Category Archives: Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV)

Industrial Process Heat System

Such a system is suitable for supplying hot water or low temperature steam to various industrial applications (e. g. food industry). The system consists of an array of collectors, a circulating pump and a storage tank. It includes also the necessary controls and thermal relief valve, which relieves energy when storage tank temperature is above a preset value. The system is once through, thus the used hot water is replaced by mains water.

Mean monthly ground temperature values are used for the mains water temperature in simulations. When the temperature of the stored water is above the required process temperature, this is mixed with mains water to obtain the required temperature. If no water of adequate temperature is available in the storage tank its temperature is topped-up with an auxiliary heater before use. The system considered provides 1000 kg/hr of hot water at a temperature of 80°C (load). This is an average consumption of hot water for medium size food industries. The load is required for the first three quarters of each hour. The specifications of the system are shown in Table 3.


TRNSYS can give results in an annual, monthly, daily or hourly basis. Here mainly annual results are presented together with some typical monthly ones.

Concept Development

However, plastics are widely used in comparable applications (e. g. in buildings as doors and windows) and even in the highly sophisticated automobile industry under increased requirements concerning structural stability and quality of surface.

Despite the lack of flexibility, a trough was favoured to a frame design for cost reasons. In any case, it is first of all necessary to find the appropriate way of production: injection moulding or deep-drawing. Apparently, injection moulding offers much more freedom of design, however, the economically favourable solution counts. A commercially interesting alternative to the existing aluminium troughs means production costs of less than 25 € per trough (2 m2 collector, ready for assembly).

For that reason, a detailed cost simulation was carried out regarding several approaches of injection moulding. As was expected, caused by the necessary high investments, injection moulding is interesting only above 60.000 pieces p. a., yet provides opportunities to reduce the cost to about 20 € per trough. At the time of the project, such a high number of collectors of one single type was not produced by any of the big producers of solar — thermal collectors. Hence, for cost reasons, a deep-drawn trough design was selected, that leads to only moderate investments of tooling. The cost limit can be met using this production technology.

The following design work, as shown in figure 7 and figure 8, was accompanied by detailed material selection. Typical solar-thermal collector operation conditions have to be considered, such as

► life-time of at least 20 years,

► all-year unprotected weather exposure,

► temperature changes from -20 °C up to +80 °C,

► UV-exposure,

► salt water atmosphere, etc.

Thermoplastics such as ASA, especially when combined with polycarbonate and glass fibres, appear well suited and are already used in relevant applications, however, they are relatively expensive (figure 6).

Luran® S, produced by BASF AG, Ludwigshafen/D, for example is a thermoplastic based on ASA and is widely used in applications comparable to solar-thermal collectors:

► automotive construction (figure 6; also commercial and agricultural vehicles),

► electrical engineering (TV antennae parts, cable connection housings, weatherproof protective housings),

► sports and other outdoor uses (sailboats, surfboards, snowboards).

PFLEIDERER DACHZIEGEL GmbH, Winnenden/D, is even using this material for roof — integrated PV-systems as shown in figure 9.

Collector and Engine

A mean solar field temperature of 250°C is required to operate the engine due to the temperature drop in the steam generator, if pressurized water is used as heat transfer medium in the solar field. Alternatively the steam can be directly generated in the collectors, resulting in lower temperatures and less thermal losses (Hennecke et al, Zarza et al). At 250°C an efficiency of 65% at 800 W/m2 irradiation and an annual yield of about 450 kWh/m2*a can be expected from the collector including losses caused by heat capacities and in piping. A solar field of 1850 m2 aperture area would be necessary for the nominal load of the engine. Due to its size the field can only be erected with horizontally mounted collectors.

According to TRNSYS-based calculations the annual electrical output from the engine related to the solar aperture area is 47 kWh/m2*a. Heat delivery from the condenser of up to 100°C accumulates to 390 kWh/m2 per year. At times of low irradiation, when less than 30 % of the engine’s design heat input is delivered by the solar field, electricity production will be stopped.

