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  • EDITORIAL
    Guangxi YUE, Junfu LYU, Shuiqing LI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0724-5
  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Saeed GHAEMI, Farshad FAGHIHI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 256-278. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-018-0583-x

    One of the most important aims of this study is to improve the core of the current VVER reactors to achieve more burn-up (or more cycle length) and more intrinsic safety. It is an independent study on the Russian new proposed FAs, called TVS-2M, which would be applied for the future advanced VVERs. Some important aspects of neutronics as well as thermal hydraulics investigations (and analysis) of the new type of Fas are conducted, and results are compared with the standards PWR CDBL. The TVS-2M FA contains gadolinium-oxide which is mixed with UO2 (for different Gd densities and U-235 enrichments which are given herein), but the core does not contain BARs. The new type TVS-2M Fas are modeled by the SARCS software package to find the PMAXS format for three states of CZP and HZP as well as HFP, and then the whole core is simulated by the PARCS code to investigate transient conditions. In addition, the WIMS-D5 code is suggested for steady core modeling including TVS-2M FAs and/or TVS FAs. Many neutronics aspects such as the first cycle length (first cycle burn up in terms of MWthd/kgU), the critical concentration of boric acid at the BOC as well as the cycle length, the axial, and radial power peaking factors, differential and integral worthy of the most reactive CPS-CRs, reactivity coefficients of the fuel, moderator, boric acid, and the under-moderation estimation of the core are conducted and benchmarked with the PWR CDBL. Specifically, the burn-up calculations indicate that the 45.6 d increase of the first cycle length (which corresponds to 1.18 MWthd/kgU increase of burn-up) is the best improving aim of the new FA type called TVS-2M. Moreover, thermal-hydraulics core design criteria such as MDNBR (based on W3 correlation) and the maximum of fuel and clad temperatures (radially and axially), are investigated, and discussed based on the CDBL.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Hani BENGUESMIA, Nassima M’ZIOU, Ahmed BOUBAKEUR
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 213-221. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-017-0479-1

    In this paper, the impact of the conductivity and the distribution of pollution on the behavior of the high voltage insulator cap and pin 1512L, artificially polluted is described. An experimental model in form of a disc is proposed. This experimental model reproduces the real model which is the 1512L insulator. Besides, a comparative study is presented. For this comparative study, different solutions are adopted to s`imulate the pollution (containing NaCl+ distilled water) that has different conductivities for a discontinuous distribution of the pollution on the insulator under an AC voltage. Furthermore, the influence of the pollution on the flashover voltage and the leakage current is studied. Finally, the behavior of real and experimental model of the insulator is investigated.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Shengchun LIU, Ming SONG, Ling HAO, Pengxiao WANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 201-207. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-017-0451-0

    Numerical simulation on flow of ice slurry in horizontal straight tubes was conducted in this paper to improve its transportation characteristics and application. This paper determined the influence of the diameter and length of tubes, the ice packing factors (IPF) and the flow velocity of ice slurry on pressure loss by using numerical simulation, based on two-phase flow and the granular dynamic theory. Furthermore, it was found that the deviation between the simulation results and experimental data could be reduced from 20% to 5% by adjusting the viscosity which was reflected by velocity. This confirmed the reliability of the simulation model. Thus, two mathematical correlations between viscosity and flow velocity were developed eventually. It could also be concluded that future rheological model of ice slurry should be considered in three sections clarified by the flow velocity, which determined the fundamental difference from single-phase fluid.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Wenwei LEI, Norihiro SUZUKI, Chiaki TERASHIMA, Akira FUJISHIMA
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(3): 577-595. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0756-x

    Photocatalysts have attracted great research interest owing to their excellent properties and potential for simultaneously addressing challenges related to energy needs and environmental pollution. Photocatalytic particles need to be in contact with their respective media to exhibit efficient photocatalytic performances. However, it is difficult to separate nanometer-sized photocatalytic materials from reaction media later, which may lead to secondary pollution and a poor recycling performance. Hydrogel photocatalysts with a three-dimensional (3D) network structures are promising support materials for photocatalysts based on features such as high specific surface areas and adsorption capacities and good environmental compatibility. In this review, hydrogel photocatalysts are classified into two different categories depending on their elemental composition and recent progresses in the methods for preparing hydrogel photocatalysts are summarized. Moreover, current applications of hydrogel photocatalysts in energy conversion and environmental remediation are reviewed. Furthermore, a comprehensive outlook and highlight future challenges in the development of hydrogel photocatalysts are presented.

