The Laboratory for Innovative Fluid and Thermal Systems (LIFTS) is headed by Professor Gary Rosengarten.
The laboratory focuses on the development of innovative technologies in the fields of microfluidics, heat transfer and thermal management, liquid-interface physics, and solar energy utilisation, through advances in both fundamental and system level understanding.
Solar concentrators - Micro Urban Solar Integrated Concentrators (MUSIC) project
This Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funded project aims to revolutionise the collection and use of solar energy within cities by developing a new type of solar concentrator with new storage and control mechanisms for system integration. The aim is to use novel optics and heat transfer engineering to form flat concentrating solar collectors for rooftops to deliver high temperature heat up to 400C. It involves collaboration among three Australian universities, CSIRO and two Australian companies plus three US universities.
Find out more about the MUSIC project.
Spectral beam splitting
Photovoltaic (PV) cells typically convert between 15-20% of the incident sunlight into electrical energy and dissipate the remaining energy as heat within the cells. Hybrid photovoltaic/thermal (PVT) collectors use a fluid flowing adjacent to the PV cells to collect some of this dissipated heat and transfer it as useful energy e.g. for domestic hot water. As well as collecting heat energy, which would be otherwise wasted, the fluid serves to cool the PV cells and enhance their electrical performance (PV cell efficiency falls with increasing temperature). However, because of the direct thermal coupling between the fluid and the PV cells there is a conflict between the desire to achieve the highest temperature thermal output as possible and the need to keep the cells cool to ensure reasonable conversion efficiency and long term reliability. In practice, the maximum temperature thermal output is limited to around 70?C.
RMIT is part of a collaborative research group that is currently developing a hybrid PVT receiver suitable for linear concentrators which is intended as the heat source for either industrial heat processes or absorption chillers. The receiver aims to produce a thermal output of 150?C and an electrical yield of around 9%. To achieve these temperatures a technique known as spectral beam splitting is used to break the thermal coupling between the cells and the heat transfer fluid. Spectral beam splitting involves separating the incident light into different bands. Wavelengths of light which cannot be effectively converted to electrical energy are selectively absorbed as heat before they reach the PV cells. The remaining wavelengths are transferred to the PV cells and converted to electrical energy at high efficiency (approx. 30%).
This research is funded by ARENA. Collaborative partners on this project include ANU, UNSW, Chromasun, NEP Solar and the CSIRO.
Heat transfer enhancement
We are investigating mechanisms to control and increase heat transfer rates, heat transfer per unit area, and heat transfer per unit volume. These include two-phase non-boiling flow, and droplet impingment. We examine the effect of surfaces on heat transfer rate including hydrophilic and superhydrophobic surfaces. We are also looking at accurate heat transfer measurements that include infrared thermography, and measuerment of thermal conductivity using heat flow meters.
Diffusion through diatom frustule
Diatoms are microscopic, phototrophic, unicellular algae encased in a porous, rigid, siliceous, cell wall known as the frustule. They inhabit the euphotic zones in bodies of seawater and freshwater. The nutrient and trace element sorting characteristics of the diatoms’ frustule is not yet fully understood. For example, it has been proposed that certain species of diatoms use the Brownian ratchet mechanism to sort and separate nutrients and trace elements from harmful particles (i.e. viruses) based on the solutes size through their frustule pores. Our research focuses on gaining a detailed understanding of the effect of the diatom frustule on the mass transport to and from the diatom cell and once fully elucidated this knowledge may be used to further improve the efficiency and performance of synthetic solute sorting devices.
