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Energy Procedia 18 (2012) 496 - 506

The potential of earth-air heat exchangers for low energy cooling of buildings in South Algeria

Abdelkrim.Sehli , Abdelhafid.Hasni, Mohammed.Tamali

Energy Systems Laboratory in arid zone; Bechar University; BP No. 417, 08000, Bechar, Algeria

Abstract

A one-dimensional steady numerical model is proposed to estimate the performance of earth-to-air heat exchangers, installed at different depth, used for building cooling/heating. Two parameters are considered to evaluate the performance of the system (Reynolds number and the form factor). With appropriate simplifications; Numerical simulation treatment is proposed to predict the temperature fields of the fluids in the pipe and the soil in the proximity of the buried pipe, taking into account meteorological data of south Algeria. Moreover, the agreement with some experimental data available in the literature is very satisfactory.

© 20122 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of The TerraGreen Society.

Keywords: Earth-to-air heat exchanger, numerical simulation, Turbulence k-s model

1. Introduction

Background

The achievement of indoor thermal comfort whilst minimizing energy consumption in buildings is a key aim in most countries and is a particular challenge in desert climates. The desert climate can be classified as hot and arid and such conditions exist in a number of areas throughout the world [1, 9]. One such area is South Algeria, with an average ambient temperature of around 45°C during summer months. In general, most people feel comfortable indoors when the temperature is between 22 and 26°C and relative humidity is within the range of 30-50%. Such conditions are often achieved through the use of air-conditioning in desert climates; hence there is a significant use of energy in the domestic air conditioning sector. Methods of reducing this energy demand would thus have clear economic and

Corresponding author. Tel.: +213 7 70125851. E-mail address: abdelkrim.sehli@yahoo.fr.

1876-6102 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of The TerraGreen Society. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2012.05.061

environmental benefits. In South Algeria, domestic air-conditioning operates from the beginning of May to the end of September and buildings in this sector consume about 75-80% of the total electric power,

The average electricity peak load for the months May-September is 45% higher than the yearly average electricity peak load. For these reasons it would be beneficial to investigate earth-air heat exchangers as auxiliary cooling devices together with air-conditioning.

Cooling the outdoor air through buried pipes by means of an earth-air heat exchanger (EAHE) has been known for many years to have potential for increasing a building's comfort whilst decreasing its energy demand [1]. There are many reported experimental and analytical studies on EAHE; however the use of EAHE systems for buildings has not been investigated in the case of desert climates like that of South Algeria. The EAHE (or earth cooling pipe) functions by transferring heat from the sub-soil environment to air flowing in a buried pipe. In summer this provides pre-cooling of the outdoor ventilation air, which serves to reduce the cooling load of the building.

Amara et al [2] studied the ancient Fouggara system and investigated its possible use as a source for heating, cooling and ventilation of buildings.

The Fouggara consistes of:

• The source where the water seeps into the channel from a ground water source,

• An underground channel which brings the water to its intended destination,

• An over ground channel which leads to a network of channels feeding the water to particular areas or fields for irrigation.

Since the Fouggara is at a depth below ground surface where the seasonal temperature changes do not reach, the Fouggara temperature is close to the annual mean air temperature. In Adrar in the south of Algeria the mean annual temperature is 21°C. Pumping air through the Fouggara means that the air temperature will approach this temperature.

Moummi et al [3] presented an analytical model of the earth cooling pipe, the results were compared with experimental data obtained in south Algeria (university of Biskra).

Nomenclature

T Temperature, °C

U X velocity, m/s

V Y velocity, m/s

E Dimensionless turbulent kinetic energy dissipation

K Dimensionless turbulent kinetic energy

Re Reynolds number

Pr Brandt number

vT Turbulent viscosity, m2/s

S Form factor

2. The desert climate of South Algeria

South Algeria is typical of a dry desert climate with the highest air temperature being recorded in July and August with an afternoon average maximum of 45°C. Summer starts at the beginning of May and continues until the end of September, with a mean air temperature of 37 °C [4]. In addition, the air is generally dry. In winter, the weather is comfortably cool, generally mild, with a monthly mean temperature of 10°C, and a minimum temperature recorded being occasionally below 1°C.