  • MINI REVIEW
    Zhiliang WANG, Yuang GU, Lianzhou WANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(3): 596-599. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0745-0

    Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting is regarded as a promising way for solar hydrogen production, while the fast development of photovoltaic-electrolysis (PV-EC) has pushed PEC research into an embarrassed situation. In this paper, a comparison of PEC and PV-EC in terms of efficiency, cost, and stability is conducted and briefly discussed. It is suggested that the PEC should target on high solar-to-hydrogen efficiency based on cheap semiconductors in order to maintain its role in the technological race of sustainable hydrogen production.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    A.S.O. OGUNJUYIGBE, T.R. AYODELE, O.D. BAMGBOJE
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 240-255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-018-0514-x

    Most wind turbines within wind farms are set up to face a pre-determined wind direction. However, wind directions are intermittent in nature, leading to less electricity production capacity. This paper proposes an algorithm to solve the wind farm layout optimization problem considering multi-angular (MA) wind direction with the aim of maximizing the total power generated on wind farms and minimizing the cost of installation. A two-stage genetic algorithm (GA) equipped with complementary sampling and uniform crossover is used to evolve a MA layout that will yield optimal output regardless of the wind direction. In the first stage, the optimal wind turbine layouts for 8 different major wind directions were determined while the second stage allows each of the previously determined layouts to compete and inter-breed so as to evolve an optimal MA wind farm layout. The proposed MA wind farm layout is thereafter compared to other layouts whose turbines have focused site specific wind turbine orientation. The results reveal that the proposed wind farm layout improves wind power production capacity with minimum cost of installation compared to the layouts with site specific wind turbine layouts. This paper will find application at the planning stage of wind farm.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jinzhi CAI, Dan LI, Denggao CHEN, Zhenshan LI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 4-13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-020-0804-y

    Low NOx combustion of blended coals is widely used in coal-fired boilers in China to control NOx emission; thus, it is necessary to understand the formation mechanism of NOx and H2S during the combustion of blended coals. This paper focused on the investigation of reductive gases in the formation of NOx and H2S in the reductive zone of blended coals during combustion. Experiments with Zhundong (ZD) and Commercial (GE) coal and their blends with different mixing ratios were conducted in a drop tube furnace at 1200°C–1400°C with an excessive air ratio of 0.6–1.2. The coal conversion and formation characteristics of CO, H2S, and NOx in the fuel-rich zone were carefully studied under different experimental conditions for different blend ratios. Blending ZD into GE was found to increase not only the coal conversion but also the concentrations of CO and H2S as NO reduction accelerated. Both the CO and H2S concentrations inblended coal combustion increase with an increase in the combustion temperature and a decrease in the excessive air ratio. Based on accumulated experimental data, one interesting finding was that NO and H2S from blended coal combustion were almost directly dependent on the CO concentration, and the CO concentration of the blended coal combustion depended on the single char gasification conversion.Thus, CO, NOx, and H2S formation characteristics from blended coal combustion can be well predicted by single char gasification kinetics.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Zilong WANG, Hua ZHANG, Binlin DOU, Weidong WU, Guanhua ZHANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 279-291. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-019-0637-8

    The development of automatic tracking solar concentrator photovoltaic systems is currently attracting growing interest. High concentration photovoltaic systems (HCPVs) combining triple-junction InGaP/lnGaAs/Ge solar cells with a concentrator provide high conversion efficiencies. The mathematical model for triple-junction solar cells, having a higher efficiency and superior temperature characteristics, was established based on the one-diode equivalent circuit cell model. A paraboloidal concentrator with a secondary optic system and a concentration ratio in the range of 100X–150X along with a sun tracking system was developed in this study. The GaInP/GalnAs/Ge triple-junction solar cell, produced by AZUR SPACE Solar Power, was also used in this study. The solar cells produced by Shanghai Solar Youth Energy (SY) and Shenzhen Yinshengsheng Technology Co. Ltd. (YXS) were used as comparison samples in a further comparative study at different concentration ratios (200X–1000X). A detailed analysis on the factors that influence the electrical output characteristics of the InGaP/lnGaAs/Ge solar cell was conducted with a dish-style concentrating photovoltaic system. The results show that the short-circuit current (Isc) and the open-circuit voltage (Voc) of multi-junction solar cells increases with the increasing concentration ratio, while the cell efficiency (ηc) of the solar cells increases first and then decreases with increasing concentration ratio. With increasing solar cell temperature, Isc increases, while Voc and ηc decrease. A comparison of the experimental and simulation results indicate that the maximum root mean square error is less than 10%, which provides a certain theoretical basis for the study of the characteristics of triple-junction solar cell that can be applied in the analysis and discussion regarding the influence of the relevant parameters on the performance of high concentration photovoltaic systems.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Shaoning LIU, Xiangfei KONG, Hua YANG, Minchao FAN, Xin ZHAN
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 222-234. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-017-0480-8