Apart from the above-described thermodynamics in stationary conditions, effects as heat capacity and controllability will play an important role. These can be best investigated in existing installations though.

Costs and Revenues

As there are no experiences about high-efficient, medium size parabolic trough collector field costs, assumptions are based on the EuroTrough technology and the PTC 1800 collector of the company Solitem. The EuroTrough collector cost is estimated to about 200 €/m2 (Geyer et al) in its first power plant project, whilst the PTC 1800 costs about 500 — 600 €/m2 (including peripheral equipment as pumps, control and installation) for a 400 m2 field size in its first installations. Basing on these numbers collector field costs of 400 €/m2 installed are assumed to be achievable. The solar field costs would amount to 740.000 €. The Spilling engine costs are 160.000 € including installation and control facilities. The investments amount to about 900.000 € in total.

While the electrical power can be fed to the grid, a typical application for the condensation heat could be domestic hot water distributed in district heating for about 500 housing units. For such an application the equivalent value of the thermal energy is about 0.05 €/kWh, amounting in income of 35.000 € per year for the solar heat. Under German regulations solar electricity from such an installation can be sold to the grid for 0.457 €/kWh,
amounting to 37.000 € income per year. This means that the electricity from the engine adds 50% of the revenues at only 20% of the investment costs.

A relation of 72,000 € savings and income per year and 900,000 € of investment cost can be regarded as acceptable for the first installations of such a system, but not in the long run though. So what are the potential future improvements in efficiency and cost?


Ion VI§A, Prof. dr. eng., Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania, Department Product Design and Robotics, 2200 Brasov Bdul. Eroilor nr.29 e-mail: visaion@unitbv. ro tel.0040 268 419010

Mihai COM§IT, PhD. eng., Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania, Department Product Design and Robotics,2200 Brasov Bdul. Eroilor nr.29 e-mail:comsit@unitbv. ro tel.0040 268 419010

Introduction: The research on renewable energy systems, especially based on solar radiation conversion was mainly orientated on aspects related to the materials and processes directly involved. Already on the market, most of these systems must find now optimum mechanical design that would enhance the output by cutting losses or by using more efficient the solar radiation.

The main input data in designing systems for solar energy conversion is the solar radiation. A method to increase the performances of such a system is to orient the receiver (of the collector or PV panel) in order to follow the sun path on the sky.

The devices created to accomplish this function are called tracking systems. Orientation of the conversion systems in order to intercept the maximum amount of solar radiation that reaches the ground level, may increase the efficiency of the system from 25% up to 50% [3].

The available radiation at the ground level is called global solar radiation. Because of the atmosphere, the radiation may be transmitted, absorbed, scattered or reflected [10]. As a result of atmospheric effects three components of the solar radiation has to be considered: direct solar radiation, diffuse solar radiation and ground reflected radiation (Fig.1).

The most important component of that solar radiation, that determines the structure of the conversion systems, is the direct component of the solar radiation.

The aim of this paper is to identify accurate and efficient mechanical configurations suitable for tracking systems using a structural synthesis method based on Multi Body System theory.

Simulations and results

An environment geometry where the center of the paraboloidal reflector defines the ori­gin of Euclidean space and the z-axis is aligned with the optical axis of the mirror, (forcing the focus to be at the position [0 0 3] and the base of the paraboloidal reflector to be at the point [0 0 0]) was generated. The flux distribution on 200 planes about the focal point was calculated and the initial data points of flux representing 400 times the solar insola­tion were isolated.

The correction of the data cube for non-horizontal surfaces took only five iterations and rapidly converged to high tolerances. The resulting surface designed for even illumina­tions can be seen in Figure 3a. The coefficients of the surface fit to Equation 1 are k1 = -3.915e-02, k2 = -3.915e-02, k3 = -1.208e-01, k4 = 2.755e-11, k5 = 8.652e-07, k6 = — 8.590e-07, ky = -3.184e-05, k8 = 3.183e-05 and kg = 6.951e-01.

