# Lecture 4: Solar Thermal Heat Utilization

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1 Lecture 4: Solar Thermal Heat Utilization Lecturers: Syafaruddin & Takashi Hiyama Time and Venue: Wednesdays: 10:20 11:50, Room No.: 208 1

2 Contents: 1. Principles 2. Technical Descriptions 3. Economic Analysis 4. Environmental Analysis 2

3 1. Principles Solar thermal heat systems are installations converting solar radiation into heat in order to heat swimming pools, produce domestic hot water, cover the demand for space heating or supply other heat consumers. Physical principles of energy conversion: Absorption, emission, reflection and transmission The basic principle of solar thermal utilization is the conversion of short-wave solar radiation into heat (photo thermal conversion process). If radiation incidences on material a certain part of the radiation is absorbed. A body s capacity to absorb radiation is called absorbing capacity or absorption α An ideal black body absorbs radiation at every wavelength and therefore has an absorption coefficient equal to one. 3

4 1. Principles cont. Emission ε represents the power radiated by a body. The relationship between absorption α and emission ε is defined by Kirchhoff s law. For all bodies the ratio of specific radiation and the absorption coefficient is constant at a given temperature, and in terms of its amount, equal to the specific radiation of the black body at this temperature. This ratio is exclusively a functionality of temperature and wavelength. Matter with a high absorption capacity within a defined wave range also has a high emission capacity within that same wave range. Reflection and transmission: Reflection and transmission: The reflection coefficient ρ describes the ratio of the reflected to the incident radiation. The transmission coefficient τ defines the ratio of the radiation transmitted through a given material to the entire radiation incident 4

5 1. Principles cont. Optical features of absorbers Absorbers have to absorb radiation and partially convert it into heat. The absorber for opaque for radiation (τ = 0) Therefore: α + ρ =1 Absorption (α) and reflection coefficient (ρ) of an ideal (ideal) and a standard real absorber (real) An ideal absorber: *no reflection any short-wave radiation (ρ = 0) and thus completely absorbs solar radiation within this wave range (α = 1). For long-wave radiation above a certain boundary wavelength, the situation is exactly the opposite. Given an ideal absorber, it reflects all of the radiation and does not absorb any at all. Within the spectrum of solar irradiance, the reflection coefficient ρ real is close to zero, in the infrared spectrum (> 3 μm) close to one. The absorption coefficient α real demonstrates exactly the opposite. 5

6 1. Principles cont. Optical features of absorbers Absorption coefficient for various different materials, the transmission and reflection coefficients for the solar irradiance and the infrared range of the solar radiation spectrum. Compared to the non-selective absorber, selective absorber surfaces show high degrees of α s /ε I α S is the absorption coefficient in the spectrum of solar irradiance, ε I is the emission coefficient in the infrared radiation spectrum. Such surfaces are thus also called α/ε-surfaces. Titanium oxide with 19 for example shows a particularly high α s /ε I -ratio. 6

7 1. Principles cont. Optical features of covers In order to reduce the convective thermal losses of the absorber to the environment, in many cases absorbers used in solar thermal systems have a transparent cover. Ideal covers have a transmission coefficient of one in the range of solar radiation, whereas reflection and absorption coefficient equal zero in this spectrum. In real life such conditions cannot be achieved Glass fulfils the required optical features within the luminous spectrum very well. Infrared light emitted by the collector, however, cannot pass through, but is mainly absorbed. If the degree of absorption is high, the temperature of the glass cover rises and the radiation losses to the environment are correspondingly high These losses can be reduced by vacuum-coating of layers that reflect infrared light. 7

8 1. Principles cont. Energy balance General energy balance: General energy balance: describes the general energy balance of a medium that absorbs radiation and converts it into heat: 8

9 1. Principles cont. Energy balance In solar thermal systems the absorber is normally part of a collector. Other components of the collector are frame, cover and insulation. Stationary energy balance at the collector or the absorber 9

10 1. Principles cont. 1. Principles cont. Efficiency and solar fractional savings 10

11 2. Technical description Main components: Collector Essential component: liquid or gaseous heat transfer medium and pipes to transport the heat transfer medium Others: *heat storage with none, one or several heat exchangers plus, for certain designs, *pumps with a drive to maintain the heat carrier cycle *sensors and control instruments Collector consists of: Absorber Transparent Cover Frame insulation heat insulation heat carrier inlet and outlet 11

12 2. Technical description Collector Collector: converting solar radiation into heat. Part of this heat is subsequently transported by a heat carrier flowing through the collector. liquid-type flat plate collector 12

