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ON THE USE OF VACUUM TYPE

SOLAR AND GAS WATER


HEATERS
Presented by:
Juan J. Rigau, Ph.D.
President, Argos Productivity Solutions, Inc. (APSI)
Brief Description of the Product
Supplier and Distributor
Product ID Product© Description
Vacuum Type Solar Water Heater Solar lighting system High Efficiency Water Heating

Energy consultant and total solutions provider with over 30 years of


Argos Productivity Solutions, Inc. (APSI) experience in the energy, maintenance and environmental fields.
Distributor of highly effective and innovative technological
solutions. APSI distributes and/or develops commercial LED and HID
based solar lighting systems, the Argos CMMS (world class maintenance
management system), vacuum collectors, TROUX Solutions, the leader
in the enterprise architecture visual and dynamic modeling fields, and
Thermo Fisher Scientific world largest manufacturer of environmental
continuous monitoring instrumentation.

APSI: PROVIDER OF THE X-SERIE COMMERCIAL ROADWAY LIGHTING SYSTEMS


Solar Lighting International's X-Series Lighting Systems are by far the most efficient, reliable, and brightest solar
commercial highway and street lighting systems in the world. These systems are the only ETL listed (#3090547) (UL 1598)
solar or wind powered commercial lighting systems. Furthermore these systems are made in America and come with the
best warranty available.
Key Benefits
• Achieving security of energy supply based on our own internal
resource: the Sun. Solar water heaters can help save on water
heating costs by reducing the amount of gas and electricity
needed to heat water.

• Focusing on the high efficiency conversion of energy production


for short term delivery of results.

• Providing high yield vacuum thermal collectors capable of


producing up to 45,000 BTU/day. Since the tubes are evacuated
there is very little heat loss from the tube. This greatly reduces
conductive and convective heat loss from the interior of the tube.
As a result wind and cold temperatures have less effect on the
efficiency of the evacuated tube collector.

• Smaller water storage tank means less weight with more efficient
heating.
Vacuum Tube Description
Evacuated tubes are the absorber of the solar water heater.
They absorb solar energy converting it into heat for use in
water heating. Each evacuated tube consists of two glass
tubes made from extremely strong borosilicate glass. The
outer tube is transparent allowing light rays to pass through
with minimal reflection. The inner tube is coated with a
special selective coating (Al-N/Al) which features excellent
solar radiation absorption and minimal reflection properties.
The top of the two tubes are fused together and the air
contained in the space between the two layers of glass is
pumped out while exposing the tube to high temperatures.
This "evacuation" of the gasses forms a vacuum, which is an
important factor in the performance of the evacuated tubes.
The vacuum in the evacuated glass tube is less than 5×10-
3pa This can only be reached and maintained over a long
period of time through a specialized evacuation process in
Heat Pipe production resulting in an almost total elimination of
convection and conduction losses from the tube.

The heat pipes used in sunstar solar collectors have a


boiling point of only 25℃ . So when the heat pipe is
heated above 25℃ the water vaporizes. This vapour
rapidly rises to the top of the heat pipe transferring
heat. As the heat is lost at the condenser (top), the va
pour condenses to form a liquid (water) and returns to
the bottom of the heat pipe to once again repeat the
process. Each heat pipe is tested for heat transfer
performance and exposed to 250℃ temperatures
prior to being approved for use. For this reason the
copper heat pipes are relatively soft. Heat pipes that
are very stiff have not been exposed to such stringent
quality testing. Given this strict quality control and
high copper purity, the life expectancy of the heat
pipe is even longer than that of the solar tube.
Evacuated Tube Basic Specifications

Length (nominal) 1500mm /1800mm

Outer tube diameter 58mm

Inner tube diameter 47mm

Glass thickness 1.6mm

Thermal expansion 3.3x10-6 °C

Material Borosilicate Glass 3.3

Absorptive Coating Graded Al-N/Al

Absorptance >92% (AM1.5)

Emittance <8% (80°C)

Vacuum P<5x10-3 Pa

Stagnation Temperature >200°C

Heat Loss <0.8W/ ( m2°C )

Maximum Strength 0.8MPa


Panel Orientation

Deciding the Direction and


Angle of Installation

The angle and direction of installation is also of great


importance as it will effect the efficiency of the solar
collector. Naturally you want the collector to receive
the maximum amount of sunlight each day and
throughout the year. As a general rule if you are in the
Northern Hemisphere then the collector should face
South and if you are in the Southern Hemisphere then
the collector should face North. See diagram below.
The angle at which you mount the collector should
roughly correspond to the latitude of your location.

If you do not have an additional means of using the excess heat, then adjusting the angle of the collector can help to reduce summer heat output. As
can be seen by the diagram above, the sun is low in the sky during the winter and high in the summer.
By increasing the vertical angle of the collector by about 20° more the location's latitude (ie. 60° instead of 40°), greater winter performance will be
experienced. This is because the collector is "facing" the sun (perpendicular - longitudinal angle). Due to the higher location of the sun in the sky
during the summer, the collector will be around 40° from perpendicular and as such heat output will be reduced as the collector is not fully "facing"
the sun. This simple solution alone can reduce peak summer output considerably, thus reducing problems associated with excessive summer heat
production. The high angle not only maximises expose to the direct winter sun.
Other Installation Considerations

Evacuated Tubes of Vacuum tubes are usually made out of glass. In most situations we see a
double wall system based on Pyrex. Special absorbing coating is utilized in order to coat the
outer surface of the glass inside the inner tube. Inside all tubes air is removed in order to create
one vacuum. Copper heat pipes for rapid heat transfer are located right in the middle of these
tubes.

