Comparison of the Critical Mass Flow Rates for Two Serpentine Designs of the Photovoltaic Solar Thermal Collector


  • Sakhr M. Sultan Multimedia University, Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama, 75450, Melaka, Malaysia
  • C.P. Tso Multimedia University, Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama, 75450, Melaka, Malaysia
  • M.N. Ervina Efzan Multimedia University, Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama, 75450, Melaka, Malaysia



Solar energy, Photovoltaic solar thermal collector, Surpentine collector design, Critical mass flow rate, Pumping requirement, Photovoltaic cell efficiency


A recent analysis on the photovoltaic (PV) cell efficiency for the photovoltaic solar thermal collector (PVT), cooled by forced fluid flow, revealed that there is, in general, a critical mass flow rate that corresponds to the maximum PV cell efficiency for a PVT. The derived new equations are applicable for laminar and transition or turbulent flow regimes and could yield directly the critical mass flow rate as compared with existing methods that use repeated computational trials. To demonstrate further the generality of the method, this paper reports results on comparing the critical mass flow rates for two serpentine designs with different technical details, namely Design A and Design B, using the new equations. It is shown that Design A and Design B have critical mass flow rates of 0.041 and 0.014 kg/s, respectively. The corresponding Reynolds numbers are 4078 and 2785 for Design A and Design B, respectively. It is shown that the critical mass flow rate is different from one design to another. The importance of the critical mass flow rate is summarized.

Author Biographies

Sakhr M. Sultan, Multimedia University, Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama, 75450, Melaka, Malaysia

Faculty of Engineering and Technology

C.P. Tso, Multimedia University, Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama, 75450, Melaka, Malaysia

Faculty of Engineering and Technology

M.N. Ervina Efzan, Multimedia University, Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama, 75450, Melaka, Malaysia

Faculty of Engineering and Technology


Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. A New Method for Reducing the Performance Evaluation Cost of the Photovoltaic Module Cooling Techniques using the Photovoltaic Efficiency Difference Factor. Case Studies in Thermal Engineering 2020; 100682.

Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. A New Production Cost Effectiveness Factor for Assessing Photovoltaic Module Cooling Techniques. International Journal of Energy Research 2020; 44: 574-583.

Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. A New Approach for Photovoltaic Module Cooling Technique Evaluation and Comparison using the Temperature Dependent Photovoltaic Power Ratio. Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments 2020; 93: 100705.

Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. Comments on Performance Evaluation of Photovoltaic Thermal Solar Air Collector for Composite Climate of India. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 2019; 198: 63-64.

Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. A Proposed TemperatureDependent Photovoltaic Efficiency Difference Factor for Evaluating Photovoltaic Module Cooling Techniques in Natural or Forced Fluid Circulation Mode. Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering 2019; 44: 8123.

Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. Review on Recent Photovoltaic/Thermal (PV/T) Technology Advances and Applications. Solar Energy 2018; 173: 939-54.

Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. A Case Study on Effect of Inclination Angle on Performance of Photovoltaic Solar Thermal Collector in Forced Fluid Mode. Renewable Energy Research and Applications 2019; 173: 187-196.

Garg HP, Agarwal RK. Some Aspects of a PV/T Collector/ Forced Circulation Flat Plate Solar Water Heater with Solar Cells. Energy Conversion and Management 1995; 36(2): 87- 99.

David G, Iván A, Montserrat D, Cristina A. Experimental analysis of a novel PV/T panel with PCM and heat pipes. Sustainability, 2020; 12: 1710.

Mohammad HA, Alireza B, Milad S, Mohammad Z, Amir M, Shahaboddin S, Ravinder K, Mohammad M.. Evaluation of electrical efficiency of photovoltaic thermal solar collector. Engineering Applications of Computational Fluid Mechanics,

Tao M, Meng L, Arash K.. Photovoltaic thermal module and solar thermal collector connected in series to produce electricity and high-grade heat simultaneously. Applied Energy. 2020; 261: 114380.

Shyam, Tiwari GN, Olivier F, Mishra RK, Al-Helal, IM. Performance evaluation of N-photovoltaic thermal (PVT) water collectors partially covered by photovoltaic module connected in series: An experimental study. Solar Energy. 2016; 134: 302-313.

Erkata Y. Methods for the Development and Testing of Polymeric Hybrid Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) Collector for Indoor Experiments. MethosX.

Niccolò, A, Claudio DP, Fabrizio L, Massimiliano M. Performance monitoring and modeling of an uncovered photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) water collector. Solar Energy. 2016; 135: 551-568.

Touafek K, Kerrour F. Model Validation of an Empirical Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) Collector. Energy Procedia. 2014; 74: 1090-1099.

Koronaki IP, Nitsas MT. Experimental and theoretical performance investigation of asymmetric photovoltaic/thermal hybrid solar collectors connected in series. Renewable Energy. 2018; 118: 654-672.

Vidya SG, Desh BS, Mishra RK, Sanjeev KS, Tiwari GN. Development of characteristic equations for PVT-CPC active solar distillation system. Desalination. 2018; 445: 266-279.