13 2. Technical description Absorber Characteristics: Converts short-wave radiation into heat (photo-thermal conversion) Function of radiation absorption is carried out by a type of absorber material with quite a high absorption capacity within the luminous spectrum Low emission capacity, is aimed for in the thermal radiation wave spectrum In addition, the absorber has to enable a good heat transfer to the heat carrier and also be temperature-resistant, as normally temperatures of up to 200 o C occur in an insulated absorber with glass cover and selective coating. In concentrating collectors temperatures are generally even higher. Materials for absorber: Mainly copper and aluminum. Market increase of solar thermal collectors is continuing, polymeric materials and steel could become more important in the future. In the simplest case, this basic material is painted black on the side receiving radiation (maximum absorber temperature approximately 130 o C ). For a large number of absorbers, this side is also coated selectively (maximum absorber temperature approximately 200 o C ). 13

14 2. Technical description Absorber..cont. Other important parts: The heat carrier flows through the channels inside the absorber. The energy proportion of the solar radiation on the absorber converted into heat inside the absorber is partly transported to the heat carrier (by heat transfer). The system of pipes in the absorber can vary in terms of pipe material, pipe cross-section, length and pipe allocation within the collector. 14

15 2. Technical description Cover Characteristics: *cover of collectors ought to be as transparent for solar radiation as possible and retain the long-wave thermal reflection of the absorber. *At the same time it has to reduce convective thermal losses to the environment. Materials: Suitable materials are glass sheets, synthetic plates or synthetic foils (e.g. made of polyethylene or Teflon). Notes for synthetic covers: The high level of material stress often leads to brittle and tarnished synthetic materials. Furthermore, the outer area can also be scratched very easily by atmospheric exposure. Thus transmission values of synthetic covers are often not stable long-term. most applications for cover :glass characterized by: high level of transparency and resistance to hail. low iron contents can reduce the absorption capacity in the short-wave spectrum Thus it is avoided that the glass sheet heats up. Convective thermal losses to the colder environment are reduced. Often infrared-reflecting layers are vacuum coated on the bottom side of the cover to reflect the long-wave heat radiation from the absorber to the cover into the direction of the absorber. Thus losses can be reduced even further. 15

16 2. Technical description Collector Box & other components The collector box: holds the components required for radiation transmission, absorption, heat conversion and insulation. Materials: aluminum, galvanized steel plate, synthetic material or wood. Functions: It gives the collector mechanical firmness and makes it environment-proof. However, a low level of ventilation has to be ensured in order to reduce high or low pressure caused by temperature fluctuations and remove possible humidity. Other components. Other components. Thermal insulation made of standard insulation material (e.g. polyurethane, glass fibre wool, mineral wool) belongs to the group of other components. 16

17 2. Technical description Installation Collectors are mainly installed on pitched roofs; in this respect the integration into the roofing or the on-roof installation, on top of the tiles, are common technical solutions. *Integration into the roof is less visible and cheaper than the on-roof installation. It is preferably used for new buildings or larger collector arrays on already existing roofs. Additionally, roofing costs are saved for the parts of the roof where the collectors are installed. *Installation of collectors on flat areas (e.g. on flat roofs, in gardens) facilitates optimal adjustment and incline when compared to the installation on pitched roofs. Mainly standardized frames are used to integrate the collector. Frames need to be arranged so that shading is avoided. 17

18 2. Technical description Collector designs and practical applications According to the heat carrier and the way they absorb radiation: Non-concentrating swimming pool liquid-type collectors Non-concentrating glazed flat-plate liquid-type collectors Non-concentrating glazed air collectors, Radiation-concentrating liquid-type collectors Radiation-concentrating air collectors 18

19 a special type of flat-plate collector 19

20 2. Technical description Collector designs and practical applications cont. Non-concentrating swimming pool liquid-type collectors: The basic design (used most frequently in its simplest form) consists of: an absorber mat with a corresponding system of pipes for the heat This collector design is often referred to as the collector type absorber It is preferably used for heating open-air swimming pools. This application needs water at a temperature around ambient temperature. Heat insulation to the ambient is not needed, because there is no driving force (temperature difference) for heat losses. Therefore a transparent cover and an insulation on the back side of the collector are not needed and the optical losses are only due to the reflection coefficient of the absorber (The absorber material is mainly EPDM (ethylene-propylen-dienmonomers) which is able to withstand UV radiation and temperatures up to 150 C. This absorber type is very cheap and results highly efficient for the swimming pool application. 20

21 2. Technical description 2. Technical description Collector designs and practical applications cont. Non-concentrating glazed flat-plate liquid-type collectors: higher temperature levels be required, glazed flat-plate collectors (many cases). They can be built with one or more transparent cover sheets. In order to further reduce the convective thermal losses from the absorber to the cover, the space between the two can be evacuated, which turns the collector into a vacuum flat-plate collector. Due to the pressure difference, the cover sheet has to be supported from the inside in that case. Heat losses to the back of the collector are avoided by insulation material. Absorber, cover and insulation are fixed by a collector case. 21

