforts and facilities. It features closely spaced, roof mounted photovoltaic modules, which collect the solar energy driving the whole energy system. During the day time, the modules form an elevated horizontal surface above the roof, shielding it from direct solar radiation. After sunset, the photovoltaic modules are flipped vertically upwards to expose the roof to the sky, thus enhancing night-time cooling. Two methods of energy storage are proposed and compared, one using solely battery storage of electrical output, and the other employing a combination of cold water storage and battery storage. The analysis is based on detailed dynamic heat transfer calculations for the entire building envelope, coupled with a solar radiation model, and followed by energy balances. The results reveal that indeed it is feasible to employ solar energy as the only source of energy to power the home, and that each storage system has its own merits and shortcomings. © 2010 WIT Press.

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