Optimization of an air-cooled heat sink for cooling of a solar photovoltaic panel: A computational study

Khushbu Mankani, Hassam Nasarullah Chaudhry, John Kaiser Calautit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rapidly increasing global energy demand and resulting climate change effects have enhanced the integration of renewable systems such as solar photovoltaics into the built environment. For countries with hot climates, despite vast applications and numerous technological advancements, lower efficiencies of the solar panels due to high temperature is still a major disadvantage affecting the feasibility of using photovoltaic technology. This study analyses the cooling performance of air-cooled heat sinks for the climate of Dubai, UAE, using Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD). A stepwise optimization study was conducted to investigate the effects of varying fin spacing, baseplate thickness, fin height and fin thickness on the heat dissipation rate. Further, the elemental properties of the heat sink were studied by altering its material to aluminium. The base-model heat sink could reduce PV cell temperature by 27 °C in an ambient temperature of 42 °C. The optimized fin spacing, baseplate thickness, fin height and fin thickness of 7, 0.0025 m, 0.12 m and 0.002 m further reduced the average panel temperatures by 3.5%, 4% and 9% respectively. The use of copper as an effective heat sink material was concluded compared to aluminium that conversely increased the average panel temperature by 2% despite the use of optimized heat sink structure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112274
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Volume270
Early online date25 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • ANSYS Fluent
  • CFD
  • Heat dissipation
  • Heat sink
  • Operating temperature
  • Photovoltaic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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