22 2. Technical description 2. Technical description Collector designs and practical applications cont. Non-concentrating air collectors: Due to the low heat transfer coefficient between the absorber and the air, the contact area between absorber and air flow has to be large. This is for example ensured by ribbed absorbers, multi-pass systems or porous absorber structures. As no frost, overheating or corrosion problems can occur, air collectors have a simpler design when compared to liquid-type collectors Disadvantages: the large channels and the often significant drive capacities required for fans. (The reason why air collectors are not widely used for the heating of buildings or the supply of domestic hot) Nevertheless, they are used in individual cases, e.g. for solar food drying systems and low-energy houses with exhaust air heat recovery that are already equipped with air distribution and collector systems and thus do not require a water heating system. 22

23 Concentrating liquid-type or air collectors: These collector types reflect the direct share of solar radiation through mirror areas and thus concentrate the direct radiation on the absorber area. The level of concentration of solar radiation is the concentration ratio or the concentration factor C. It is defined as the ratio of the optically active collector area to the absorber area impinged on by radiation. The maximum theoretical concentration ratio of 46,211 is the result of the distance between sun and earth, and the sun radius. Technically, concentration factors of up to a maximum of 5,000 can be achieved at present the temperature that can be achieved in the absorber depends on the concentration factor *The theoretical maximum absorber temperature just equals the surface temperature of the sun in the case of a maximum concentration ratio (approximately 5,000 K). *The temperatures that can be realistically achieved in the absorber are significantly lower. Rotation parabolic mirrors, for example, can achieve absorber temperatures of a maximum of 1,600 o C 23

24 2. Technical description Data and characteristic curves Optical and thermal losses Optical and thermal losses are the decisive factors for the collector efficiency Optical losses are determined by: The product of the cover transmission coefficient and the collector absorption coefficient. This loss is only dependent on the material and approximately radiation and temperature-independent. Thermal losses are described together with: Other non-constant losses by a constant heat transition coefficient As a first approximation, this loss is linearly dependent on the difference between the absorber and the ambient temperature and inversely proportional to radiation 24

25 2. Technical description Data and characteristic curves cont. In the case of large temperature differences, assuming the linear dependency on the temperature, an increasing deviation from the real efficiency curve is observed. It becomes obvious that the approximation line for the efficiency is getting flatter with an increase in radiation and thus a change in the temperature difference between absorber and the environment has less impact. 25

26 2. Technical description 2. Technical description Data and characteristic curves cont. 26

27 Heat Storage Sensor and control systems Heat transfer medium Pipes Heat Exchangers Pumps 2. Technical description 2. Technical description Further system elements: 27

28 2. Technical description Energy conversion chain 28

29 2. Technical description Losses 29

30 2. Technical description System design concepts 30

31 Solar heating of open air Swimming pools Small systems 2. Technical description 2. Technical description Applications: Solar-supported district heating systems 31

32 3. Economic Analysis Investment Operation Costs Heat Generation Costs 32

33 Collector Storage Other system components Installation & operation Total investments 3. Economic Analysis Investment 33

34 Collector The approximate costs of the collectors currently available are between 50 and 1,200 /m 2 The decisive factor is the collector type: *simple absorber mats: ~ 40 and 80 / m 2 *single-glazed flat-plate collectors with black or selective absorbers: between 200 and 500 / m 2 depending on the plant size. *Vacuum pipe collectors, multi-covered flat-plate collectors or collectors improved by transparent heat insulation: more than 700 / m 2 and sometimes above. Apart from the technology, the collector costs also depend on the size of the collector Collector modules with large areas are cheaper, relative to their size, than small collectors; in some cases large collector modules have been offered at 220 / m 2, or even less for very large collector areas (i.e. below 200 / m 2 ), including installation and piping 34

35 Storage The costs for the storage depend mainly on the storage volume; Investment costs for smaller systems with a storage content between 200 and 500 l including the heat exchanger are between 1.5 and 3 /l storage volume or 100 to 200 /m 2 collector area. Heat-insulated steel tanks of up to 200 m 3 are currently the state-of-the-art of technology. A 100 m 3 storage costs between 300 and 400 / m 3 Larger reservoirs in the ground are significantly cheaper. Total costs between 75 and 80 /m 3 were estimated for a ground reservoir with a size of 12,000 m 3. This includes the labor and material costs for setting up the building site, ground works and drainage plus steel and concrete works. Other sources quote costs between 50 and 80 / m 3 for heat-insulated ground reservoirs with metal foils for sealing and volumes between 7,000 and 40,000 m 3. 35

