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EISSN : 19961073
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 12,679
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Syeda Afghan, Husi Géza
Published: 13 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203873

Abstract:This paper presents a simulation-based study for characterizing and analyzing the performance of a commercially available thermoelectric cooler (TEC) as a generator for harvesting heat energy along with a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) power management integrated circuit (PMIC); LTC3108. In this model, the transformation of heat was considered in terms of an electrical circuit simulation perspective, where temperature experienced by TEC on both cold and hot sides was incorporated with voltage supply as Vth and Vtc in the circuit. When it comes to modeling a system in a simulation program with an integrated circuit emphasis (SPICE) like environment, the selection of thermoelectric generator (TEG) and extraction methods are not straightforward as well as the lack of information from manufacturer’s datasheets can limit the grip over the analysis parameters of the module. Therefore, it is mandatory to create a prototype before implementing it over a physical system for energy harvesting circuit (EHC) optimization. The major goal was to establish the basis for devising the thermal energy scavenging based Internet of Things (IoT) system with two configurations of voltage settings for the same TEG model. This study measured the data in terms of current, voltage, series of resistive loads and various temperature gradients for generating the required power. These generated power levels from EHC prototype were able to sustain the available IoT component’s power requirement, hence it could be considered for the implementation of IoT based applications.
Piotr Przybylek, Hubert Moranda, Hanna Moscicka-Grzesiak, Dominika Szczesniak
Published: 13 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203874

Abstract:A high level of insulation moisture in a transformer increases the breakdown probability and forces a reduction of its load. Therefore, there is a need to dry the transformer insulation. For technical reasons, there are some restrictions on the use of common drying methods for cellulose insulation available on the market. The aim of the research was to check the possibility of using synthetic ester for effective drying of cellulose materials of various thickness and an evaluation of the drying dynamics. The replacement of mineral oil with a synthetic ester caused a reduction of moisture in paper and thin pressboard by one percentage point. It was possible in the case of drying these materials for seven days at a temperature of 70 °C. The effects of drying were much smaller in the case of thicker cellulose samples. This paper also shows the complex problem of simultaneously drying materials of different thicknesses. Drying thin paper and thick pressboard at the same time significantly slows down the drying process of the pressboard. Presented results will be used to develop a procedure for drying the transformer insulation system using a synthetic ester.
Bruno Merk, Anna Detkina, Seddon Atkinson, Dzianis Litskevich, Gregory Cartland-Glover
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203853

Abstract:The energy trilemma forms the key driver for the future of energy research. In nuclear technologies, molten salt reactors are an upcoming option which offers new approaches. However, the key would be closed fuel cycle operation which requires sufficient breeding for a self-sustained long term operation ideally based on spent fuel. To achieve these attractive goals two challenges have been identified: achieving of sufficient breeding and development of a demand driven salt clean up system. The aim is to follow up on previous work to create an initial approach to achieving sufficient breeding. Firstly, identification of a salt system with a high solubility for fertile material and sufficiently low melting point. Secondly, evaluation of the sensitivity of the breeding performance on the sort of fissile material, the fissile material loading, and the core dimension all based on a realistic salt system which provides the solubility for sufficient fertile material to achieve the required breeding in a homogeneous reactor without breeding blanket. Both points are essential to create an innovative solution to harvest the fruits of a closed fuel cycle without the penalty of the prohibitively huge investments. It is demonstrated that the identified and investigated NaCl-UCl based systems are feasible to deliver the requested in-core breeding within the given solubility limits of fertile material in the salt system using either uranium as start-up fissile component or plutonium. This result is enriched by the analysis of the achievable full power days per inserted mass of plutonium. These new insights support reactor optimization and lead to a first conclusion that systems with lower power density could be very attractive in the case of low fuel cost, like it would be given when operating on spent nuclear fuel.
Siyao Wang, ShaoWei Hu
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203854

