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A simulation-based study to evaluate the cooling potential of nocturnal radiative cooling systems for residential buildings in Egypt

  • During the first years of the last decade, Egypt used to face recurrent electricity cut-offs in summer. In the past few years, the electricity tariff dramatically increased. Radiative cooling to the clear night sky is a renewable energy source that represents a relative solution. The dry desert climate promotes nocturnal radiative cooling applications. This study investigates the potential of nocturnal radiative cooling systems (RCSs) to reduce the energy consumption of the residential building sector in Egypt. The system technology proposed in this work is based on uncovered solar thermal collectors integrated into the building hydronic system. By implementing different control strategies, the same system could be used for both cooling and heating applications. The goal of this paper is to analyze the performance of RCSs in residential buildings in Egypt. The dynamic simulation program TRNSYS was used to simulate the thermal behavior of the system. The relevant issues of Egypt as a case-study are firstly overviewed. Then the paper introduces the work done to develop a building model that represents a typical residential apartment in Egypt. Typical occupancy profiles were developed to define the internal thermal gains. The adopted control strategy to optimize the system operation is presented as well. To fully understand and hence evaluate the operation of the proposed RCS, four simulation cases were considered: 1. a reference case (fully passive), 2. the stand-alone operation of the RCS, 3. ideal heating & cooling operation (fully-active), and 4. the hybrid-operation (when the active cooling system is supported by the proposed RCS). The analysis considered the main three distinct climates in Egypt, represented by the cities of Alexandria, Cairo and Asyut. The hotter and drier weather conditions resulted in a higher cooling potential and larger temperature differences. The simulated cooling power in Asyut was 28.4 W/m² for a 70 m² absorber field. For a smaller field area of 10 m², the cooling power reached 109 W/m² but with humble temperature differences. To meet the rigorous thermal comfort conditions, the proposed sensible RCS cannot fully replace conventional air-conditioning units, especially in humid areas like Alexandria. When working in a hybrid system, a 10% reduction in the active cooling energy demand could be achieved in Asyut to keep the cooling set-point at 24 °C. This percentage reduction was nearly doubled when the thermal comfort set-point was increased by two degrees (26 °C). In a sensitivity analysis, external shading devices as a passive measure as well as the implementation of the Egyptian code for buildings (ECP306/1–2005) were also investigated. The analysis of this study raised other relevant aspects to discuss, e.g. system-sizing, environmental effects, limitations and recommendations.

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Author of HS ReutlingenBraun, Reiner
Erschienen in:Solar Energy Advances
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Journal article
Publication year:2023
Tag:building simulation (TRNBuild); chilled-ceiling hydronic system; electricity situation in Egypt; internal gains & occupancy profiles; renewable cooling and heating technologies; the Egyptian code for buildings (ECP306/1-2005)
Page Number:15
Article Number:100044
DDC classes:500 Naturwissenschaften
Open access?:Ja
Licence (German):License Logo  Creative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International