3. Principle of The earth to air heat exchanger (EAHE)

The principle of the EAHE is that a pipe or several pipes buried in the ground. One end of the pipe system (the inlet) acts as the entrance for outdoor ambient air, whilst the other end of the pipe system (the outlet) releases air to the interior of a building. Ambient air is drawn into the pipe inlet, the air travelling through the pipe exchanging heat with the pipe walls which are in contact with the surrounding underground environment. In this way, heat is transferred to or from the surrounding soil by conduction through the pipe wall and convection with the tunnel air, tempering the air as it flows through the pipe Fig. 1 illustrates this concept.

Fig. 1: Simplified diagram of earth to air heat exchanger

To find the temperature at the outlet of the pipe, we follow the diagram below Fig.2

S ci 111 I i Algeria weathier data

Soil t e m pi e ra t u ire mode

Tem pertau re of soi

at different depths

Boundary conditions

ET I—IE mode

I I ■ I I I 11 outlet a i r te m perature

Fig 2: Prediction of the outlet air temperature of ETHE diagram 3.1. Soil temperature model:

According to the previous works; experimental, numerical and analytical solutions gives good agreements. For this reasons, in this present paper, we use only the analytical solutions [6,10]

- The soil surrounding the pipe is isotropy, with homogenous thermal conductivity in all ground.

- The surface temperature of the ground can be approximated to the ambient air temperature, which equals the inlet air temperature because the soil thermal conductivity depends on the soil moisture and decreases for dry soils. Therefore for dry and arid soils the heat storage capacity of the ground is much smaller (case south Algeria) [5].

Tm : The mean annual ground temperature.

T0 : The temperature wave amplitude at the ground surface (z=0).

to : The frequency of the annual temperature wave.

Table1: physical properties of sandy

Soil type Sandy

X sol : Thermal conductivity (W/m. °C) 2.01

Cpsol: specific heat (J/kg. °C) 1380

p : density (kg/m3) 2300

a: thermal diffiisivity (m2/s) 6.333X10-7

3.2. ETHE model:

Air flow Fig. 3 in the pipe is turbulent and its can be considered as incompressible flow. The governing equations for the mass, momentum and energy can simplified as equations (2-6) with the assumption:

Ö Air( Pr,Re)

T outlet

Fig 3 : simplified diagram of the pipe

• The flow and heat transfer are one-dimensional (only X direction)

• Viscous dissipation and work of pressure forces are negligible

• The physical properties of the fluid are constant

• The fluid is Newtonian and incompressible.

• Steady state flow

Is adopted for the closure of our model k-e low Refolds number proposed by Jones and Launde[7]. The dimensionless quantities used are:

X = * y = I u=-- V=- E = e4 q = ^— s=-

L D u0 uo ug ug Tin-Twall D

udJL+ 3_u_=a_

ax dY dY

dj_ as = _a_

dX dY dY

(— + vr) —1 - —

\Re TJ dY! dX ( S , vr\ sei

\RePr PrJ dYl

4. Turbulence modeling

Using the K-e at low number de Reynolds

dX dY dY lAfle akJ 37 J ' \dxj < y

U?l + V— = —\(— + ^H*\ + c1f1-vT Ptf- Ce2f2~ (6)

dX dY dY l\Re aEJ dYl elJ1 K 1 \dY J eZJZK 1/

ClifliK2 Vt=—e~

Correction functions^ ,f2,^ and constants used in equations (5~ 6) are those proposed by R. Saim et al [8], and also the coefficient ^

4.1. Boundary conditions

At the entrance of the channel(X=0)

u = i ,v = o,e = o ,k = o.oo3 et e = —

Solid Wall of the duct:

u = 0,7 = 0,0 = 1

At exist of the channel (X=1):

de dK dE U = V = 0'aY = 0'3Y = 0'3Y = 0

4.2. Mesh development

The computational domain is discredited to two smoothly adjacent regions, i.e., the boundary layer with a fine grid and the outer region with a relatively coarse one.

4.3. Technical solution:

This study used a fully structured finite volume CFD solver, for simulation. The SIMPLE algorithm is applied for the pressure-velocity coupling in the segregated solver. A second order upwind scheme is adopted for the discretization of the governing equations. The convergence criteria for all variables were set are 10-4 except for energy to be 10-6.

5. Results and Discussions

5.1. Soil temperature model

- 2 11

-in -in - jrn

- : : :

: : : :

: : : :

Time (hours)

Fig 4: Soil temperature during the year soil type: Sand at different depths

The application of Eq(1) considering the input parameters presented in table1,allows the prediction and measured soil temperatures at depths 1 ,2,3,4 and 5 m are presented in (fig4) .It has been shown that the suitable depth for the installation of the earth to air heat exchanger system is 4m. At this level ,the predicted and measured sub soil temperatures range from 22°C to 23°C.