- Professor Gary Rosengarten (group leader)
- Dr Cameron Stanley (research fellow)
- Dr David Ferrari (research fellow)
- Dr Albert Lin (project manager)
- Dr Thilaksiri Bandara (casual researcher)
- Dr Ahmad Mojiri (research officer)
- David Rodriguez Sanchez (PhD student)
- Iftekhar Khan (PhD student)
- James Herringer (PhD student)
- Maja Gajic (PhD student)
- Maryam Rahou (PhD student)
- Robin Clarke (PhD student)
- Sergio Pintaldi (PhD student)
- Clifford Shum (PhD student)
- Manu Chandrashekar (PhD student)
- Nicolette Gan (Master student)
- Rory Harkin
- Edward Gulliver
- James Cerni
Partners and collaborators
- ?RMIT - Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, Arnan Mitchell, Sharath Shriram, John Andrews, Bahman Shabani
- UNSW - Rob Taylor, Graham Morrison, Tracie Barber
- ANU - Solar Group
- Griffith - Nam-Trung Nguyen
- CSIRO - Stephen White, Yongang Zhu
- Flinders University - Jim Mitchell
- University of California, Merced - Roland Winston
- Arizona State University - Patrick Phelan, Liping Wang
- The University of TULSA - Todd Otanicar
- ETH-Zurich - Dimos Poulikakos
- Technical University of Darmstadt - Peter Stephan, Axel Seilaff
- Tohoku University - Atusuki Komiya
- INSA Lyon, CETHIL - Christophe Menezo
We have access to and utilise the following capabilities and equipment to conduct our research work within the LIFTS group:
- High speed camera (Phantom V1610)
- High Speed Thermal Imaging Camera camera
- Microscopes and microPIV system
- Various solar collectors including parabolic trough and linear Fresnel
- 2 axis solar tracker
- AAA solar simulator
- Simulation software including ANSYS Fluent, TRNSYS, Zemax, Lighttools
- Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN)
- MicroNano Research Facility (MNRF), RMIT
- Stanley, C., Mojiri, A., Rahat, M., Blakers, A. & Rosengarten, G. Performance testing of a spectral beam splitting hybrid PVT solar receiver for linear concentrators. Applied Energy 168, 303-313, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.01.112 (2016).
- Shirazi, A., Pintaldi, S., White, S. D., Morrison, G. L., Rosengarten, G. & Taylor, R. A. Solar-assisted absorption air-conditioning systems in buildings: control strategies and operational modes. Applied Thermal Engineering 92, 246-260 (2016).
- Rahou, M., Mojiri, A., Rosengarten, G. & Andrews, J. Optical design of a Fresnel concentrating solar system for direct transmission of radiation through an optical fibre bundle. Solar Energy 124, 15-25 (2016).
- Mojiri, A., Stanley, C., Rodriguez-Sanchez, D., Everett, V., Blakers, A. & Rosengarten, G. A spectral-splitting PV–thermal volumetric solar receiver. Applied Energy 169, 63-71, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.02.027 (2016).
- Li, Q., Shirazi, A., Zheng, C., Rosengarten, G., Scott, J. A. & Taylor, R. A. Energy concentration limits in solar thermal heating applications. Energy 96, 253-267 (2016).
- Chrimes, A. F., Berean, K. J., Mitchell, A., Rosengarten, G. & Kalantar-zadeh, K. Controlled electrochemical deformation of liquid-phase gallium. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2016).
- Ghani, F., Rosengarten, G., & Duke, M. The characterisation of crystalline silicon photovoltaic devices using the manufacturer supplied data. Solar Energy, 132, 15-24. (2016).
- Wang, H., Sivan, V. P., Mitchell, A., Rosengarten, G., Phelan, P. & Wang, L. Highly efficient selective metamaterial absorber for high-temperature solar thermal energy harvesting. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 137, 235-242 (2015).
- Sultana, T., Morrison, G. L., Taylor, R. A. & Rosengarten, G. Numerical and experimental study of a solar micro concentrating collector. Solar Energy 112, 20-29 (2015).
- Sultana, T., Morrison, G. L., Taylor, R. & Rosengarten, G. TRNSYS Modeling of a Linear Fresnel Concentrating Collector for Solar Cooling and Hot Water Applications. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 137, 021014 (2015).
- Rodriguez-Sanchez, D. & Rosengarten, G. Improving the concentration ratio of parabolic troughs using a second-stage flat mirror. Applied Energy 159, 620-632 (2015).
- Pintaldi, S., Perfumo, C., Sethuvenkatraman, S., White, S. & Rosengarten, G. A review of thermal energy storage technologies and control approaches for solar cooling. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 41, 975-995 (2015).
- Mojiri, A., Stanley, C., Taylor, R. A., Kalantar-zadeh, K. & Rosengarten, G. A spectrally splitting photovoltaic-thermal hybrid receiver utilising direct absorption and wave interference light filtering. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 139, 71-80 (2015).
