Conference Paper

Remote Monitoring of Thermal Performance of Salinity Gradient Solar Ponds

RMIT Univ., Melbourne, VIC, Australia
DOI: 10.1109/DSD.2009.221 Conference: Digital System Design, Architectures, Methods and Tools, 2009. DSD '09. 12th Euromicro Conference on
Source: IEEE Xplore

ABSTRACT In this paper details of the design, construction and operation of a remotely monitored data acquisition system for applications in salinity gradient solar ponds is presented. The parameters which are observed include temperature, density, Ph, and water turbidity. The problem to be solved here was the inefficient approach in data collection, which involved frequent human presence at the site of the solar pond. Following that, was an inability to apply any kind of sophisticated automation. The use of a sensor network and remote monitoring is the first step in the full development of a comprehensive solution for the control of the green energy production. The obtained data will assist to better and more conveniently monitor thermal performance of the salinity gradient solar ponds, and calculate its efficiency as a solar energy collector.

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    ABSTRACT: Solar ponds combine solar energy collection with long-term storage and can provide reliable thermal energy at temperature ranges from 50 to 90 °C. A solar pond consists of three distinct zones. The first zone, which is located at the top of the pond and contains the less dense saltwater mixture, is the absorption and transmission region, also known as the upper convective zone (UCZ). The second zone, which contains a variation of saltwater densities increasing with depth, is the gradient zone or non-convective zone (NCZ). The last zone is the storage zone or lower convective zone (LCZ). In this region, the density is uniform and near saturation. The stability of a solar pond prototype was experimentally performed. The setup is composed of an acrylic tube with a hot plate emulating the solar thermal energy input. A study of various salinity gradients was performed based on the Stability Margin Number (SMN) criterion, which is used to satisfy the dynamic stability criterion. It was observed that erosion of the NCZ was accelerated due to mass diffusion and convection in the LCZ. It can be determined that for this prototype the density of the NCZ is greatly affected as the SMN reaches 1.5.
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