A salt-gradient solar pond is a low-cost, large-scale solar collector with integrated storage that can be used as a source of energy in low-grade-heat thermal desalination systems. This work presents the thermal evolution of an experimental solar pond for both the maturation and heat extraction time periods. The temperature profile was measured every 1.1 cm using a vertical high-resolution distributed temperature sensing (DTS) system, with a temperature resolution of 0.04ºC. Temperatures of 34 and 45ºC were achieved in the bottom of the pond when the lights were on for 12 and 24 hours per day, respectively. Heat was extracted at a rate of 139 W from the solar pond, which corresponded to an efficiency of 29%. Stratification and mixing were clearly observed inside the solar pond using the vertical high-resolution DTS system.
Keywords: distributed temperature sensing, renewable energy, salt-gradient solar pond