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Thermal Science - Online First

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Research on the thermal and flow characteristics of novel microchannel PV/T collectors

A novel microchannel photovoltaic photothermal collector is investigated, comprising of photovoltaic cells and collectors. Its distinctive feature lies in the flow mode of its microchannels. The novel microchannel investigated in this study is composed of multiple drums, allowing for a non-parallel flow configuration. This distributional flow pattern facilitates enhanced contact between the water flow and the heat transfer surface, thereby resulting in significantly improved heat transfer efficiency. characteristics and flow properties are studied to enhance the thermoelectric performance and broaden the application scope of photovoltaic photothermal collector technology. This study focuses on parallel microchannels and three-passes microchannels for comparison, employing Ansys Fluent to simulate electrical and thermal efficiencies, temperature distribution, velocity field, and pressure field under typical operating conditions. The validity of the model is verified by comparing it with experimental panel surface temperature data. Within this framework, various inlet flow conditions are examined to investigate the collector's temperature profile, standard deviation of temperature distribution, pressure drops, and maximum velocity. Results indicate that under specific circumstances, the heat collection performance of parallel microchannel photovoltaic photothermal collectors is inferior to that of three-passes microchannel counterparts. Both types exhibit reduced efficiency during winter conditions; however, three-passes microchannels experience a more significant decline at 22.4%, compared to 19.7% for parallel microchannels. In terms of flow resistance characteristics, parallel microchannels demonstrate advantages in terms of pressure drops over three-passes configurations as they exhibit nearly 3935 Pa lower values under certain conditions. Regarding temperature uniformity in photovoltaic-photothermal systems, parallel microchannel collectors outperform their three-passes counterparts.
PAPER REVISED: 2023-07-15
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2023-10-03
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