Development of an Expander for Residential Solar Thermal Power Generation
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Research Theses; 2011
Currently, the U.S. is heavily dependent on the use of fossil fuels. In recent years, there has been a large push for increased implementation of renewable energy sources. Solar power is an attractive alternative energy source because of the virtually limitless supply of sunlight. Solar thermal power is created by concentrating sunlight to heat a working fluid and implementing the Rankine cycle to generate electricity. The systems are less suited for residential scale power generation because turbines that are used to expand the working fluid and turn the generators on a utility scale are do not scale well for small systems. The lack of a good option for a small-scale expansion device has led to the development of a new expander design originally proposed by Dr. Cantemir at the Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research. Dr. Cantemir’s concept was explored in this project by creating a solid model of his design. Next, a practical design for the expander was created based off of the concept and its six main parts; top cover, base, piston, joint, follower, and output shaft. The sizes, shapes, and positions of the inlet and outlet ports on the top cover were optimized to increase the expansion ratio of the device from 1.18 to 17.2. Practical features were added to the design to improve the functionality of the device such as: bearings at pivot and rotational points, a removable inspection plate, a redesigned joint, and two sealing methods for the piston.
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