- Mojiri, A., Stanley, C. & Rosengarten, G. Close range radiometry for quantifying the spatial distribution of illumination on flat surfaces. Solar Energy 122, 429-439 (2015).
- Khodasevych, I. E., Wang, L., Mitchell, A. & Rosengarten, G. Micro?and Nanostructured Surfaces for Selective Solar Absorption. Advanced Optical Materials (2015).
- Karwa, N., Jiang, L., Winston, R. & Rosengarten, G. Receiver shape optimization for maximizing medium temperature CPC collector efficiency. Solar Energy 122, 529-546 (2015).
- Islam, M., Shabani, B., Rosengarten, G. & Andrews, J. The potential of using nanofluids in PEM fuel cell cooling systems: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 48, 523-539 (2015).
- Gu, X., Taylor, R. A., Li, Q., Scott, J. A. & Rosengarten, G. Thermal analysis of a micro solar thermal collector designed for methanol reforming. Solar Energy 113, 189-198 (2015).
- Ghani, F., Rosengarten, G., Duke, M. & Carson, J. On the influence of temperature on crystalline silicon solar cell characterisation parameters. Solar Energy 112, 437-445 (2015).
- Gajic, M., Karwa, N., Mojiri, A. & Rosengarten, G. Modeling reflection loss from an evacuated tube inside a compound parabolic concentrator with a cylindrical receiver. Optics Express 23, A493-A501 (2015).
- Crisostomo, F., Taylor, R. A., Surjadi, D., Mojiri, A., Rosengarten, G. & Hawkes, E. R. Spectral splitting strategy and optical model for the development of a concentrating hybrid PV/T collector. Applied Energy 141, 238-246 (2015).
- Boerema, N., Taylor, R. A., Morrison, G. & Rosengarten, G. Solid–liquid phase change modelling of metallic sodium for application in solar thermal power plants. Solar Energy 119, 151-158 (2015).
- Bandara, T., Nguyen, N. T. & Rosengarten, G. Slug flow heat transfer without phase change in microchannels: A review. Chemical Engineering Science 126, 283-295 (2015).
- Bandara, T., Cheung, S. C. & Rosengarten, G. Slug flow heat transfer in microchannels: A numerical study. Computational Thermal Sciences: An International Journal 7 (2015).
- Stanley, C., Barber, T. & Rosengarten, G. Re-entrant jet mechanism for periodic cavitation shedding in a cylindrical orifice. International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow 50, 169-176 (2014).
- Rodríguez-Sánchez, D., Belmonte, J., Izquierdo-Barrientos, M., Molina, A., Rosengarten, G. & Almendros-Ibáñez, J. Solar energy captured by a curved collector designed for architectural integration. Applied Energy 116, 66-75 (2014).
- Mojiri, A., Stanley, C. & Rosengarten, G. Spectrally splitting hybrid photovoltaic/thermal receiver design for a linear concentrator. Energy Procedia 48, 618-627 (2014).
- Jackson, R. G., Kahani, M., Karwa, N., Wu, A., Lamb, R., Taylor, R. & Rosengarten, G. Effect of surface wettability on carbon nanotube water-based nanofluid droplet impingement heat transfer. Journal of Physics: Conference Series 525, 012024 (2014).
- Gu, X., Taylor, R. A. & Rosengarten, G. Analysis of a New Compound Parabolic Concentrator-Based Solar Collector Designed for Methanol Reforming. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 136, 041012 (2014).
- Gu, X., Taylor, R. A., Morrison, G. & Rosengarten, G. Theoretical analysis of a novel, portable, CPC-based solar thermal collector for methanol reforming. Applied Energy 119, 467-475 (2014).
- Ghani, F., Rosengarten, G., Duke, M. & Carson, J. The numerical calculation of single-diode solar-cell modelling parameters. Renewable Energy 72, 105-112 (2014).
- Crisostomo, F., Taylor, R. A., Zhang, T., Perez-Wurfl, I., Rosengarten, G., Everett, V. & Hawkes, E. R. Experimental testing of SiN x/SiO 2 thin film filters for a concentrating solar hybrid PV/T collector. Renewable Energy 72, 79-87 (2014).
- Chrimes, A. F., Khodasevych, I., Mitchell, A., Rosengarten, G. & Kalantar-Zadeh, K. Dielectrophoretically controlled Fresnel zone plate. Lab Chip (2014).