Removing the near zero coefficients from the best fit surface generated above, the sur­face can be approximated by the general equation for this application by

x2 + y2 + a(z-b)2 = r2, (2)

which is an ellipsoid where a = k3/k1, b = kg/(2k3) and r2 = kg2/(4k1k3) + 1/k1. Again using

the code from [12] the flux distribution onto the surface defined in Equation 2 was gener­ated the results of which can be seen in Figure 3b. The variation in the intensity across the surface shape in no greater than ±5% from the desired value of 400 suns, which is within the accepted tolerances of common high-concentration photovoltaic cells.

The optical efficiency, defined here as the ratio of the amount of energy striking the re­ceiver surface to that of the total energy collected through the aperture of the paraboloidal concentrator (including a 100% reflection coefficient) was calculated at only 74% and de­creases for surfaces with higher solar concentration. This represents a value much below what is required to be commercially competitive. This short fall is created from the inabil­ity of the least squares approximation of the quadric surface to mold to the steep sides of the desired surface as seen in Figure 3a.


It is clear that by applying the method described, a surface can be generated where upon a constant flux is incident. For the case of a paraboloidal dish concentrator where a con­stant illumination of 400 suns on its surface was desired, homogeneity was achieved with a tolerance of ±5% of value under simulation only The optical performance of such a generated surface was 74% of the available energy.

While the tolerances in homogeneity is acceptable for photovoltaic applications the op­tical performance is far below the ideal. This value however, could be greatly increased by changing the order of the surface fitting algorithm to either a cubic or even a quartic function. This gives greater flexibility in the surface fitting algorithm to mold to the desired shape. Alternatively greater optical efficiency can be gained by using combinations of quadric surfaces in regions or rapid change in structure (such as combinations of ellip­soids and tubular structures in our example).

This method is ideal for creating an evenly illuminated surface under static solar condi­tions, such as for paraboloidal dish collectors. However, the incoming solar radiation is a dynamic system. Variations in the shape of the receiver surface and/or surface orien­tation may be required to allow for variations in the terrestrial spatial energy distribution, tracking errors in concentrating components, degradation in the performance of optical components over time and the dynamic nature or Fresnel mirror concentrators such as power towers and central receiver designs. Creating a static surface to allow for all of these changes presents technical difficulties. The tolerances that each of these surfaces has for dynamic conditions needs to be determined.

This paper has presented a method to produce homogeneous solar flux distributions on a generated receiver surface. This work is complimentary to the that of [10], using differ­ent approaches to generated the receiver surfaces, for which both methods achieve high levels of homogeneity

Steam accumulators for buffer storage

The aim of buffer storage systems is the compensation of fast transients in solar radiation which usually result from passing clouds. These systems should protect the components of the power plant from the effects of sudden variations in thermal load. Characteristic features of buffer storage systems are short reaction times and high discharge rates, while the capacity is only in the range of 5-10 minutes. The function of energy storage for extended discharging periods will then be fulfilled by storage systems as previously proposed for oil and DSG parabolic trough plants.

Steam accumulators show the characteristic properties of buffer storage systems. Fig. 11 shows the basic scheme of a sliding pressure (Ruths-type) steam accumulator: pressurized, saturated water is used to store sensible thermal energy. During the discharge process, the pressure is decreased and saturated steam is generated using the sensible thermal energy from the liquid water volume.

Steam accumulators have been used for decades in process industry and power plants, applications cover a pressure range from a few bars up to 120 bar; characteristic storage capacity is 20-30 kWh/m3 [5].

There are different options for charging a steam accumulator; the energy in the storage volume can be increased by condensation of superheated steam or by feeding saturated liquid water into the steam accumulator. If a heat exchanger is integrated into the liquid water volume the steam accumulator can also be charged by a different fluid than water which might be at a lower pressure.

