Special Issue "Solar Technologies for Buildings"
A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2017)
Prof. Dr. Xudong Zhao
Director of Research, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: solar thermal and power generation technologies and systems; PV/thermal; heating and cooling; energy efficiency; heat and mass transfer
Prof. Dr. Yanping Yuan
Deputy Dean, School of Mechanical Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China
Interests: built environment for underground space; phase change materials; heat and mass transfer; solar thermal and power generation; heat pumps; refrigeration; air conditioning
It is well known that the global energy demand is continuously growing, and buildings are consuming one third of the total energy supply in developed countries and one-fourth in developing countries. Reducing energy demands and making good use of renewable energy are considered to be a major route towards a low energy and sustainable future, in particular, for the building sector.
Solar technologies have been well explored for many years, and solar photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal, and hybrid photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) are regarded as the most feasible renewable solutions for building applications. Solar thermal, as the most mature technology among all currently available solar technologies, is proven to have relatively higher solar conversion efficiency, two to four times higher than that of PV systems. Furthermore, solar thermal technology, owing to the wide range of applications and the massive scale production at a global level, can obtain a much shorter payback period compared to its lifetime.
PV is currently a technically and commercially mature technology, able to generate and supply short/mid-term electricity using solar energy. Although the current PV installations are still small and provide only 0.1% of world total electricity generation, a market review has indicated that global PV installations are growing at an average annual rate of 40%. With continuous technical advances, increased installation volume, reduced prices and encouraging legal policies, PV will certainly continue growing at a quick pace and will eventually become an important energy supplier in the world. It was predicted by IEA (International Energy Agency), at its recent Technology Roadmap–Solar Photovoltaic Energy that, PV will deliver about 5% of the global power need by 2030 and 11% by 2050. The accelerated use of PV will result in more than 100 giga-tons (Gt) of CO2 emission reduction during the period of time between 2008 and 2050.
PV/T is a hybrid technology combining PV and solar thermal components into a single module to enhance the solar conversion efficiency of the module and to make economic use of the space. A PV/T module can simultaneously generate electricity and heat, and therefore takes advantages of both the PV and solar thermal technologies. The dual functions of the PV/T result in a higher overall solar conversion rate than that of only PV or solar collectors, and thus enable a more effective use of solar energy. Its market potential is, therefore, expected to be higher than individual PV and solar thermal systems. The current PV/T systems use water or refrigerant as working fluids; neither are ideal choices as (1) water provides a high pressure drop and thus needs greater pump power; (2) a refrigerant has the problems of liquid boiling and imbalanced distribution. Moreover, the combination of PV cells and the thermal panel is imperfect, owing to their uneven contact surface and different thermal and physical properties, which lead to a high contact resistance, low thermal and electrical efficiencies and potential risk of PV cell and wire separation. To overcome these difficulties, significant research in PV/T has been carried out, and numerous achievements are being reported.
Solar systems comprise various components that, when brought together, enable a smart and stablized energy supply to buildings. Among those, the most prominent elements are phase change materials and intelligent control and monitoring technologies, which help create the stablized, efficient, and cost effective energy supply to buildings, and allow for a stable, automated, and energy-efficient system operation. Furthermore, modular fabrication and building combinations are also important measures to achieve true building integration of solar thermal and power systems.
We invite investigators to contribute original research articles, as well as review articles, that will stimulate the continuous efforts on understanding the operational principles of the various building-applicable solar thermal and power technologies and systems. We are particularly interested in articles describing new materials, methods, theories, or practical innovations that can help enhance the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar systems. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
- Solar thermal systems: domestic hot water, space heating and cooling
- Photovoltaic (PV) and building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technologies
- Photovoltaic/Thermal (PVT) technologies
- Solar thermal energy storage systems, including PCMs
- Thermal management system using intelligent control and monitoring measures
- Building integration methods for solar technologies and associated performance characterization.
Prof. Dr. Xudong Zhao
Prof. Dr. Yanping Yuan
Manuscript Submission Information
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- solar thermal
- solar power
- Heat storage
- intelligence system