    Architectural shade is an effective method for improving building energy efficiency. A new shade combined with the double skin façade (DSF) system, called middle shade (MS), was introduced and developed for buildings. In this paper, a 3D dynamic simulation was conducted to analyze the influence of MS combined with DSF on the indoor thermal characteristics. The research on MS for DSF involves the temperature, the ventilation rate, the velocity distribution of the air flow duct, and the indoor temperature. The results show that the angle and position of the shade in the three seasons are different, and different conditions effectively enhance the indoor thermal characteristics. In summer, the appearance of MS in DSF makes the indoor temperature significantly lower. The indoor temperature is obviously lower than that of the air flow duct, and the temperature of the air flow duct is less affected by MS. The influence of the position of blinds on indoor temperature and ventilation rate is greater than the influence of the angle of blinds. According to the climate characteristics of winter and transition season, in winter, early spring, and late autumn, the indoor temperature decreases with the increase of the position of blinds at daytime, but the opposite is true at night. The results found in this paper can provide reference for the design and use of MS combined with DSF in hot summer and cold winter zone.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Xiao LIU, Zhilin LIU, Weidong JIAO, Xuan LI, Jintai LIN, Anthony KU
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 235-239. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-017-0518-y

    In response to severe haze pollution, the Chinese government has announced a series of policies focusing on controlling emissions from coal consumption. “Ultra-low emission” (ULE) technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants, and have been deployed at some facilities in recent years. This paper estimated the potential environmental benefits of the widespread adoption of ULE in the Jing-Jin-Ji Region. Atmospheric modeling scenarios were analyzed for three cases: a “standard” scenario assuming no ULE deployment, a “best case” scenario assuming complete adoption of ULE across all power plants in the region, and a “natural gas” scenario, assuming emissions factors consistent with natural gas-fired power generation. The simulations show that the widespread adoption of ULE technologies can be an effective and economically competitive option for reducing the impacts of coal-fired power generation on air quality.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ruixiang WANG, Yihao ZHANG, Haizhou WU
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 208-212. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-017-0454-x

    A novel way for a compressor to improve its coefficient of performance and enhance its reliability by employing nano-refrigeration lubricant oil was proposed. Onion like fullerenes (OLFs) and NiFe2O4 nano-composites, modified by Span 80, were dispersed in refrigeration oil KFR22 by solid grinding (SG). Morphologies of NiFe2O4 nano-composites were characterized by using transmission electron microscope (TEM). The tribological properties as a refrigeration lubricants additive were investigated using SRV (II), a multi-functional reciprocating friction and wear tester. The results showed that the friction coefficient was decreased from 0.15 to 0.04.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Leijiao GE, Yuanliang LI, Suxuan LI, Jiebei ZHU, Jun YAN
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 143-158. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-020-0703-2

    As a key application of smart grid technologies, the smart distribution network (SDN) is expected to have a high diversity of equipment and complexity of operation patterns. Situational awareness (SA), which aims to provide a critical visibility of the SDN, will enable a significant assurance for stable SDN operations. However, the lack of systematic evaluation through the three stages of perception, comprehensive, and prediction may prevent the SA technique from effectively achieving the performance necessary to monitor and respond to events in SDN. To analyze the feasibility and effectiveness of the SA technique for the SDN, a comprehensive evaluation framework with specific performance indicators and systematic weighting methods is proposed in this paper. Besides, to implement the indicator framework while addressing the key issues of human expert scoring ambiguity and the lack of data in specific SDN areas, an improved interval-based analytic hierarchy process-based subjective weighting and a multi-objective programming method-based objective weighting are developed to evaluate the SDN SA performance. In addition, a case study in a real distribution network of Tianjin, China is conducted whose outcomes verify the practicality and effectiveness of the proposed SA technique for SDN operating security.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Md Tanvir ALAM, Baiqian DAI, Xiaojiang WU, Andrew HOADLEY, Lian ZHANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 46-67. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-020-0807-8