Fig. 12 Volume specific mass of saturated steam provided by steam accumulator for different initial pressures and pressure drops. Dashed line indicates example with initial pressure = 100bar and final pressure 55bar; steam accumulator delivers approx. 90kg saturated steam per m3 storage volume

The amount of saturated steam provided during the discharge process of the steam accumulator depends on the initial pressure and the extent of the pressure drop. Fig. 12 shows the volume-specific amount of saturated steam released during discharge for various initial pressures depending on end pressure.

A cost effective approach for integration of buffer storage capacity is the combination of the steam accumulator with other components of the power plant; Fig. 13 shows the simplified scheme of a parabolic trough power plant. The collector field is operated in the recirculation mode, i. e. wet steam from the collector field flows into a steam drum where the liquid phase
is separated from the gas phase. The volume of the steam drum can be used to store saturated water; by variation of the water level the energy content can be changed.

Steam accumulators can also be used for parabolic trough power plants using a thermal oil as a heat transfer medium in the solar collectors if the energy provided by the collector field is used in a steam process; here, the steam accumulator is integrated in the secondary loop. Fig. 14 shows a parabolic trough power plant with thermal oil in the solar collectors; the steam accumulator is used as a heat exchanger between oil loop and water/steam loop. Heat from the solar field is used to heat the liquid water volume of the steam accumulator indirectly. The energy content of the heat exchanger/steam accumulator is related to the water level

In a Ruths-type steam accumulator the steam pressure drops during discharge. For some applications, a storage system providing steam at constant pressure is advantageous. One option to avoid a pressure drop is the application of a separate flash evaporator (Fig. 15): the saturated liquid water taken from the steam accumulator is depressurized externally, cold water is fed into the storage vessel to keep the water level constant, mixing of hot and cold water must be minimized, thermal stress resulting from filling the pressure vessel with cold water must be considered.

Another option for constant pressure storage is the integration of phase change material (PCM) into the storage vessel partly replacing the liquid water (Fig. 16). Here, the thermal energy associated with the phase change between liquid and solid state is used for isothermal energy storage. PCMs usually exhibit a low thermal conductivity so layers of this material must be thin to ensure a sufficient heat transfer rate. One option to fulfill this demand is the encapsulation of PCM in small containers placed inside the liquid volume. Using PCM is not only attractive regarding the avoidance of thermo mechanical stresses resulting from temperature transients, the characteristic volume-specific storage capacity of PCMs is in the range of about 100kWh/m3. Compared to the corresponding value for water (20-30kWh/m3), the integration of PCM helps to increase the storage capacity of a given pressure vessel.

Although steam accumulators exhibit only a small storage capacity, the availability of these buffer storage systems can contribute to reduce the investment costs for storage capacity if they are combined with storage systems intended for longer periods of discharge. By reducing the requirements regarding response time and discharge rate the specific costs for storage systems with several hours of heat capacity can be reduced.


Part of the work presented in this paper has been funded by the German Federal

Environment Ministry under the contract code PARASOL/WESPE and part by the European

Commission within the 5th Framework Programme on Research, Technological

Development and Demonstration under contract no. ENK5-CT-2001-00540.

The authors are responsible for the content of this publication.

[1] Solar Energy Laboratory (LABSOLAR) — Florianopolis BSRN station.

[2] We would like to point out that the objective function is the collector gain on a daily (or monthly or yearly) basis. It is not absolutely necessary to be able to correctly describe the momentaneous collector performance in every timestep of operation.

[3] This process has been discussed in section 5.

[4] For collectors with a biaxial incident angle behaviour the incident angle in east west direction has to be considered

[5] the sum of the absolute values of the difference in calculated and measured power per time step divided by the sum of the measured power per time step must be less than 5% (equation 5).

[6] V. Weitbrecht, D. Lehmann, and A. Richter. Flow distribution in solar collectors with laminar flow conditions. Solar Energy, 73(6):433-441, 2002.

