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Numerical simulation of thermal and airflow analysis in a flat unglazed transpired solar collector (UTC)

Sarat Maharana, Sajna Panigrahi


There is a strong need to save energy and environment globally. There are myriad attempts being made to fructify ideas of energy saving activities into reality for a better living in the world today.
One of the ideas is to replace conventional building cladding with a system that generates electricity and heat in an area that, until recently, has received only limited attention. Though the potential energy and cost savings from integrated and optimized solar technologies are high the attempt be made to demonstrate the energy saving method. The unglazed transpired solar collectors, known as UTCs( flat or corrugated) are one system that helps in saving and leveraging a good amount of solar energy for common use. They are installed as the exterior layer of the building facade with a narrow gap beneath it. The cladding absorbs solar radiation, thus heating up the suction fan-driven air flowing through the perforations. In these systems, the hot air is collected at the outlet and it can be used to preheat ventilation air, fed into an air source heat pump to preheat domestic hot water and/or provide cooling using desiccants or absorption technology, thus satisfying part of the building’s heating and cooling requirements. The interest to understand the heat generated by UTC and the heat carried by the air passing through the perforated UTC when the approach flow is changing from laminar to turbulent has gathered a lot of momentum to investigate the problem computationally and then validate the outcome with the data from literature.

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