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Additive Aerodynamic and Thermal Effects of a Central Guide Post and Baffle Installed in a Solar Updraft Tower

by 1,†, 2,†, 1 and 1,2,*
1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Chung-Ang University, 84 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 06974, Korea
2
Department of Mechanical System Engineering, Graduate School, Chung-Ang University, 84 Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 06974, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
S.L. and S.K. are the co-first authors.
Energies 2019, 12(18), 3506; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12183506
Received: 2 August 2019 / Revised: 5 September 2019 / Accepted: 6 September 2019 / Published: 11 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Thermoelectric Generators)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar updraft tower; natural convection; central guide post; baffle; computational fluid dynamics (CFD); kinetic power; circulating flow solar updraft tower; natural convection; central guide post; baffle; computational fluid dynamics (CFD); kinetic power; circulating flow
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Lee, S.; Kim, S.; Chae, J.; Park, J.Y. Additive Aerodynamic and Thermal Effects of a Central Guide Post and Baffle Installed in a Solar Updraft Tower. Energies 2019, 12, 3506.

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