[7]eff = = г (equ — 2)

PTin ‘ Ac PTin ’n’ reff

The effective cross section for the flow in vertical direction was assumed as circular with the radius reff. To further improve the model accuracy, a constant, hoffset, was additionally taken into account:

[8] Presently a PhD candidate at Queen’s University, McLaughlin Hall, Kingston, ON, CANADA. K7L 3N6 Email — mesauita@me. queensu. ca

[9] Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais, Av. Barbacena, 1.200, Belo Horizonte, MG, BRAZIL.30161-970

[10] 23456789 10

Solar irradiation on collector plane [kWh/(m2 d)]

[12]random order not according to the order in the presented diagrams and tables

[13] Corresponding author ph: +61(0)2 93515979 fax: +61(0)2 93517725 email: d. buie@physics. usyd. edu. au

[14] An air cooled condenser is used for both options. This will be not the case for the real plant. Since this investigation is a comparison between two technologies and not an investigation of a single option this difference is not that important.

[15]1 (PWH1-C

Heat Generated by Solar Flat Plate Collector (Month wise) as per data

As per above designing procedure we have installed 95 solar Flat Plate Collectors and a 8000 ltrs. Hot water storage tank for storing the solar water to supply to the process tanks through the heat Exchangers.

The heat exchanger are designed in such a way that they should occupy minimum space and should be removable for the de-scaling of outer body on which the sludge is deposited during the process. We have used tube type heat exchanger made up of SS 304. The inlet temp of heat exchanger is kept at 75 Deg. C. We have taken the following observations of solollector outlet temp., tank temp. and month wise line chart has been prepared

3.1. Energy Saving Ca



Average Solar Radiation KJ / Sq. Mtr

Actual Heat Gain by Solar System in Kw

Saving of Electricity in Kwh per day ( Rate of Electr. Rs.6 / Kwh)

Saving Per Month in Rs.































Comparision of Solar Collector Output & Storage Tank Temp.

Comparision betn Solar Collector Outlet Temp. & Storage Tank Temp.



Pay Back Calculation ( Without considering depreciation)

Cost of Solar System ( including fabrication of super structure) Rs.13,69,000=00 Cost of Energy Saving per annum (average) Rs. 9,05,668=00

3. Results

The Solar Flat Plate Collector Heating System is generating & fulfilled the heating requirement of pre-treatment process used before powder coating. The payback period of such systems is less than 1 V2 year, which will reduce the cost of production & increases the overall profit. The system has no maintenance except the electrical components & has a life of more than 20 years. The saving is shown in a separate Bar Chart also (Monthly)

4. Conclusions

It is necessary to have Hot Water storage Tank to supply the hot water in the morning as well as in the evening when Solar System is generating hot water below the required temperature.

1. In the month of June, July, August, November, December & January are the critical months & backup-heating system is required (if production is not been completed before 6 O’clock in the evening) to fulfill the gap between the demand & supply.

2. The Solar Flat Plate Collector Heating System is found most feasible and most economical (with compare to electricity) for such application & should be used by the Automobile Industries & Powder coating Plants for the other products also.

5. References

1. Guideline for Solar Flat Plate Collector Testing & Performance ( IS:12933. ) — Bureau of Indian Standards, India.

2. Hand Book of Solar Radiation data of India — By Miss. Anna Mani

3. Testing report of Solar Flat Plate Collector of ANU Solar Flat Plate Collector of 10 fin manufactured by Peenya Alloys Pvt. Ltd — BIS 12933 — by Peenya Alloys Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore

4. Heat Transfer ( A practical Approach ) — By Yunus A. Cengel

5. Seven or Nine Tank Process of Heat Treatment Methods — details provided by — Mr. S. V. Shejwalkar, M/s Chaphekar Suspensions Pvt. Ltd. Pune.

Description of the hybrid-MaReCo

The MaReCo

The MaReCo principally consists of an asymmetric reflector trough with a single absorber running along the trough (figure 1). The reflector geometry is specially adapted to the irradiation distribution in Sweden (Karlsson and Wilson, 2000). The reflector consists of two parabolic parts connected by a semi-circular sector. The acceptance angle interval of the collector is between 20° and 65° form the horizon. Since the reflected radiation will reach the absorber on both sides, the absorber should be double sided selective. In the hybrid version, there are solar cells laminated onto the front side of the absorber. The main advantage with the MaReCo-construction is the low material content, which helps to reduce the collector cost.

