Application of the Software System of Finite Element Analysis for the Simulation and Design Optimization of Solar Photovoltaic Thermal Modules

Application of the Software System of Finite Element Analysis for the Simulation and Design Optimization of Solar Photovoltaic Thermal Modules

Vladimir Panchenko (Russian University of Transport, Russia), Sergey Chirskiy (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia) and Valeriy Vladimirovich Kharchenko (Federal Scientific Agroengineering Center VIM, Russia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1216-6.ch005


The chapter discusses the simulation of thermal operating conditions and the optimization of the design of solar photovoltaic thermal modules. As a realization of the developed method, two photovoltaic thermal modules with one-sided solar cells with one-sided heat removal and two-sided solar cells with two-sided heat removal are presented. The components of the developed models of solar modules must be optimized on the basis of the required indicators of the thermal mode of operation of the modules. For this task, a method has been developed for visualizing thermal processes using the Ansys system of finite element analysis, which has been used to research thermal modes of operation and to optimize the design of the modules created. With the help of the developed method, the temperature fields of the module components, coolant velocity and its flow lines in the developed models of a planar photovoltaic thermal roofing panel and a concentrator photovoltaic thermal two-sided module are visualized.
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The principle of creating a single device that provides simultaneous generation of electrical and thermal energy is the creation of a photovoltaic thermal module (PVTM) (Kharchenko, Panchenko, Tikhonov & Vasant, 2018), when the structure of such a module is provided by placing solar cells on a heated absorbing surface of a flat solar collector. The absorber in this design performs a dual function – firstly, it cools the photovoltaic panel, removing excess energy that is not involved in the generation of electricity, thereby increasing its efficiency, and secondly, it produces thermal energy (figure 1 at the top). Such photovoltaic thermal modules can be used both for autonomous and parallel with the power supply network of facilities (Gapeeva & Zhilenko, 2018; Solovyov, 2018; Sokut & Murovskaya, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Solar Radiation Intensity: The density of solar radiation (energy illumination), coming per unit area of the photoelectric module.

Cooling Radiator: A technical device used for removing heat for a liquid or gaseous coolant from a cooled object in order to cool the object and heat the coolant.

Computer-Aided Design System: An automated system that implements an information technology for performing design functions, is an organizational and technical system designed to automate the design process, consisting of personnel and a set of technical, software and other automation tools for its activities.

Receiving Surface: The surface of the photovoltaic module/solar collector/photovoltaic thermal module, which receives solar radiation.

Modeling: The study of objects on their models; building and studying models of real-life objects, processes or phenomena in order to obtain explanations of these phenomena, as well as to predict phenomena that interest the researcher.

Solar Collector: A device designed to heat the coolant (water, air, freon, antifreeze) using solar radiation.

Finite Element Analysis System: A software package based on a numerical method for solving partial differential equations, as well as integral equations arising in solving problems of applied physics, which is widely used to solve problems of deformable solid mechanics, heat exchange, hydrodynamics and electrodynamics.

Optimization: The process of maximizing profitable characteristics, ratios and minimizing costs.

Photovoltaic Thermal Module: A solar module, the design of which consists of photovoltaic solar cells for electrical conversion of solar radiation and heat absorber for their cooling and heat transfer to the coolant.

Solar Concentrator: A technical device designed to focus solar radiation into a focal spot with an increase in the concentration of solar radiation.

Solar Battery: A combination of photoelectric converters (photocells) – semiconductor devices that directly convert solar energy into direct electric current.

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