Before you embark on any solar project you MUST do a solar site survey. This will ensure that
you actually get enough sun on your collector to make it worthwhile. Generally, in Puerto Rico
this is not a problem.
There are two basic questions to answer to determine if solar can work well at a given site
location:
– Does your location get enough sun? In Puerto Rico, the collector should be
installed at a minimum of 45 degrees angle to ensure optimal Solar Heat Pipe
operation during our winter.
– Do nearby obstacles (trees, buildings, etc.,) at your location block too much
sun? Collectors should be mounted on an unshaded area of a south-facing roof.
– For most types of solar applications, you will be OK if you have 4 or 5 hours of
unblocked sun that is roughly centered around solar noon.
System Comparison

VACUUM TYPE COLLECTORS FLAT PLATE COLLECTORS

1. Heat absorptions from the infrared rays of solar radiation Heat absorption occurs from the visible light rays, On
instead of the visible light rays, so during winter and cloudy cloudy days performance will be affected significantly.
days, the system absorbs infrared rays as usual.

2. Heat absorbing surface is always perpendicular to sunlight Heat absorption surface will be perpendicular to sunlight
because of spherical collectors only for a short time.

3. The vacuum inside the collector tubes vastly reduces Heat loss will be more at night from collector panels.
overnight heat loss
4. Salt or scale formation when using hard water will be reduced Scale formation will be more and may choke the narrow
pipes within the collector.
5. Scale deposits slide off the smooth glass walls to accumulate Once the scale deposits are formed it stops the flow of
at the bottom from where they can be easily removed. water; the removal of scale is also somewhat difficult.
6. Installation of the system is relatively easy Installation of the system is not easy as VTC

7. Area required for installation will be very less It requires more area compared to VTC
8. Incase of damage to the collector tubes, individual tube can be But here the entire flat plate has to be replaced and it
replaced. involves high cost for replacement.

GAS WATER HEATERS - Gas is the fastest way to heat water. It’s the most economical way too. And it’s the way
homes and establishments across the world usually heat water. Heating water with a gas heater costs much less
compared to an electric heater. One gets to save as much as 66 percent on water heating and also gets hotter water
much faster with gas. The gas heater acts as the perfect complement to the vacuum water heater.
System Maintenance

MAINTENANCE
• VTC solar water heating systems do not need significant maintenance.

• What maintenance of the solar collector is required? - Under normal circumstances no


maintenance of the system is required. Due to the shape of the tubes regular rainfall and
wind should keep the tubes clean.

• Should a tube even be broken it should be replaced. This, however, is an inexpensive and
easy job. Any "handy" person can install a new tube (while adhering to local health and
safety regulations). Tubes are very strong and not easily broken, but if the worst should
happen, VTC tubes can be replaced very easily. They are inexpensive and available though
the contractor. They can operate with several broken tubes, but the efficiency will be
reduced, so it is recommended that broken tubes be replaced immediately

• The system is resistant to the adverse effects of weather as it is made of stainless steel.

• VTC solar water heaters can last for 15-20 years depending upon the general upkeep.

• What happens if one of the solar tubes is broken? - Firstly, tubes are very strong and not
easily broken, but if the worst should happen, solar tubes can be replaced very easily.
Vacuum solar collectors can operate with several broken tubes, but the efficiency will be
reduced, so it is recommended that broken tubes be replaced immediately
Installation at Housing Units
• Housing applications is another use
for the vacuum water heaters. Main
field activities at thirty three (33)
housing locations include but are not
limited to:
– Solar water heaters, vacuum
collector type units, installed at
the roof of selected houses.

– Proper care should be taken to


recognize that residential hot
water utilization volumes and
temperatures are substantially
different from the requirements
at Bldg. 660.

– Specification for the Solar Water


Heater require a system that
produces a minimum of 42,000
BTUs/Day/Panel. Multiple
collectors are needed if higher
temperatures are required for hot
water utilization for commercial
cooking, food equipment, and
dish cleaning uses that require Water piping uni-strut bases over roof are fixed with liquid
higher quantities and volumes. asphalt/tar sealing material to existing roof treatment surface.
The solar water system includes a pressure reducing valve to
– During a normal sunny day,
temperatures on tank probably reduce pressure to 50 psi and the hot water extender (mixer)
rise substantially above 150 deg valve to bring water to 120 degrees.
F, thereby requiring the
installation of mixing valves for Due care should be taken when installing the solar water
120 or 145 deg F compliance.
heaters in an inclined roof. Following diagrams depict the
installation procedure in use at the housing sites.
A schematic diagram of the
typical installed system is
provided for your information.
End

Argos Productivity Solutions, Inc.


Total Solutions in the Energy, Maintenance,
Environment, and Visual modeling fields for
sustainable benefit

For additional information:


Tel. 787.605.7937 / Fax 787.946.8322
juanjrigau@yahoo.com