Abstract:The intersection of cracks has an important role in the key technology of hydraulic fracturing for enhancing the recovery of tight hydrocarbon reservoirs. On the basis of digital image correlation technology, three-point bending tests of concrete beams with an edge crack and a central preset crack were conducted to investigate the propagation of cracks after intersection in concretes. Concrete beams with cracks of different positions, lengths, and approach angles were tested, and results were analyzed. In conclusion, the crack positions, crack lengths, and approach angles significantly influence the crack propagation in naturally cracked concrete. A large distance between the crack tip and central point at the preset transverse crack and crack length indicate a high possibility of the edge crack vertically crossing the preset crack. In particular, the crack restarts from the preset crack tip after intersection when the distance between two cracks is smaller than 30 mm and when the preset crack length is smaller than 40 mm. A large approach angle corresponds to a large carrying capacity of the beam and a high possibility of the crack propagating perpendicularly. An improved criterion of restart cracking after interaction is proposed, and the restart points of all tested beams are predicted and compared with the experimental results. A good agreement is observed, which proves that this criterion is reliable.
Hongdong Wang, Meng Lei, Ming Li, Yilin Chen, Jin Jiang, Liang Zou
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203855

Abstract:The accurate measurement of vitrinite reflectance (especially for mean maximum vitrinite reflectance, MMVR) is an important issue in the fields of coal mining and processing. However, the application of MMVR has been somewhat hampered by the subjective and the time-consuming characteristic of manual measurements. Semi-automated methods that are oversimplified might affect the accuracy in measuring MMVR values. To address these concerns, we propose a novel MMVR measurement strategy based on machine learning (MMVRML). Considering the complex nature of coal, adaptive K-means clustering is firstly employed to automatically detect the number of clusters (i.e., maceral groups) in photomicrographs. Furthermore, comprehensive features along with a support vector machine are utilized to intelligently identify the regions with vitrinite. The largest region with vitrinite in each photomicrograph is gridded for further regression analysis. Evaluations on 78 photomicrographs show that the model based on random forest and 15 simplified grayscale features achieves the state-of-the-art root mean square error of 0.0424. In addition, to facilitate the usage of petrologists without strong expertise in the machine learning domain, we released the first non-commercial standalone software for estimating MMVR.
Arkadiusz Jamrozik, Wojciech Tutak, Karol Grab-Rogaliński
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203857

Abstract:One of the possibilities to reduce diesel fuel consumption and at the same time reduce the emission of diesel engines, is the use of alternative gaseous fuels, so far most commonly used to power spark ignition engines. The presented work concerns experimental research of a dual-fuel compression-ignition (CI) engine in which diesel fuel was co-combusted with CNG (compressed natural gas). The energy share of CNG gas was varied from 0% to 95%. The study showed that increasing the share of CNG co-combusted with diesel in the CI engine increases the ignition delay of the combustible mixture and shortens the overall duration of combustion. For CNG gas shares from 0% to 45%, due to the intensification of the combustion process, it causes an increase in the maximum pressure in the cylinder, an increase in the rate of heat release and an increase in pressure rise rate. The most stable operation, similar to a conventional engine, was characterized by a diesel co-combustion engine with 30% and 45% shares of CNG gas. Increasing the CNG share from 0% to 90% increases the nitric oxide emissions of a dual-fuel engine. Compared to diesel fuel supply, co-combustion of this fuel with 30% and 45% CNG energy shares contributes to the reduction of hydrocarbon (HC) emissions, which increases after exceeding these values. Increasing the share of CNG gas co-combusted with diesel fuel, compared to the combustion of diesel fuel, reduces carbon dioxide emissions, and almost completely reduces carbon monoxide in the exhaust gas of a dual-fuel engine.
Sebastian Tomczak
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203856

Abstract:Companies operating in the energy sector are under pressure to boost the level of green energy production. The use of renewable energy sources will have a positive impact on the environment, but the basic question is whether power plants that produce electricity using renewable energy sources are in better financial condition than those that use only traditional energy sources. We address the latter using a new hybrid approach that extends prior research by combining three analyses: ratio analysis with a large set of indicators, the Altman model and cluster analysis. To test the statistical significance of differences between groups, Student’s t-test is applied. The sample concerns companies from the Baltic States and Central Europe in the years 2008–2017. The results indicate that in most cases there is no statistical difference in the financial standing of companies that use renewable energy sources and those that generate only fossil fuel-based energy.
Diego Manfre Jaimes, Ian Gates, Matthew Clarke
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203860