    Gasification or combustion of coal and biomass is the most important form of power generation today. However, the use of coal/biomass at high temperatures has an inherent problem related to the ash generated. The formation of ash leads to a problematic phenomenon called slagging. Slagging is the accumulation of molten ash on the walls of the furnace, gasifier, or boiler and is detrimental as it reduces the heat transfer rate, and the combustion/gasification rate of unburnt carbon, causes mechanical failure, high-temperature corrosion and on occasions, superheater explosions. To improve the gasifier/combustor facility, it is very important to understand the key ash properties, slag characteristics, viscosity and critical viscosity temperature. This paper reviews the content, compositions, and melting characteristics of ashes in differently ranked coal and biomass, and discusses the formation mechanism, characteristics, and structure of slag. In particular, this paper focuses on low-rank coal and biomass that have been receiving increased attention recently. Besides, it reviews the available methodologies and formulae for slag viscosity measurement/prediction and summarizes the current limitations and potential applications. Moreover, it discusses the slagging behavior of different ranks of coal and biomass by examining the applicability of the current viscosity measurement methods to these fuels, and the viscosity prediction models and factors that affect the slag viscosity. This review shows that the existing viscosity models and slagging indices can only satisfactorily predict the viscosity and slagging propensity of high-rank coals but cannot predict the slagging propensity and slag viscosity of low-rank coal, and especially biomass ashes, even if they are limited to a particular composition only. Thus, there is a critical need for the development of an index, or a model or even a measurement method, which can predict/measure the slagging propensity and slag viscosity correctly for all low-rank coal and biomass ashes.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yaolin LIN, Wei YANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 550-563. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-019-0607-1

    With increasing awareness of sustainability, demands on optimized design of building shapes with a view to maximize its thermal performance have become stronger. Current research focuses more on building envelopes than shapes, and thermal comfort of building occupants has not been considered in maximizing thermal performance in building shape optimization. This paper attempts to develop an innovative ANN (artificial neural network)-exhaustive-listing method to optimize the building shapes and envelope physical properties in achieving maximum thermal performance as measured by both thermal load and comfort hour. After verified, the developed method is applied to four different building shapes in five different climate zones in China. It is found that the building shape needs to be treated separately to achieve sufficient accuracy of prediction of thermal performance and that the ANN is an accurate technique to develop models of discomfort hour with errors of less than 1.5%. It is also found that the optimal solutions favor the smallest window-to-external surface area with triple-layer low-E windows and insulation thickness of greater than 90 mm. The merit of the developed method is that it can rapidly reach the optimal solutions for most types of building shapes with more than two objective functions and large number of design variables.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ahmed Mohmed DAFALLA, Fangming JIANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 460-472. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0733-4

    Water transport is of paramount importance to the cold start of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Analysis of water transport in cathode catalyst layer (CCL) during cold start reveals the distinct characteristics from the normal temperature operation. This work studies the effect of CCL mesoscopic pore-morphology on PEMFC cold start. The CCL mesoscale morphology is characterized by two tortuosity factors of the ionomer network and pore structure, respectively. The simulation results demonstrate that the mesoscale morphology of CCL has a significant influence on the performance of PEMFC cold start. It was found that cold-starting of a cell with a CCL of less tortuous mesoscale morphology can succeed, whereas starting up a cell with a CCL of more tortuous mesoscale morphology may fail. The CCL of less tortuous pore structure reduces the water back diffusion resistance from the CCL to proton exchange membrane (PEM), thus enhancing the water storage in PEM, while reducing the tortuosity in ionomer network of CCL is found to enhance the water transport in and the water removal from CCL. For the sake of better cold start performance, novel preparation methods, which can create catalyst layers of larger size primary pores and less tortuous pore structure and ionomer network, are desirable.

  • MINI REVIEW
    Yuichi YAMAGUCHI, Akihiko KUDO
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(3): 568-576. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0774-8

    To solve resource, energy, and environmental issues, development of sustainable clean energy system is strongly required. In recent years, hydrogen has been paid much attention to as a clean energy. Solar hydrogen production by water splitting using a photocatalyst as artificial photosynthesis is a promising method to solve these issues. Efficient utilization of visible light comprised of solar light is essential for practical use. Three strategies, i.e., doping, control of valence band, and formation of solid solution are often utilized as the useful methods to develop visible light responsive photocatalysts. This mini-review introduces the recent work on visible-light-driven photocatalysts developed by substitution with metal cations of those strategies.