5.2. ETHE model

The effects of three parameters (Reynolds number, installation depth and form factor) significantly affecting the performance of an ETHE system were investigated through the parametric analysis.

5.3. Model validation

The model developed was validated by experimental data recorded by Moumi et al [3] at university of Biskra in south Algeria. The detailed input parameters for the comparison to experimental studies are described in table 2. As can be seen, the results show good agreement.

Table 2: Input parameters for comparative validation

Pipe length 60 m

Pipe diameter 0,21m

Air velocity 3.79 m/s

Kinematic viscosity 16,96x10-6 m2/s

Input temperature 37°C

Soil temperature (z=4m) 24°C

Length (m)

Fig 5: Outlet temperature vs length: Comparison our results and the results of Moummi N. et al, [3]. Table 3: The parameters used for numerical simulation

Name Expression Value Description

Sigma L /D 250-1000 Form factor

Re 2500-10000 Reynold number

Pr 0,71 Prandt number

Tin 42°C Input temperature

Twall 23°C Wall Temperature

5.4. Influence of pipe depth

Figs. 6 show the influence of pipe depth under the ground surface. As the pipe depth increases, the outlet air temperature decrease, indicating that the ETHE should be placed as deeply as possible. However, the trenching cost and other economic factors should be considered when installing earth to air heat exchanger.

5.5. Influence of form factor sigma ( 8 = jp

Figs.6 presents the effect of pipe factor form on the outlet air temperature at the highest ambient air temperature (45°C).As the form factor increases, the outlet air temperature decreases due to the fact that the longer pipe provides a longer path over which heat transfer between the pipe and the surrounding can take place given the same overall heat coefficient of earth tube.

5.6. Influence of Reynolds number

Figs.6 presents the effect of Reynolds number on the outlet air temperature of earth to air heat exchanger. As the Reynolds number increase, the outlet air temperature increases, since the air spends more less in the tube and thus in contact with lower soil temperature.

Fig 6: Variation of outlet temperature (° C) vs Re for different sigma (factor of the form) and for depth z=4m

To avoid an increasing of the pumping power of the ventilator which installed at the end of the pipe Fig. 1, we are plotted the heat loss vs Reynolds number at different form factor Fig 7.

Reynolds Number

Fig 7 : AP pressure drop (N/m2) vs. Re-sigma vary-

6. Conclusion

In this paper an earth to air heat exchanger model has been presented. The model was validated against other studies: Moumi et al [3]. The validation process shows that the proposed EAHE model does agree with the previous model with respect to the input parameters given and is therefore considered to be appropriate for simulation the thermal behavior of an EAHE of the design examined.

• The depth z=4m for EAHE can be used for both refresh and heating the buildings.

• The geometry for form factor equal 250 can be used

• The EAHE system alone cannot maintain indoor thermal comfort, but it could be used to reduce energy demand in domestic building in south Algeria if used in conjunction with an air conditioning system

References

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[2] S.Amara et al, Using Fouggara for Heating and Cooling Buildings in Sahara, Energy Procedia 6 (2011) 55-64

[3] N.Moummi et al, Le rafraichissement par la géothermie : étude théorique et expérimentale dans le site de Biskra, Revue des Energies Renouvelables, Vol 13 N°3 (201à) 399-406

[4] N.Fezzioui et al, Influence des caractéristiques dynamiques de l'enveloppe d'un bâtiment sur le confort thermique au sud d'Algérie, Revue des Energies Renouvelables, Vol 11 №1 (2008) 25-34

[5] G.Mihalakakou, On the application of the energy balance equation to prediction ground temperature profiles, solar energy 60(1997)181-190

[6] H.Ben Jmaa Derbel and O.Kanoun, Investigation of the ground thermal potential in Tunisia focused towards heating and cooling applications, Applied thermal engineering(2010)

[7] Jones W.P. and Launder B.E... (1972);The prediction of laminarization with a two-equation model of turbulence; Int. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, pp. 15-301.

[8] R.Saim, Simulation Numérique de la convection force turbulente dans les échangeurs de chaleur a faisceau et calandre munis des chicannes transversales, Algerian Journal of Applied Fluid Mechanics, Vol 2(2007)-ISNN 1718-5130

[9] Shingari BK, Earth tube heat transfer exchanger,Poulty International 1995 ;34 (PT 14 ):92-7

[10] J.Taine J.P Petit, Transferts thermiques, Dunod,Paris 1995