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Evaluation of the potential of solar energy technology in the public library of Medell Colombia

Akle, CC; (2006) Evaluation of the potential of solar energy technology in the public library of Medell Colombia. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The investigation is based on a public library in Medellin, Colombia. It is a city of over 3 million inhabitants, where the demand for energy is rapidly increasing and according to predictions, is likely to exceed the existing supply, which comes primarily from hydroelectric dams (80.94%), thermoelectric (18.33%) and a 0.73% from others (see graph 11). This high dependency on sources of energy whose increment would have a high impact on the environment (hydroelectricity) or that emit substantial amounts of CO2 emissions (thermoelectric) proves the need for alternative sources of energy. Taking into account that Medellin is located near the equator (6.22 N) and has a high and constant solar radiation, the use of solar energy seems to be a feasible solution to cover the demand of a city whose population will increase in the next 9 years in 3'800,000. The increase in energy consumption is not only due to an increase in the population but also to a greater demand for more comfortable living conditions. That will create a demand for more equipment, such as air-conditioning units, which use large amounts of energy. This public library was built in 2004, taking advantage of the available passive solar energy. Through the use of specific design strategies in the building, the light energy from the sun can be harnessed and preventing overheating without the use of air-conditioning units can be achieved. The library was chosen as a case study in order to show that besides the use of passive solar strategies, used in the building design, it is possible to use the solar energy in an active way. In order to use active solar energy, it was necessary to evaluate the viability of introducing photovoltaic panels and a solar cooling system, generating electricity and improving the comfort conditions inside the building respectively. To achieve this, a virtual model of the building was run using the computer programs EPIus and SACE. Firstly, the energy consumption of the building was calculated using the program Eplus. Then, using the same program, the amount of energy produced by the photovoltaic panels was calculated. In order to determine the solar cooling, the computer program SACE was used to find the Solar Fraction Cooling. This figure shows the area that should be covered by the solar panels to supply the cooling of the building. In addition, Solar Fraction Cooling indicates the efficiency of the solar cooling system in relation with the heat storage capacity of the collector. A cost benefit analysis was then carried out comparing the photovoltaic panels and solar cooling systems with the existing energy generation mechanisms. This cost benefit analysis took into account the economic, environmental, and social implications of solar energy generation in the context of Medellin.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Evaluation of the potential of solar energy technology in the public library of Medell Colombia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1568414
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