The solar updraft tower (SUT) is a renewable power generation system that uses natural air convection from the ground that is heated by solar radiation. Placing flow-guide structures within the collector of the SUT can enhance aerodynamic performance, and hence, increase the kinetic power. Here, we propose a central guide post (CGP) structure in the SUT that controls updraft flow. The effect of the CGP geometry on aerodynamic performance was investigated using computational fluid dynamics modeling (ANSYS Fluent 19.2) to show that a CGP can play a positive role by preventing stagnation of the airflow at the center of the collector, resulting in increased kinetic power output (up to ~2%). However, excessively long CGPs retarded airflow, resulting in a dramatic decrease in kinetic power output. We also investigated a system with both a CGP (to improve aerodynamic performance and minimize energy loss) and a heat-exchange baffle (to maximize thermal energy transfer). When installed with a proper distance between components, the CGP and baffle showed a combined effect of increasing the kinetic power output by up to 10%. We expect that our proposed method using the CGP and baffle system will contribute to the development of better future SUT technology.
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