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Optimization of thermal insulation of a small-scale experimental solar pond

Authors:

N. W. K. Jayatissa ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
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R. Attalage,

University of Moratuwa, LK
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Prabath Hewageegana,

University of Kelaniya, LK
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P. A. A. Perera,

University of Kelaniya, LK
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M. A. Punyasena

University of Kelaniya
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Abstract

A small-scale experimental salinity-gradient solar pond, which will be utilized for the research and development in harnessing solar energy for desalination of seawater and generation of electricity, has been constructed. The pond has effective length, width and depth of 3.0 m, 2.0 m and 2.0 m, respectively, covering a volume capacity of 12.0 m3. Thermal insulation plays a major role for the successful operation of a salinity-gradient solar pond, especially when the dimensions of the pond are relatively small. The construction details of the solar pond, with particular attention to the methodologies adapted for the thermal insulation, are reported in the present work. The expected total rate of heat loss due to conduction through the thermally insulated boundary walls, assuming a bottom temperature of 90ºC, has been calculated and found to be 106.3 W. Contribution from the bottom convective zone itself to this total rate of heat loss is 69 W, which corresponds to 65% of the total value. Based on this rate, the estimated temperature drop during the period with no solar radiation present in a typical day is only 0.3ºC. With such a small temperature drop, it is possible to extract the thermal energy stored in the bottom convective zone during the day time, continuously, while maintaining the stability of the solar pond.

Keywords: Salinity-gradient solar pond; thermal insulation; desalination

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/sljp.v13i1.4212

Sri Lankan Journal of Physics, Vol. 13(1) (2012) 49-57

How to Cite: Jayatissa, N.W.K. et al., (2012). Optimization of thermal insulation of a small-scale experimental solar pond. Sri Lankan Journal of Physics. 13(1), pp.49–57. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljp.v13i1.4212
Published on 19 Jul 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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