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Title: Experimental and computational study of a solar powered hydrogen production system for domestic cooking applications in developing economies
Authors: Topriska, Evangelia Vasiliki
Advisors: Kolokotroni, M
Keywords: Renewable energy systems simulation;Proton exchange membrane electrolysis;TRNSYS software;Weather data analysis and solar hydrogen potential maps;Developing economies energy surveys and studies
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: In many developing economies, a high percentage of domestic energy demand is for cooking based on fossil and biomass fuels. Their use has serious health consequences affecting almost 3 billion people. Cleaner cooking systems have been promoted in these countries such as solar cooking and smokeless stoves with varying degrees of success. In parallel, solar electrolytic hydrogen systems have been developed and increasingly used during the last 25 years for electricity, heat and automobile fueling applications. This study has developed and tested experimentally in the laboratory a solar hydrogen plant numerical model suitable for small communities, to generate and store cooking fuel. The numerical model was developed in TRNSYS and consists of PV panels supplying a PEM electrolyser of 63.6% measured stack efficiency and hydrogen storage in metal hydride cylinders for household distribution. The model includes novel components for the operation of the PEM electrolyser, its controls and the metal hydride storage, developed based on data of hydrogen generation, stack temperature and energy use from a purpose constructed small-scale experimental rig. The model was validated by a second set of experiments that confirmed the accurate prediction of hydrogen generation and storage rates under direct power supply from PV panels. Based on the validated model, large-scale case studies for communities of 20 houses were developed. The system was sized to generate enough hydrogen to provide for typical domestic cooking demand for three case-studies; Jamaica, Ghana and Indonesia. The daily cooking demands were calculated to be 2.5kWh/day for Ghana, 1.98kWh/day for Jamaica and 2kWh/day for Indonesia using data mining and a specific quantitative survey for Ghana. The suitability of weather data used in the model was evaluated through Finkelstein Schafer statistics based on composite and recent weather data and by comparing simulation results. A difference of 0.9% indicated that the composite data can be confidently used. Simulations results indicate that a direct connection system to the PV plant rather than using a battery is the optimal design option based on increased efficiency and associated costs. They also show that on average 10tonnes of CO2/year/household can be saved by replacing biomass fuel with hydrogen. The potential of total savings in the three case-study countries is shown in the form of novel solar hydrogen potential maps. The results of this study are a contribution towards better understanding the use of hydrogen systems and enhancing their role in renewable energy policy.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London.
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering Theses

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