Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

John Zhai

Second Advisor

Paul Chinowsky

Third Advisor

Bernard Amadei

Abstract

Many homes in northeast rural China are not heated sufficiently during the winter months. Rural residents use a traditional system of a stove and Chinese Kang to heat their homes. The current system is inefficient and requires high levels of fuel consumption. The kang system was researched with the goal of creating a simplified system modeling program. Using existing literature and data provided by Dalian University of Technology, a computer model was built. The model is modular with the aim to assist in designing and optimizing the domestic kang heating system. A basic model was created using Excel and Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). The output of the basic model was calibrated and a sensitivity analysis of the variables was performed. Once the base scenario of the model's output was verified, improvements were modeled and tested. Some of the improvement scenarios tested include: adding a heat exchanger and radiator system to the existing kang set up, increased building insulation and the placement of phase change material on the surface of the kang. The results from a myriad of scenarios were evaluated on their technical ability to increase domestic comfort. Additionally, input from local communities was used to assess rural residents' heating needs and their acceptability of possible solutions. The technical solutions that were developed must be economic, environmentally satisfactory and culturally sensitive. Results from the completed model and information gathered from the rural communities provided a framework of optimization. An economic analysis was used to evaluate the long term feasibility of possible optimized improvements. It was determined that the addition of a room radiator system, consisting of a heat exchanger, water tank, thermostat controls and a panel radiator, delivered the most economical solution in regards to the increasing the resident's comfort per dollar invested. Furthermore, many rural homes in the northeast already have coal fired boiler and radiator systems installed. Removing the coal boiler and replacing it with a stove heat exchanger, lessens the household's dependence on coal while still providing adequate comfort during the coldest months of the year. This improved solution meets a concord of technical, social and environmental needs and should be investigated further.

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