Victor H. Benitez, Jesús Pacheco-Ramirez, Nun Pitalua-Diaz

Abstract

This paper presents the modeling and control of an array of mini-heliostats developed for a solar central tower plant facility located outside of Hermosillo, Mexico. In order to deal with the real time implementation, an algorithm to significantly reduce the error that emerges in the solar tracking requirements is presented. Heliostats are oriented to reflect solar beam to a central receiver located in top of a tower. The heliostat tracks the apparent sun position with determined periodicity. A digital controller perform the tasks of calculate the control action to drive the actuators. The real time implementation of the control action introduces numerical issues that deviates the solar ray of the desired position. Results show that the proposed control strategy is able to track the solar sun position. The controller is implemented in real time via LabVIEW computational environment and is applied in a solar tower plant facility.

Developing a Mini-heliostat Array for a Solar Central Tower Plant: A Practical Experience

Publicado en Revistas Arbitradas

M. Montiel-González, J.F. Hinojosa, H.I. Villafán-Vidales, A. Bautista-Orozco, C.A. Estrada.

Abstract

In this work a theoretical and experimental study of heat transfer by natural convection and thermal radiation on a solar open cubic cavity-type receiver is presented. The theoretical study consists on solving the laminar natural convection and the surface thermal radiation on a square open cavity at one end. The overall continuity, momentum, and energy equations in primitive variables are solved numerically by using the finite-volume method and the SIMPLEC algorithm. The thermophysical properties of the fluid are considered, for the first case, as temperature dependent in all the governing equations, and for the second case, constant, except for the density at the buoyancy term (Boussinesq approximation), with the purpose of comparing the results of both theoretical models with experimentally obtained results. Numerical calculations are conducted for Rayleigh number (Ra) values in the range of 104–106. The temperature difference between the hot wall and the bulk fluid (ΔT) is varied between 10 and 400 K, and is represented as a dimensionless temperature difference (φ) for the purpose of generalization of the trends observed. Experimental results include air temperature measurements inside the receiver. These results are compared with theoretically obtained air temperatures, and the average deviation between both results is around 3.0%, when using the model with variable thermophysical properties, and is around 5.4% when using the Boussinesq approximation.

Theoretical and experimental study of natural convection with surface thermal radiation in a side open cavity

Publicado en Revistas Arbitradas
Domingo, 14 Junio 2015 14:09

Solar production of WO3: a green approach

H.I. Villafán-Vidales, A. Jiménez-González, A. Bautista-Orozco, C.A. Arancibia-Bulnes, C.A. Estrada.

Abstract

The tungsten trioxide (WO3) is a promising material with important technologic and scientific applications, due to its electrochromic, gasochromic and photochromic properties. Usually, this material is synthesized following several routes, for example, sputtering, chemical deposition, sol-gel, hydrothermal, among others. However, these methods are complicated, have long processing times and use several chemicals with the possibility of keeping undesirable impurities. In this context, concentrated solar energy is an interesting and feasible option to process materials at a low cost and without greenhouse gas emissions. In this work, a simple and green synthesis method of WO3 by using the Solar Furnace of the Renewable Energy Institute of the National University of Mexico is presented. Tungsten oxide powder is obtained by means of tungsten electrodes in a high-temperature solar reaction chamber designed to work with concentrated solar energy under controlled conditions of the gas atmosphere. The oxidation reaction was carried out for three different temperatures: 600°C, 800°C and 1000°C, and for each temperature three different oxygen molar fractions were studied: 0.33, 0.41 and 1. Some results indicate the oxygen molar fraction does not affect the phase transformation and the WO3 triclinic was the most stable phase, appearing in all the temperature ranges and concentrations. The synthesis reported in this paper is presented as a green alternative in the development of processes for the synthesis of WO3, which promote renewable energy sources with very low greenhouse gas emissions and without toxic residuals.

Solar production of WO3: a green approach

Publicado en Revistas Arbitradas

H.I. Villafán-Vidales, S. Abanades, M. Montiel-González, H. Romero-Paredes, C.A. Arancibia-Bulnes, C.A. Estrada.

