Ecosense Refurbished Renewable Energy Lab at St. Albert’s College, Ernakulum

Ecosense installed Renewable Energy Lab at St. Albert’s College in 2015 and on request of the college Ecosense refurbished the Lab again in July 2022 and redemonstrated the systems.

The Renewable Energy Lab has following 6 equipments:

1. Solar PV Training and Research System
2. Solar PV Grid Tied Training system
3. Solar Thermal Training System
4. Solar Concentrator Training System
5. Thermal Energy Storage system
6. Wind Energy Training System

1. Solar PV Training and Research System

This system enables user to learn about Solar PV standalone technology. Using this system, a user gains knowledge in three different fields of Solar PV standalone system:

a.) Physical Characteristics of Solar PV Panels: I-V, P-V characteristics, series and parallel connections of solar panels, effect of irradiation, effect of temperature, effect of shadow, effect of tilting panels, effect of geographical locations etc.

b.) Components and Assembly of standalone system: Use of blocking diode, use of bypass diode, use of charge controller, use of solar inverter, difference between MPPT and PWM charge controllers, AC load, DC load, battery charging/ discharging characteristics, assembly of several components and power flow calculations in each branch.

c.) Research in PV systems: Ecosense separately provides a research unit along with standalone experimental system. User can initiate research in the area of maximum power point tracking using this unit. It has provision of providing automatic as well as manual gate signals to charge controller. User can use his/ her own MPPT algorithm with any of the controller to provide manual gate signals.

2. Solar PV Grid Tied Training System

Ecosense’s Solar Grid Connected Training system enables user to learn about Solar Grid -tied technology. Using this system, a user gains knowledge of connecting an auxiliary grid (Solar PV) to the main grid, its essential components and transfer of power between the two grids. Using this system user gains knowledge in the following areas:

a.) Effect of different types of loads on Electrical Grid b.) Effect of capacitance and inductance in Transmission lines c.) Interfacing requirement of an auxiliary Grid to main grid d.) Concept of anti-islanding

3. Solar Thermal Training System

Solar Thermal Training System is a small model of real time water heating system and can be used for the characterization and different heat transfer analysis. Different aspects like efficiency, overall heat loss coefficient and heat removal factor and their corresponding calculations can be demonstrated with the help of this system. Special feature of this system is to perform experiments with different wind speeds, different fluid temperatures and different flow speeds. This system can be divided in three parts viz. main collector system, measuring unit and artificial light unit.

Main Collector system consists of a Flat Plate collector with temperature, flow and pressure sensors to measure temperature, flow and pressure of fluid. Measuring unit consists of a measurement panel displaying different parameters and Artificial light unit/ heat generating unit is a Halogen lamp panel to uniformly illuminate the flat plate collector inside a Lab. Artificial Light facilitates a user to do his/her work without depending on climatic changes in the environment.

Modular and scalable design of the system allows user to move the system in and out of lab easily and conduct experiment with artificial lights as well as actual sunlight. Using the system, a user will be able to study and understand working and operation of a flat plate collector water heating system and its two modes of operation.

4.Solar Concentrator Training System

The Solar Concentrator Training System is a compact and miniaturized version of Solar parabolic trough collector-based water heating system. The system consists of parabolic reflectors, absorber tube, sun tracker, piping, storage tanks and a heat exchanger. A control panel would control different devices and also measure the different parameters of the system. The system can be used to perform experiments on heat transfer, parabolic trough characteristics and heat loss at different parts of the system. The system is highly flexible – it can be used with different working fluids, different absorbing materials, different piping insulation thickness and different types of storage tanks. This gives a lot of scope for research in heat transfer and related fields. Wind speed variation and flow velocity are other parameters which can be changed to show their impact on heat transfer and heat loss.

The system can be broadly divided into three parts a) Heat generating unit with tracking system, b) Storage unit and c) control unit. Heat generating unit consists of a parabolic reflector focusing sunlight on absorber tubes. Storage unit consists of two supply tanks one with heat exchanger and other without heat exchanger and control unit consists of measurement panel and sensors.

5.Thermal Energy Storage system

This system has been designed to perform Thermal Energy Storage related experiment by using PCM materials. As there are several types of PCM, the system has been designed to perform experiment with at least two PCM separately. Provision is also kept to examine the combine (known as cascading) effect of two PCMs in thermal energy storage. To visualize the phase changes in the material another set of arrangement are there in the system.

With the Faculty Members
With the Faculty Members

6. Wind Energy Training System

Wind Energy Training System is a scaled down version of actual standalone Wind Turbine power plant. This system facilitates the students with working and configurable model of wind turbine. This system gives the insight about individual components and consequences of changing the operating points of any wind turbine defined in terms of wind speed and pitch angle. Students can learn concepts like I-V characteristic, cut-off, cut-in speed etc.

This system is developed such that it can work inside a closed laboratory with an artificial wind generating unit, which makes it weather proof. User can access and utilize the system capability at any time of the day without worrying about the actual climatic conditions.

During the Redemonstration
During the Redemonstration

Redemonstration Conducted

After refurbishing the lab redemonstration o the systems were conducted. The demonstration was focussed on educating and training the scholars and technicians in Renewable Technology who will further train thousands of students and professional to start their career or business in this very field.

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