Rohit T, Tiwari GN. Annual performance evaluation (energy and exergy) of fully covered concentrated photovoltaic thermal (PVT) water collector: An experimental validation. Solar Energy. 2017; 146: 180-190.

Tiwari GN, Md M, Khan ME. Exergy analysis of Nphotovoltaic thermal-compound parabolic concentrator (NPVT-CPC) collector for constant collection temperature for vapor absorption refrigeration (VAR) system. Solar Energy. 2018; 173: 1032-1042.

Evangelos S, Petros A. An experimentally validated, transient model for sheet and tube PVT collector. Solar Energy. 2018; 174: 709-718.

Jianhui H, Wujun C, Deqing Y, Bing Z, Hao S, Binbin, G. Energy performance of ETFE cushion roof integrated photovoltaic/thermal system on hot and cold days. Applied Energy. 2016; 173: 40-51.

Maysam G, Mehran A. Energy and exergy analyses of Photovoltaic/Thermal flat transpired collectors: Experimental and theoretical study. Applied Energy. 2016; 164: 837-856.

Monia C, Wael C, Hatem M, Philippe, B. Performance evaluation of concentrating solar photovoltaic and photovoltaic/thermal systems. Solar Energy. 2013; 98: 315- 321.

Proell M, Karrer H, Brabec CJ, Hauer A. The influence of CPC reflectors on the electrical incidence angle modifier of cSi cells in a PVT hybrid collector. Solar Energy. 2016; 126: 220-230.

Bernardo LR, Perers B, Hakansson H, Karlsson B. Performance evaluation of low concentrating photovoltaic/thermal systems: A case study from Sweden. Solar Energy. 2011; 85: 1499-1510.

Kunnemeyer R, Anderson TN, Duke M, Carson JK. Performance of a V-trough photovoltaic/thermal concentrator. Solar Energy. 2014; 101: 19-27.

Chaoqing F, Hongfei Z, Rui W, Xinglong M. Performance investigation of a concentrating photovoltaic/thermal system with transmissive Fresnel solar concentrator. Energy Conversion and Management. 2016; 111: 401-408.

Chemisana D, Rosell JI, Riverola A, Lamnatou C. Experimental performance of a Fresnel-transmission PVT concentrator for building-façade integration. Renewable Energy. 2016; 85: 564-572.

Milad M, Reza H. A photovoltaic/thermal system with a combination of a booster diffuse reflector and vacuum tube for generation of electricity and hot water Production. Renewable Energy. 2015; 78: 245-252.

Othman MY, Hamid SA, Tabook MAS, Sopian K, Roslan M, Ibarahim HZ. Performance analysis of PVT Combi with water and air heating system: An experimental study. Renewable Energy. 2016; 86: 716-722.

Wei P, Yanan C, Qian Z, Hongwen Y, Xiaoyan Z, Yongzhe Z, Hui Y. Comparative investigation of performances for HIT-PV and PVT systems. Solar Energy. 2019; 179: 37-47.

Franz H, Christian H, Franz I, Peter K. System efficiency of pvt collector-driven heat pumps. International Journal of Thermofluids 2020; 5-6: 100034.

Renato L, Marco N. Photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T)/ground dual source heat pump: Optimum energy and economic sizing based on performance analysis. Energy & Buildings. 2020; 211: 109800.

Vaishak S, Purnanand VB. Performance analysis of a heat pump-based photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) system. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. 2020.

Fayaz H, Rahim NA, Hasanuzzaman M, Rivai A, Nasrin R. Numerical and outdoor real time experimental investigation of performance of PCM based PVT system. Solar Energy. 2019; 179: 135-150.

Sajan P, Brij B, Tarun M. Experimental investigation of water based photovoltaic/thermal (PVT) system with and without phase change material (PCM). Solar Energy. 2017; 155: 1104-1120.

Ibrahim A, Jin GL, Daghigh R, Salleh MHM, Othman MY, Ruslan MH, Mat S and Sopian K, Hybrid Photovoltaic Thermal (PV/T) Air and Water Based Solar Collectors Suitable for Building Integrated Applications. American Journal of Environmental Sciences 2009; 5(5): 618-624.

Yazdanifard F, Ebrahimnia-Bajestan E, Ameri M. Investigating the performance of a water-based photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) collector in laminar and turbulent flow regime. Renew. Energy. 2016; 99: 295-306.

Ameri M, Mahmodabadi MM, Shahsavar A. An experimental study on a photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) air collector with direct coupling of fans and panels Energy Sources. 2012; 34: 929-947.

Sultan SM, Tso CP, Ervina EMN. Alternative determination of critical mass flow rate for the photovoltaic solar thermal collector in forced fluid mode. Case Studies in Thermal Engineering. 2021; 23: 100805.

Cengel, Y. A., and Cimbala, J. Fluid and Mechanics fundamentals and applications. Mc Graw Hill. 2006.




How to Cite

Sakhr M. Sultan, C.P. Tso, M.N. Ervina Efzan. Comparison of the Critical Mass Flow Rates for Two Serpentine Designs of the Photovoltaic Solar Thermal Collector. J. Adv. Therm. Sci. Res. [Internet]. 2020Dec.31 [cited 2021Sep.26];7(1):56-69. Available from: