Experimental investigation of a thermally driven pumping system for a potential application with a microgrid system for rural communities

Yemanebirhan Abirham, Frantisek Mikšík, Kyaw Thu, Takahiko Miyazaki

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Renewable energy-based microgrid systems are widely being studied as electrification methods for rural communities in developing countries. Waste heat generated by the components of the microgrid systems, such as the biogas driven generators (BDG), presents the potential of utilizing the low-grade heat in a way that can contribute to the sustainability of such energy systems. From the points of view of affordability, local manufacturability, and applicability for agriculture, thermally driven pumps (TDP) may be attractive for coupling with such microgrid systems. Therefore, the current study has focused on the development of a new type of thermally driven pumping system as a potential waste heat utilization component for microgrid applications in rural areas. A liquid piston-type TDP concept without moving parts, except few valves, was developed and parametric experimental investigations were carried out. The performance and characteristics of the system were studied, which revealed that the proposed system has a superior performance compared to the literature. It was also found that the system performance strongly depends on the heat addition rate and delivery capacity of the system, which are suitable characteristics for the intended application. Hence, the experimental data were used to estimate whether the proposed system can pump enough water that needs to be supplied for the biogas production to supply a 10 kW BDG unit of a microgrid. It was found that 87 – 93% of the total pumped water (13 – 27 m3) would be available for agricultural and other purposes while only 6 – 13% would need to be fed to the biogas digester. Generally, the results seem to be promising, and yet there are potentials for the optimization and improvement of the proposed system, hence they have been pointed out.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21-00323
JournalJournal of Thermal Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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