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Thermo-hydraulic and exergoeconomic optimization of solar air heaters mounted with louvered fins with potential application on Brazilian agrobusiness

Grant number: 22/12073-1
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2023 - March 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mechanical Engineering - Thermal Engineering
Principal Investigator:Daniel Jonas Dezan
Grantee:Daniel Jonas Dezan
Host Institution: Centro de Engenharia, Modelagem e Ciências Sociais Aplicadas (CECS). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Antonio Garrido Gallego ; Tamara Guimarães Bucalo ; Wallace Gusmao Ferreira


The thermal-hydraulic performance of solar collectors depends on the ability of the working fluid to remove the heat stored on those devices. Basically, the benefits of heat transfer enhancement by using special surface geometries are due to the increasing of the convective heat transfer coefficient or/and surface area. The use of modified surfaces reduces the thermal resistance and thus provides an increase of the convective heat transfer coefficient. However, the heat transfer enhancement is always associated with pumping power increasing. This research project can be assumed to be multisciplinary because of the combination of experimental and numerical investigations, sensisitivy analyses and optimization procedures. In summary, the main steps of the research can be divided by: (i) Numerical validation based on comparison of numerical results with experimental data obtained at Pennsylvania State University; (ii) Development of correlations for Nusselt number and friction factor predictions via parametric and non-parametric models (this last one based on machine learning techniques), as well as the thermo-hydraulic optimization of the solar air heater ducts under turbulent flow conditions (for Reynolds numbers from 5000 to 20000) through Computational Fluid Dynamics. Comparisons between parametric and non-parametric models for Nusselt number and friction factor predictions are performed; (iii) Thermo-economic optimization of the solar air heaters with louvered fins under different operating conditions, based on one-dimensional numerical methodology; (iv) Case study focused on the application of the proposed solar air heaters on Brazilian agrobusiness.At first part of the project, the numerical validation of the solar air heater with louvered fins is realized by comparing the results from the numerical model and experimental data from Pennsylvania State University, in which the experimental apparatus is on final stage of development. At the second part of the research, the three-dimensional numerical simulations of the solar air heater duct with two independent louvered fins are performed to propose correlations for Nusselt number and friction fator predictions as function of the following parameters: louver angles, louver width, louver pitch, fin pitch and Reynolds numbers. Moreover, this stage covers the use of Design of Experiments methodology together with sensitivity analyses in order to investigate the main and interaction effects among input variables on heat transfer rate and pressure loss, and optimization procedures via machine learning techniques to maximize the the heat transfer and minimize the required pumping power of the solar air heater duct. At third part of the project, one-dimensional numerical model of the solar air heater is developed for energetic, exergetic, economic and exergoeconomic investigations. Sensitivity analyses and thermo-economic optimization procedures are run in order to quantify the effect of environmental, geometrical and operating conditions of the solar air heaters with louvered fins on annual useful energy provided by the system, and to maximize this parameter submitted to the constrained condition of maximization of exereconomic parameter (¾_ex). Finally, at the fourth part of the project, the complete numerical model is employed for case studies focused on economic viability of the proposed solar air heaters on Brazilian agrobusiness applications. (AU)

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