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Innovative solar thermal diodes for use in adaptive/dynamic building envelopes


   Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

  Dr M Smyth, Dr Adrian Pugsley, Dr J Mondol, Dr A Zacharopoulos  Monday, February 27, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Over 30% of global final energy consumption can be attributed to residential and commercial sector buildings. To achieve Net/Near-Zero Energy Building commitments, building envelopes using adaptive/dynamic technologies will be instrumental in reducing energy consumption. Adaptive façade panels, switching between collection and heat retention modes (providing sustained solar heat to a building when needed and high levels of thermal insulation when not) can control the timing, direction and quantity of heat flow through the building envelope, theoretically reducing fabric heating (and cooling) demands by up to 50%.

The aim of this project is to develop an adaptive building façade technology based on pioneering work at Ulster University. The study will require the investigation of the thermal diode and its relationship to the panel, explored through theoretical and experimental study. The project will design and develop a panel concept with a suitable evaluation programme to characterise the technology and determine key techno-economic performance variables.

The main objectives of this PhD project are as follows:

  • Identify suitable materials, components and fabrication/assembly techniques for the concept design
  • Design and development of a concept prototype system(s)
  • Develop a suitable modelled representation of the system concept
  • Undertake experimental and theoretical analysis to determine the performance characteristics of the system
  • Undertake a parametric analysis to optimise the sizing of the system components
  • Compare the performance of the prototype system with conventional system/building components
  • Conduct a techno-economic analysis of the prototype system ​

References

Pugsley, A., Zacharopoulos, A., Mondol, J., & Smyth, M. (2019). Theoretical and experimental analysis of a horizontal planar Liquid-Vapour Thermal Diode (PLVTD). International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 144, 1-34. [118660]
Pugsley, A., Zacharopoulos, A., Deb Mondol, J., & Smyth, M. (2020). Vertical Planar Liquid-Vapour Thermal Diodes (PLVTD) and their application in building façade energy systems. Applied Thermal Engineering, 179, [115641].
Pugsley, A., Zacharopoulos, A., Deb Mondol, J., & Smyth, M. (2020). BIPV/T facades – A new opportunity for integrated collector-storage solar water heaters? Part 1: State-of-the-art, theory and potential. Solar Energy, 207, 317-335.
Pugsley, A., Zacharopoulos, A., Mondol, J. D., & Smyth, M. (2020). BIPV/T facades – A new opportunity for integrated collector-storage solar water heaters? Part 2: Physical realisation and laboratory testing. Solar Energy, 206, 751-769.

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