Abstract:The amount of oil that is contained in the Canadian oil sands represent the third largest oil accumulation in the world. Approximately half of the daily oil production from the oil sands comes from mining processes and the other half is produced mostly using steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). This method is effective at reducing the viscosity of the oil. However, the generation of steam requires a significant amount of energy. Thus, there is an ongoing effort to reduce the energy needed to produce oil from the oil sands. In this article the intermittent injection of a solvent, along with steam, is investigated as a means of reducing the amount of energy required to extract oil from the Canadian oil sands. A simulation-based study examined the effect of the type of solvent, the cycles’ duration, the solvent concentration and the number of cycles. The simulations covered a time span of 10 years during which several different solvents (methane, ethane, propane, butane, pentane, hexane, and CO2) were injected under varying injection schedules. The solvents that were investigated are compounds that are likely to be readily available at a heavy oil production site. The solvent injection periods ranged from six to 24 months in length. The results reveal that SAGD combined with intermittent injection of hexane resulted in the most significant improvement to the cumulative oil production and in the cumulative energy-oil ratio (cEOR). Compared to SAGD without solvent injection, the cumulative oil production was increased by 45% and the cEOR was reduced by 23%. It was also seen that the performance of the proposed process is highly dependent on the resulting physical properties of the solvent-bitumen mixture. Finally, a simplified economic analysis also identified SAGD with intermittent hexane injection as the scheme that resulted in the highest net present value. Compared to SAGD without solvent injection, the intermittent injection of hexane led to an 85% increase in the net present value.
Mattia Ricco, Jinhao Meng, Tudor Gherman, Gabriele Grandi, Remus Teodorescu
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203862

Abstract:In this paper, the concept of smart battery pack is introduced. The smart battery pack is based on wireless feedback from individual battery cells and is capable to be applied to electric vehicle applications. The proposed solution increases the usable capacity and prolongs the life cycle of the batteries by directly integrating the battery management system in the battery pack. The battery cells are connected through half-bridge chopper circuits, which allow either the insertion or the bypass of a single cell depending on the current states of charge. This consequently leads to the balancing of the whole pack during both the typical charging and discharging time of an electric vehicle and enables the fault-tolerant operation of the pack. A wireless feedback for implementing the balancing method is proposed. This solution reduces the need for cabling and simplifies the assembling of the battery pack, making also possible a direct off-board diagnosis. The paper validates the proposed smart battery pack and the wireless feedback through simulations and experimental results by adopting a battery cell emulator.
Junqi Wang, Rundong Liu, Linfeng Zhang, Hussain Asad, Erlin Meng
Published: 12 October 2019
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/en12203863

Abstract:Real-time optimal control of air conditioning (AC) is important, and should respond to the condition changes for an energy efficient operation. The traditional optimal control triggering mechanism is based on the “time clock” (called time-driven), and has certain drawbacks (e.g., delayed or unnecessary actions). Thus, an event-driven optimal control (EDOC) was proposed. In previous studies, the part-load ratio (PLR) of chiller plants was used as events to trigger optimal control actions. However, PLR is an indirect indicator of operation efficiency, which could misrepresent the system coefficient of performance (SCOP). This study thus proposes to directly monitor the SCOP deviations from the desired SCOP values. Two events are defined based on transient and cumulative SCOP deviations, which are systematically investigated in terms of energy performance and robustness. The PLR-based and SCOP-based EDOC are compared, in which energy saving and optimal control triggering time are analyzed. Results suggest that SCOP-based EDOC has better energy performance compared with PLR-based EDOC, but the frequent event triggering might happen due to the parameter uncertainty. For actual applications, the SCOP-based EDOC can be recommended when the ideal SCOP model is available with the properly-handled uncertainty. Nevertheless, the PLR-based EDOC could still be a more practical option to replace the traditional TDOC considering its acceptable energy performance and better robustness.