Figure 1: Principal sketch of a MaReCo, consisting of an asymmetric reflector trough, a

double sided selective absorber, and an AR-treated cover glass.

The first build prototype was made as a sandwich structure with one inner reflector sheet made of aluminum and one outer sheet made of steel. One problem with this construction was, however, that the reflector was deformed at high temperatures. In order to solve this problem, a new construction was developed. In this design, the reflector trough is made of a single steel sheet laminated with an aluminized plastic foil. The aluminized surface gives the reflector a good reflectance, and the steel sheet makes the construction rigid enough to avoid the problem with deformation.

When manufacturing the reflector trough, the reflector plate is first cut to the desired length. It is then bent over a special fixture in order to achieve the correct reflector shape (figure 2).

The gables of the construction consist of a single plate with a groove in which the reflector plate is placed (figure 3).

Figure 3: The reflector trough gable.

The hybrid-absorber

Also different kinds of hybrid-absorbers have been tested in the development project. Problems with stability and high temperatures lead to the development of a specially designed aluminum profile with solar cells laminated onto the front side of the profile (figure 4). The water is fed through copper tubes inserted in the notches on the backside of the profile. In order to increase the solar absorptance, the surface is anodized. The relatively thick aluminum-profile makes the hybrid-absorber stable, and reduces the temperature gradients that arise due to concentration.

Figure 5 shows a close-up of a hybrid-absorber placed in a MaReCo-trough. Here, also the absorber-holder can be seen.

Support and glazing

In figure 6a is shown the mounting support for the reflector trough. Figure 6b shows the collector mounted onto girders that will be used for fastening the collector onto the roof. The larger girders in the photo are exemplifying the girders that are mounted on to the roof.

% a

Figure 6:

The collector trough is covered with an anti-reflection treated glazing that is fastened with silicon. The glazing and the reflector trough together give a rigid construction.


During spring 2004, 30 m2 (12 units) of the developed MaReCo-hybrid was delivered to Hammarby Sjostad for installation. Figure 7 shows a photo from the roof when the collectors have been lifted up and mounted on the girders on the roof. In the picture, the collectors have not yet been electrically connected or connected to the heating circuit.

Figure 7: Photo from the installation of the MaReCo-hybrid in Hammarby Sjostad.

In order to get a high enough voltage, the modules will be series connected in two parallel units that are connected to the converter.

On the heating side, the collectors will be connected to two accumulators. The generated heat will be used for the production of hot water.


In the continuation of the project, measurements will be made on heat and electricity performance. The output will be compared with the available radiation. These measurements have not yet started, since the hybrid-collectors still have not been installed. The measurements will be made during the operation season 2004.

Preliminary measurements on a prototype hybrid-collector placed at Vattenfall Utveckling’s laboratory in Alvkarleby indicate that a yearly heat output of about 145 kWh/m2giass (at an operating temperature of 50°C) and an electricity output of 50 kWh/m2glass are possible to achieve.


The construction is considered to be an interesting technique for using solar energy to produce both electricity and heat. The low material costs will help to create a cost effective system. The measurements on the system installed in Hammarby Sjostad will give data on the energy output from the system. This data is then to be used to calculate the energy cost for the produced heat and electricity.


Broms G. et al, "Utveckling av solhybridsystem till Hammarby Sjostad’, VUAB report no U 03:34, Vattenfall Utveckling AB, 2004. (Project report concerning the development of the MaReCo-hybrid.)

Helgesson A. et al, “Solvarme, Slutrapport for FUD-program Solvarme 1996 — 99", VUAB report no UD 00:12, 2000. (Final report from the Swedish RD&D-program "Solar heat 1996 — 99".)

