Greek SME develops an innovative concentrated solar thermal collector

A Greek SME is working for launching an innovative solar thermal collector. This product has been designed to be used in applications previously not possible with existing technology and with significant benefits. Concentrated solar thermal collectors are generally large in size...

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Greek SME develops an innovative concentrated solar thermal collector



Balkans.com Business News Correspondent - 21.10.2013

A Greek SME is working for launching an innovative solar thermal collector. This product has been designed to be used in applications previously not possible with existing technology and with significant benefits. Concentrated solar thermal collectors are generally large in size and therefore their use has been limited to large installations for producing electricity in remote areas. The Greek company is presenting a new design of concentrated solar thermal collector which is also suitable for domestic use. This collector can be used for heating water and for air-conditioning (heating or cooling). A further potential application of the collector will be industrial electricity production. The proposed design uses Fresnel lens, instead of the expensive metal concave mirrors that are currently used, to concentrate the solar energy on small collectors, where the solar energy is trapped. The small collectors (the size of the collectors is much smaller than the size of the Fresnel lens) can absorb solar energy with great efficiency (due to their small surface) even when the collecting temperature is high. The collectors are constantly aligned with the sun and thus they have more time for harvesting solar energy, resulting to smaller thermal energy storage need (hotels). In order for the lenses to be always focused on the small collectors, precise sun orientation of the whole collector is needed. The mechanical construction and various sensors protect the collector from damage at extreme conditions (overheating, rain, night). In this way the collector has long and fault-free operation period. The solar collector can be easily installed, with no significant modifications, as an auxiliary system in buildings or industries for the provision of hot water. The collectors can be used in parallel with other conventional energy sources. In such cases, the energy needed can reach as little as 40% of the one spent with a conventional source. Currently, pilot projects in buildings have been installed with very promising results. With some additional modifications, the collectors can be used for heating or cooling purposes with the involvement of an air-conditioning chiller. Such a case hasn't yet been realized and is of interest for the Greek company. Another interesting application is the production of electricity. In this case, the collectors will be used with a steam turbine, a Peltier thermo coupler or even a Stirling engine. Thanks to the small size of the receiver, the energy losses are kept to a minimum. Thus, the solar collector is the same efficient winter - summer. Also, due to the small size of the collector, it has a very small recovery heating time, so even when the sun is often intermittent (alternating sunshine - cloudy), energy is transferred to the heating medium. With automatic orientation toward the sun, the solar collector is able to collect, solar energy, from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, growing much the useful sun energy hours. The system has low production cost compared to competitive solutions. It can be used at any level (industrial, hotels, domestic). Small size allows also the installation of the collector in places previously not possible. Can be used for heating water and air conditioning as well. European Union


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