Abstract

A 1 kWth cavity-type solar reactor devoted to the thermal reduction of volatile oxides as part of a two-step thermochemical cycle is analyzed numerically. The thermochemical reactor consists of a vertical-axis cavity-type receiver in which the reactant is injected from the bottom in the form of an ascending rod made of a stack of zinc oxide compressed pellets undergoing thermal dissociation. A transient heat transfer model allows the simulation of the thermal behavior under real conditions for the rod of reacting particles exposed to concentrated solar radiation. The developed numerical model couples radiation, conduction and convection heat transfers to the kinetic of the reaction. The incident solar irradiation on the reactant surface is obtained using the Monte-Carlo ray tracing technique applied first to the solar concentrator and second to the reactor cavity. The model is used to predict the temperature profile from the irradiated front surface of the compressed reactant, the evolution of outlet oxygen molar flow-rate during the reduction reaction and the instantaneous thermochemical efficiency, as a function of time. The calculated results are compared with the experimentally obtained data. The agreement between experimental data and simulation related to both the temperature and the oxygen progress is fairly good with Ea = 380 kJ mol−1 and k0 = 246 × 106 mol m−2 s−1 for the kinetics of the ZnO dissociation reaction.

Transient heat transfer simulation of a 1 kWth moving front solar thermochemical reactor for thermal dissociation of compressed ZnO

Publicado en Revistas Arbitradas

R. Pérez-Enciso, E. Brito-Bazan, C.A. Pérez-Rábago, C.A. Arancibia-Bulnes, D. Riveros-Rosas, C.A. Estrada.

Abstract

This paper discusses the methods implemented for the solution of the drift and backlash problems in the heliostat of the High Radiative Flux Solar Furnace recently built at the Renewable Energy Institute (former Center for Energy Research) of the National University of Mexico (IER-UNAM), located at the geographical coordinates 18°50′24″ North latitude and 99°15′00″ West longitude. To solve the observed drift, several algorithms were analyzed for the calculation of the solar vector, and a closed loop through an electronic device (peephole) was implemented which makes corrections to the position of the heliostat. Using the peephole, drift heliostat decreased significantly; 70% in the horizontal direction and 63% in the vertical direction relative to the no use of peephole. The backlash was corrected by means of unbalancing the heliostat.

Correction of the concentrated sunlight spot´s drift of the IER-UNAM´s solar furnace

Publicado en Revistas Arbitradas

Elisa Alonso, Carlos Pérez-Rábago, Javier Licurgo, Edward Fuentealba, Claudio A. Estrada.

Abstract

Thermochemical redox processes are currently considered one of the most promising methods for thermal storage of solar energy. Among the different types of materials available for this purpose, metal oxides allow higher operation temperatures in CSP systems. This is in agreement with the new R&D trends that focus on increasing the temperature to augment the efficiency. Copper oxide was previously proposed as a valid metal oxide for thermochemical storage. However, no demonstrative experiments had been carried out so far under solar radiation. In this work, the suitability of copper oxide was proved in a solar furnace. The employed solar reactor was a rotary kiln device with direct radiation absorption on reactive particles, which is a configuration that guarantees higher operation temperatures than other types of solar reactors. Given results include the performance of the CuO reduction in the rotary kiln under argon atmosphere and the cyclability of the pair CuO/Cu2O in air.

First experimental studies of solar redox reactions of copper oxides for thermochemical energy storage

Publicado en Revistas Arbitradas

L.G. Ceballos-Mendivil, R.E. Cabanillas-López, J.C. Tánori-Córdova, R. Murrieta-Yescas, C.A. Pérez-Rábago, H.I. Villafán-Vidales, C.A. Arancibia-Bulnes, C.A. Estrada.

Abstract

Silicon carbide (SiC) has been prepared successfully using concentrated solar energy provided by the IER-UNAM solar furnace. This has led to the development of a low CO2 emissions process for the production of this material via carbothermic reduction of a silica/carbon (SiO2/C) nanocomposite, which has shown a more reactive carbon for formation of composite, being more thermally stable. Silica (obtained by a sol–gel process) and sucrose were used as precursors of silicon and carbon, respectively, at a temperature of 700 °C in controlled atmosphere (nitrogen) for the formation of the SiO2/C composite. This composite was used in a second step to obtain SiC at a temperature of 1500 °C, in argon atmosphere. The experimental setup used a Pyrex® glass spherical vessel designed to work with concentrated solar power and controlled atmospheres. The structure and morphology of the solar obtained SiC were analyzed with FTIR, XRD, TGA/DSC, SEM and TEM techniques. Results show that it is feasible to use concentrated solar energy for the synthesis of SiC. The solar SiC obtained is nanostructured and is mainly β-SiC.

Synthesis of silicon carbide using concentrated solar energy

Publicado en Revistas Arbitradas

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