  • MINI REVIEW
    Saket MATHUR, Benjamin ROGERS, Wei WEI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(3): 667-677. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0767-7

    Owing to the outstanding characteristics of tailorable electronic and optical properties, semiconducting polymers have attracted considerable attention in recent years. Among them, organic polymer dots process large breadth of potential synthetic diversity are the representative of photocatalysts for hydrogen production, which presents both an opportunity and a challenge. In this mini-review, first, the organic polymer photocatalysts were introduced. Then, recent reports on polymer dots which showed a superior photocatalytic activity and a robust stability under visible-light irradiation, for hydrogen production were summarized. Finally, challenges and outlook on using organic polymer dots-based photocatalysts from hydrogen production were discussed.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Junying LIU, Zhidong WEI, Wenfeng SHANGGUAN
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(3): 700-709. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0735-2

    Surface reconstructed SrTiO3 nanocrystals were synthesized by a thermal treatment process in presence of NaBH4 and SrTiO3 nanocrystals. The surface reconstruction of SrTiO3 nanocrystals is attributed to the introduction of surface oxygen vacancies or Ti sites (such as Ti3+ and Ti2+) during the hydrogenation treatment process. The light absorption and the charge transfer ability of SrTiO3 nanocrystals are simultaneously enhanced due to surface oxygen vacancies or Ti sites (such as Ti3+ and Ti2+), which are beneficial to photocatalytic water splitting. Meanwhile, these defects also change the redox potential of the photocatalysts. Since there existed a synergistic effect between the three, the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen production was also regulated.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jingrui LI, Haifeng LIU, Xinlei LIU, Ying YE, Hu WANG, Xinyan WANG, Hua ZHAO, Mingfa YAO
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 405-420. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0718-3

    High-pressure direct-injection (HPDI) of natu- ral gas is one of the most promising solutions for future ship engines, in which the combustion process is mainly controlled by the chemical kinetics. However, the employment of detailed chemical models for the multi-dimensional combustion simulation is significantly expensive due to the large scale of the marine engine. In the present paper, a reduced n-heptane/methane model consisting of 35-step reactions was constructed using multiple reduction approaches. Then this model was further reduced to include only 27 reactions by utilizing the HyChem (Hybrid Chemistry) method. An overall good agreement with the experimentally measured ignition delay data of both n-heptane and methane for these two reduced models was achieved and reasonable predictions for the measured laminar flame speeds were obtained for the 35-step model. But the 27-step model cannot predict the laminar flame speed very well. In addition, these two reduced models were both able to reproduce the experimentally measured in-cylinder pressure and heat release rate profiles for a HPDI natural gas marine engine, the highest error of predicted combustion phase being 6.5%. However, the engine-out CO emission was over-predicted and the highest error of predicted NOx emission was less than 12.9%. The predicted distributions of temperature and equivalence ratio by the 35-step and 27-step models are similar to those of the 334-step model. However, the predicted distributions of OH and CH2O are significantly different from those of the 334-step model. In short, the reduced chemical kinetic models developed provide a high-efficient and dependable method to simulate the characteristics of combustion and emissions in HPDI natural gas marine engines.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jinyuan SHI, Jiamin XU
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 529-538. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-019-0624-0

    The general availability growth models for large scale complicated repairable system such as electric generating units, power station auxiliaries, and transmission and distribution installations are presented. The calculation formulas for the maintenance coefficient, mathematical expressions for general availability growth models, ways for estimating, and fitting on checking the parameters of the model are introduced. Availability growth models for electric generating units, power station auxiliaries, and transmission and distribution installations are given together with verification examples for availability growth models of 320–1000 MW nuclear power units and 1000 MW thermal power units, 200–1000 MW power station auxiliaries, and 220–500 kV transmission and distribution installations. The verification results for operation availability data show that the maintenance coefficients for electric generating units, power station auxiliaries, transmission and distribution installations conform to the power function, and general availability growth models conform to rules of availability growth tendency of power equipment.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jidong WANG, Chenghao LI, Peng LI, Yanbo CHE, Yue ZHOU, Yinqi LI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 186-200. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-019-0644-9

