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Photovoltaic-thermal collectors and phase change material: A literature review with references to the Australian market

Kourvisianos, Gerasimos (2013) Photovoltaic-thermal collectors and phase change material: A literature review with references to the Australian market. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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This work considers the hybrid photovoltaic-thermal collector through a literature review of articles centering on design aspects, numerical modelling and system costs for a residential-commercial sized system. Excel modelling, using Florschuetz expressions, programme details and an energy balance simulation is explained. Module manufacturers have been researched and current product availability is listed in addition to complete system pricing. Australian solar policy is reviewed to explore current incentives and consider other possible supporting mechanisms. Australian climate variations are investigated and how this would best be engaged to exploit module’s co-generation capabilities.

The interaction of populations providing markets, acceptance of solar technology interpreted from installation percentages and the aforementioned Government incentives, all of which do not operate cohesively to provide appropriate placement of the solar equipment are reviewed. An energy simulation is conducted for three densely populated regions (Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne) offering a comparison of climatic differences and suggesting deployment based on the thermal and electric output. From this, a net present value analysis is employed that indicates factors that suit deployment viability.

With this in place, a review is undertaken of how the hybrid system may be augmented by designing in the use of phase change materials, used principally to reduce module temperature peaks during the day, consequently offering an opportunity to increase the stored thermal capacity and reduce module temperature. The concept is explored through a review of characteristic phase change material properties and research of the literature into its use with photovoltaic thermal systems. It is numerically modelled within the photovoltaic-thermal programme with the principal objective of realising an increase in electric yield. The trends in the systems temperature response are documented along with circumstances requiring further investigation to provide conclusive results from the combination of the two technologies.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor: Djordjevic, Sinisa
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