This paper presents a novel photovoltaic thermal system based on water absorption-desorption phenomenon using activated alumina. Experimental work for a promising photovoltaic thermal system that utilise activated alumina tablets as heat absorbing and storing element is presented. Based on the experimental results, electrical, thermal and combined energy efficiencies were calculated and compared with the stand-alone PV panel efficiency. Three identical systems -containing 10 cm depth saturated activated alumina mixed with aluminium mesh cuts-were attached to the back surface of simulated solar panel. The three systems were tested at 600, 800 and 1000 W/m2 for 6 consecutive working hours, representing sun shining time. Results showed a net energy efficiency of 57% and 53.6% at 600 W/m2 and 1000 W/m2 respectively. The electrical efficiency increased by 10.4% and 6.7% at 600 W/m2 and 1000 W/m2, respectively, compared with the stand-alone panel. This led to an increase in total energy generation by 309% and 319.5% at 600 W/m2 and 1000 W/m2 respectively, compared with stand-alone solar panel.
- solar panels
- activated alumina