    In this paper, interval number optimization and model predictive control are proposed to handle the uncertain-but-bounded parameters in electric water heater load scheduling. First of all, interval numbers are used to describe uncertain parameters including hot water demand, ambient temperature, and real-time price of electricity. Moreover, the traditional thermal dynamic model of electric water heater is transformed into an interval number model, based on which, the day-ahead load scheduling problem with uncertain parameters is formulated, and solved by interval number optimization. Different tolerance degrees for constraint violation and temperature preferences are also discussed for giving consumers more choices. Furthermore, the model predictive control which incorporates both forecasts and newly updated information is utilized to make and execute electric water heater load schedules on a rolling basis throughout the day. Simulation results demonstrate that interval number optimization either in day-ahead optimization or model predictive control format is robust to the uncertain hot water demand, ambient temperature, and real-time price of electricity, enabling customers to flexibly adjust electric water heater control strategy.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yandi ZHANG, Yinhe LIU, Xiaoli DUAN, Yao ZHOU, Xiaoqian LIU, Shijin XU
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 14-25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-020-0805-x

    In the process of pyrolysis and combustion of coal particles, coal structure evolution will be affected by the ash behavior, which will further affect the char reactivity, especially in the ash melting temperature zone. Lu’an bituminous char and ash samples were prepared at the N2 and air atmospheres respectively across ash melting temperature. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used to observe the morphology of char and ash. The specific surface area (SSA) analyzer and thermogravimetric analyzer were respectively adopted to obtain the pore structure characteristics of the coal chars and combustion parameters. Besides, an X-ray diffractometer (XRD) was applied to investigate the graphitization degree of coal chars prepared at different pyrolysis temperatures. The SEM results indicated that the number density and physical dimension of ash spheres exuded from the char particles both gradually increased with the increasing temperature, thus the coalescence of ash spheres could be observed obviously above 1100°C. Some flocculent materials appeared on the surface of the char particles at 1300°C, and it could be speculated that β-Si3N4 was generated in the pyrolysis process under N2. The SSA of the chars decreased with the increasing pyrolysis temperature. Inside the char particles, the micropore area and its proportion in the SSA also declined as the pyrolysis temperature increased. Furthermore, the constantly increasing pyrolysis temperature also caused the reactivity of char decrease, which is consistent with the results obtained by XRD. The higher combustion temperature resulted in the lower porosity and more fragments of the ash.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Shengchun ZHANG, Zhifeng WANG, Hui BIAN, Pingrui HUANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 513-528. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-019-0638-7

    It is difficult to accurately measure the temperature of the falling particle receiver since thermocouples may directly be exposed to the solar flux. This study analyzes the thermal performance of a packed bed receiver using large metal spheres to minimize the measurement error of particle temperature with the sphere temperature reaching more than 700°C in experiments in a solar furnace and a solar simulator. The numerical models of a single sphere and multiple spheres are verified by the experiments. The multiple spheres model includes calculations of the external incidence, view factors, and heat transfer. The effects of parameters on the temperature variations of the spheres, the transient thermal efficiency, and the temperature uniformity are investigated, such as the ambient temperature, particle thermal conductivity, energy flux, sphere diameter, and sphere emissivity. When the convection is not considered, the results show that the sphere emissivity has a significant influence on the transient thermal efficiency and that the temperature uniformity is strongly affected by the energy flux, sphere diameter, and sphere emissivity. As the emissivity increases from 0.5 to 0.9, the transient thermal efficiency and the average temperature variance increase from 53.5% to 75.7% and from 14.3% to 27.1% at 3.9 min, respectively. The average temperature variance decreases from 29.7% to 9.3% at 2.2 min with the sphere diameter increasing from 28.57 mm to 50 mm. As the dimensionless energy flux increases from 0.8 to 1.2, the average temperature variance increases from 13.4% to 26.6% at 3.4 min.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    C. RENNO, A. PERONE
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 384-395. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-020-0717-9

