The performance of a thermodiode panel (TDP) is investigated thoroughly. A phase change material (PCM) layer is integrated into the TDP. A TDP can transfer solar thermal energy into the building. Adding a PCM layer to the TDP adds capacity of storing solar energy into the TDP, and releases the stored energy when the sun goes down. The TDP is composed of dense foam, which is sandwiched between two aluminium sheets, and a thermosyphon passes through the foam layer. PCM layer is added to the condenser section of the TDP that is connected into the building envelope.
PCM thermal properties and their effects on energy demand and indoor temperature are investigated on a typical building. The best melting point for the PCM was found to be a temperature in the middle of the set points (upper and lower). Quantitative indices are introduced to evaluate the effects of PCM on indoor air temperature fluctuations. PCM reduces the indoor air temperature fluctuations. Increasing thermal conductivity of PCM by an order of magnitude reduces about 2% annual energy demand of a building. Regarding convention heat transfer coefficient, by increasing the convective heat transfer coefficient at interior wall surface, the cooling demand slightly increases in summer. In winter, energy demand is sensitive to h-value with a positive correlation.
Matlab codes developed using genetic algorithm to optimize the TDP sizes, i.e., thicknesses of three aluminium sheets, copper tube diameter and its thickness that makes the structure of thermosyphon. The optimum sizes found to be: plate thicknesses of 1.5 mm, 2.5 mm, and 2 mm and thermosyphon diameter and thickness of 32 mm and 9 mm, respectively, provide the maximum objective function (the best performance of the TDP). Thermal bridging of a TDP can be reduced 76 times by adding a piece of Teflon in the thermosyphon assembly. The integration can do both store and collect/gain solar thermal energy, which makes this panel a novel alternative for south walls. It is also shown that thermosyphon angle from the horizon shall be between 30 and 45 degree to have the best performance of the TDP.