Experimental and Numerical Analysis of Ambient Crosswind Effects on a Floating Solar Chimney Power Plant Performance

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic), 424, Hafez Ave., Tehran-Iran.


Floating solar chimney (FSC) power plant is a novel kind of solar thermal technologies which uses the buoyant airflow and chimney (stack) effect to make an artificial airflow and generate electricity from aero-turbines. Also FSC has the capability of economic competition with conventional and other renewable power plants. Considering the FSC structure, it is obvious that, ambient cross wind (ACW) has significant influence on the FSC performance. The main purpose of this study is an investigation on the effect of ACW on updraft airflow inside a FSC which is a considerable parameter on system performance. In addition, FSC operation has been analyzed at different tilt angles when exposed to external crosswind. Hence, a geometrical model consisting of FSC and its surrounding ambience is simulated and mathematical model is proposed to demonstrate the fluid flow, heat transfer and performance of entire system are further developed. The variation of FSC updraft velocity is analyzed in different ACW velocities. In this research, design and construction of a small-scale (laboratory model) floating solar chimney is performed and numerical results are verified with experimental setup data. Analysis of numerical simulation indicates that when the ACW is relatively weak, it will deteriorate the updraft air flow velocity of fixed solar chimney or vertical floating chimney due to the tip vortices effects. Increasing the tilt angle of the floating chimney causes a decrease in tip vortices formation and finally make a considerable improvement in updraft velocity compared to the fixed (vertical) chimney. Although inclination of the floating chimney decreases the physical height, the performance of FSC is better than fixed type due to the reduction of the tip vortices effect in windy conditions. The present work can be useful to predict the performance of large-scale FSC by considering the influence of ACW.