Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Energie - house heating from Sun, Wind and Rain!

16 Nov '10: I have just been directed to a very interesting product that is very similar in some ways to the Surya Sunbox principle. This is the Energie system from an underfloor heating company called Thermal Reflections. The system uses efficient unenclosed aluminium black collectors, open to the air, which in enough number can be the sole source of heat for a ground source heat pump. Because they are the sole source, they have to be open to the wind and rain, and the heat pump sets the appropriate delta-T to manage the heat collection, even in the dark. They can be roof or wall mounted, like mine as they need most of their heat in winter.
  My criticism would be that they would be very very effective in summer, but have nowhere to put the surplus heat, whereas my humble sunboxes quietly pump solar heat all summer long at 5 litres/min into a fifteen storey deep hole, from where I am now getting the heat for my house during the winter. Mine are an augmentation system that defrosts the ground, a similar technology but differently applied, but it is pleasing to see that the general idea, including the plumbing is very close.
  I take heart from this, and hope to get one of those panels sometime, to test. Apparently, the panel manufacturer is in Portugal. One of those panels, enclosed in a transparent case, might be more effective than our polypropylene collectors.
  The detailed document about them is:
www.thermalreflections.co.uk/uploaded_files/ENERGIETRL.pdf
Below this item, Chris Wood has posted a clarification of how these work: apparently they are in effect part of the heat pump because refrigerant goes to the panels.

1 comment:

  1. David,

    these are DX panels i.e. the panels are evaporators. Refrigerant enters the panels after the thermostatic expansion valve, such that the phase change from liquid to saturated vapor occurs within the tubes of the panel. This system is just a heat pump - no magic.. In fact Blaise initially did this very thing with his first experiment in the lab. I sized some parts and got him some instrumnetation for it etc. Don't know what he did with it though. I think he was shining light upon the panel and looking at the efficiency of capturing the irradiance etc.
    Chris

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