Applicability of flexible photovoltaic modules onto membrane structures using grasshopper integrative model

Ibrahim, Hend, Wagdy, Ayman, Beccarelli, Paolo, Carpenter, Robert and Chilton, John (2016) Applicability of flexible photovoltaic modules onto membrane structures using grasshopper integrative model. Procedia Engineering, 155 . pp. 379-387. ISSN 1877-7058

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The potentials of integrating thin-film photovoltaic technology into buildings make it the recommended renewable energy source not only for traditional architectures, but also the most innovative applications that favour envelopes characterized by free morphologies such as membrane structures. The integration of Photovoltaic technology into membrane structures offers a promising significant step in the market development. However, some challenges and questions are arising relating to the applicability of such systems and how they are significantly dependant on a list of complex aspects that have to be taken into account during the design phase. These aspects include the wide variety of membrane three-dimensional geometries that in turn govern the modules distribution, orientation and shadowing as well as the distribution of stresses and deflections for each single project and how both the structure and modules react to them.

The interference between the aforementioned aspects makes it hardly investigated without using a parametric tool that's able to analyze multiple parameters in an integrative real time process. Therefore, a parametric Photovoltaic model using Grasshopper was developed as a part of the PhD dissertation of the first author, Ibrahim H., With the target to analyze the aspects that impact the payback time of the PV system such as the layout orientation, the effect of shadowing and the maximum deflection allowed for the membrane surface under different loading conditions concluding with calculating the total clear surface area available for allocating PV modules. This paper presents how Grasshopper parametric tool can be efficiently used for analysing and evaluating the feasibility of applying flexible PV systems on tensile structures geometries. The outcomes of this research work will be applied to the structures designed and manufactured by Inside2Outside Ltd within the research activities founded by Innovate UK during the 30 month Knowledge Transfer Partnership KTP9912.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: MIPV Membrane Integrated Photovoltaics; Parametric Design; Grasshopper; Membrane Structures
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Architecture and Built Environment
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Beccarelli, Paolo
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2016 09:27
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 18:05

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