    The concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems are a promising technology to obtain clean energy. However, these systems are not equally convenient worldwide due to different climatic conditions. The main aim of this paper is to analyze energy and economic performances of a point-focus CPV system for a residential user when its installation site varies. Three locations, Riyadh, Copenhagen, and Palermo, characterized by very different weather conditions are chosen. A model that links the electrical power of a triple-junction (TJ) cell with its temperature and concentrated radiation incident on it is experimentally developed to evaluate the energy performance of the CPV system. A comparison of the three localities for typical winter and summer sunny days indicates that the higher values of the TJ cell temperature are reached in summer, over 70°C at Riyadh, and its electrical power is reduced compared to a winter day. In winter, a TJ cell in Riyadh supplies an electric power of about 20% higher than that in other two cities, while in summer, the maximum power is observed at Copenhagen. On the contrary, the electrical producibility also depends on the sunlight daily hours number during the year. Hence, considering the real distribution of direct normal irradiance (DNI) and the environmental temperature for each locality, a CPV system composed of modules of 90 cells adopted for a residential user is sized. The electric producibility of the CPV system, by varying its module number, is evaluated for different localities together with the optimal number of the modules which is able to maximize the investment profitability.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ziwei ZHAO, Kaiyi CHEN, Jingwei HUANG, Lei WANG, Houde SHE, Qizhao WANG
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(3): 760-771. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0781-9

    The serious surface charge recombination and fatigued photogenerated carriers transfer of the BiVO4 photoanode restrict its photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting performance. In this work, nickel fluoride (NiF2) is applied to revamp pure BiVO4 photoanode by using a facile electrodeposition method. As a result, the as-prepared NiF2/BiVO4 photoanode increases the dramatic photocurrent density by approximately 180% compared with the pristine BiVO4 photoanode. Furthermore, the correlative photon-to-current conversion efficiency, the charge injection, and the separation efficiency, as well as the hydrogen generation of the composite photoanode have been memorably enhanced due to the synergy of NiF2 and BiVO4. This study may furnish a dependable guidance in fabricating the fluoride-based compound/semiconductor composite photoanode system.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Shenghu LI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 539-549. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-019-0617-z

    Observation of the low-frequency oscillation (LFO) modes in power systems is important to design the damping scheme. The state equations of the power system with the doubly-fed induction generators (DFIGs) are derived to find the LFO modes related to the synchronous generator (SGs) and the DFIGs. The definition of the observability measure is improved to consider the initial output and the attenuation speed of the modes. The sensitivities of the observability measures to the control parameters are derived. The numerical results from the small and large-disturbance validate the LFO modes caused by the DFIGs, and different observability measures are compared. Adjustment of the control parameters is chosen based on the sensitivity model to improve the observability and damping ratio of the LFO mode, and the stability of the wind power system.

  • EDITORIAL
    Wenfeng SHANGGUAN, Akihiko KUDO, Zhi JIANG, Yuichi YAMAGUCHI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(3): 565-567. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-021-0784-6
  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Xin LYU, Qingping LI, Yang GE, Junlong ZHU, Shouwei ZHOU, Qiang FU
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(2): 367-373. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-020-0714-z

    The basic physical properties of marine natural gas hydrate deposits are important to the understanding of seabed growth conditions, occurrence regularity, and occurrence environment of natural gas hydrates. A comprehensive analysis of the core samples of drilling pressure-holding hydrate deposits at a depth of 1310 m in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea was conducted. The experimental results indicate that the particle size in the hydrate sediment samples are mainly distributed in the range from 7.81 µm to 21.72 µm, and the average particle size decreases as the depth of the burial increases. The X-ray CT analytical images and surface characteristics SEM scan images suggest that the sediment is mostly silty clay. There are a large number of bioplastics in the sediment, and the crack inside the core may be areas of hydrate formation.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Rong YAN, Zhichao CHEN, Shuo GUAN, Zhengqi LI
    Frontiers in Energy, 2021, 15(1): 68-77. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-020-0697-9

    In a gas/particle two-phase test facility, a three-component particle-dynamics anemometer was used to measure the characteristics of gas/particle two-phase flows in a 29 megawatt (MW) pulverized coal industrial boiler equipped with a new type of swirling pulverized coal burner. The distributions of three-dimensional gas/particle velocity, particle volume flux, and particle size distribution were measured under different working conditions. The mean axial velocity and the particle volume flux in the central region of the burner outlet were found to be negative. This indicated that a central recirculation zone was formed in the center of the burner. In the central recirculation zone, the absolute value of the mean axial velocity and the particle volume flux increased when the external secondary air volume increased. The size of the central reflux zone remained stable when the air volume ratio changed. Along the direction of the jet, the peak value formed by the tertiary air gradually moved toward the center of the burner. This tertiary air was mixed with the peak value formed by the air in the adiabatic combustion chamber after the cross-section of x/d = 0.7. Large particles were concentrated near the wall area, and the particle size in the recirculation zone was small.