Helgesson A. et al, "FUD-program “Solvarme 2001 — 2003”, Slutrapport’, VUAB report no U 03:103, Vattenfall Utveckling AB, 2004. (Final report from the Swedish RD&D-program "Solar heat 2001 — 2003".)

Karlsson B. and Wilson G., “MaReCo-design for horisontal, vertical or tilted installation", Vattenfall Utveckling AB, 2000. (Contribution to EuroSun 2000 in Copenhagen)

Large hot water system

The annual results for this system are shown in Table 4. As can be seen the poorer the collector characteristics the poorer the system performance indicated by the useful energy delivered from the solar system (Qu) and consequently more auxiliary is required (Qaux). However the differences between ordinary painted collectors (type C & D, є=0.9) with the corresponding selective coated collectors (type A & B, є=0.1), is about 16% for Nicosia and 20% for Athens.

Table 4. Annual results for the large hot water system







Qu (GJ)

Qaux (GJ)

Qu (GJ)

Qaux (GJ)


a=0.95, є=0.1






a=0.85, £=0.1

135.8 (9.8)


137.7 (11.1)



a=0.95, £=0.9






a=0.85, £=0.9

113.7 (9.7)


110.1 (12)


Note: Number in brackets represent percentage difference with respect to black


Typical monthly results for type A collectors for both Nicosia and Athens are shown in Table 5. As can be seen the solar system can satisfy almost all needs during the summer months represented by the small value of Qaux during these months. The column Qins in Table 5 refers to the radiation incident on the collector surface and the Qenv to the heat loses from the storage tank envelope.

Comparative graphs of the monthly useful energy (Qu) and auxiliary energy (Qaux) for the four types of collectors considered are shown in Figs 2 and 3 for Nicosia and Athens respectively. In all cases the performance of the color collectors is somewhat lower than that of the respective black absorber collectors.

Material Cost Reduction

Because of its high material cost, the cost target cannot be achieved when using Luran® S. Hence, solutions in order to reduce material costs were investigated as summarised in table 1.

Table 1: Approaches to Reduce Material Costs


Cost Reduction Potential


blending of ASA with PC + reduced wall thickness


► mechanical strength (no exact requirements available)

use of ABS-PC blend


► reduced UV-stability

use of ABS-PC blend + PMMA-foil


► UV-stability single-sided

use of ABS + PMMA-foil

small — medium

► mechanical strength at higher

temperatures (no exact requirements available)

ABS + PMMA-foil + reduced wall thickness

medium — high

► mechanical strength


medium — high

► mechanical strength (especially at higher temperatures)

ABS-ASA-blend (regenerated material)


► mechanical strength (especially at higher temperatures)

► no reliable material characteristics


Plastics as a structural element in solar-thermal flat-plate collectors offer considerable potential regarding design, weight, production cost and innovation.

However, until its widespread application to solar technology there still remains some detailed work to be done:

► experimental investigation of long-term environmental stability,

► mechanical strength especially regarding higher temperatures (including investigation of possibility of memory effect),

► design of roof fixation,
► design of glass-trough connection, …

The above list of items yet to be solved shows that it is insufficient to simply substitute aluminium by a thermoplastic. Obviously, it is necessary to completely redesign the collector in order to really profit from the new material.

Starting point of this project was the necessity to reduce the collector’s production costs. Since a solar installation, if only for hot water preparation or, as more and more popular, for heating applications, means an enormous, mostly private investment at low economy, costs and prices have to be in the focus of the producers.


[1 ] Buderus Heiztechnik GmbH: Solartechnik Logasolzur Trinkwassererwarmung und Heizungsunterstutzung, Planning Manual, Wetzlar/D, 4/2000.

[2] http://en. red-dot. org/291 +M58564670808.html, 2004-04-01.

[3] BASF AG: Luran® S — Anwendungen, Sortiment, Eigenschaften, Verarbeitung, Product Information, Ludwigshafen/D, 11/1999.

[4] www. pfleiderer-dach. de, 2004-04-01.