36 Other system components pipes sensors control instruments Pump the anti-freeze all installations related to security technology (e.g. security and shut-off valves, expansion tank). For decentralized domestic hot water supply systems: normally 20 to 30 m of pipes have to be installed Thus, the costs for the pipes including the heat insulation are between 40 and 70 /m 2 collector area In total, the investment costs for these components are between 60 and 90 / m 2 collector area For centralized solar thermal domestic hot water systems: *the total costs of other components can vary between 65 and 130 / m 2. As a first estimate, this range can also be taken as being representative for larger solar-supported district heating systems 36

37 Installation & operation Solar thermal systems for domestic hot water heating for households: often partly or entirely self-installed. Costs for the potential people in charge of the system are generally very low. However, if the system is installed by a company, the specific installation costs are between 70 and 250 /m2 of collector area. These costs include: installation of the collectors (~20 to 30 % of the overall installation costs) mounting of pipes (accounts for the largest share of the costs) connection to the solar storage installation of the sensors and the control instruments and the pump connection to the residual heating system charging and commissioning of the system For central solar thermal domestic hot water support and the larger solar district heating systems: The specific costs for installation and commissioning of the system are often lower. The installation costs for larger collector arrays are approximately between 10 and 20 % of the overall collector costs or between 30 and 50 /m 2. The total costs for installation and commissioning of the system are approximately between 50 and 100 /m 2. 37

38 Total investments Standard domestic hot water systems available in the marketplace usually cost between 5,000 and 6,000. In comparison, Self-installation systems exclusively designed for domestic water heating are significantly cheaper; most of these systems cost between 3,000 and 5,000. Systems with a larger collector area are proportionally cheaper. 38

39 3. Economic Analysis Operation costs *During Normal operation, Maintenance costs only occur for the exchange of the heat transfer medium and for small repairs (e.g. exchange of seals). The operation of the solar thermal system also requires auxiliary energy as the heat transfer medium is normally pumped through the collector circuit (the operation cost) The related costs largely depend on the price for electricity. At an electricity price of 0.19 /kwh and a demand for electricity between and 0.03 kwh per provided kilowatt hour of thermal energy, operation costs are around 6 to 10 /a for decentralized solar thermal systems for domestic hot water heating and between 18 and 25 /a for solar combined systems. Maintenance costs for most parts of the system are between 1 and 2 % of the overall investment (without installation and commissioning). Thus, the entire annual maintenance and operating costs for solar thermal domestic water heating and the combined systems are at approximately 0.9 to 1.8 % of the overall investment (including installation and commissioning). 39

40 3. Economic Analysis Operation costs cont. For a larger solar-supported district heating system: annual total costs of approximately 1 % of the overall investment costs for maintenance and miscellaneous costs (e.g. insurance) (excluding installation and commissioning of the system) Heat generation costs: The specific energy supply costs can be derived from the absolute investments indicated plus the costs for maintenance and operation. The investments are amortized over the technical lifetime of the system (20 years) 40

41 4. Environmental analysis Solar energy systems are characterized by: *noise-free operation without direct substance releases Analysis of local environmental aspects: *construction *normal operation *Malfunction *end of operation 41

42 4. Environmental analysis construction Only the production of the absorber is of particular environmental significance. In the past: galvanic coating methods were used that required a high level of energy input and produced problematic waste. Recently: vacuum coating or sputtering, which is much less problematic in terms of environmental impact during the production process, has increasingly gained importance The anti-reflection glasses that have recently been increasingly used to cover the solar collectors can also be produced following environmental criteria Material for solar storages can be produced and processed with little environmental impact have increasingly been used over the last few Years E.g: polyurethane foams (PU) that can cause environmental problems during production and disposal, have been replaced by polypropylene (PPP) 42

43 4. Environmental analysis construction cont. *During the production process: no environmental effects occur that exceed the general average. *If the appropriate environmental protection regulations are adhered to, a very environmentally-friendly production is generally possible. The rooftop installation of collectors can be dangerous. But, the risk of dying as a result of falling from the roof during system installation, is comparable to that of a roofer, chimney sweeper or carpenter, and is thus considered low. 43

44 4. Environmental analysis normal operation As the operation of solar collectors does not release any substances, they can generally be run in a very environmentally-friendly way. Additionally, collectors installed on the roof are relatively similar to roofs in terms of their absorption and reflection behavior hardly any negative impacts The roof areas covered with collectors that can sometimes be seen from far away only have a minor impact on the visual appearance of cities and villages. The space utilization of solar collectors is also quite low, as generally already existing roof areas are used. Only if collectors are installed on free areas, a negative impact on the microclimate might be possible. However, it is limited mainly to the shadow area and is negligibly low. Evaporation during collector standstill ought to be prevented by an appropriate system design and thus not be a health risk. 44

45 4. Environmental analysis malfunction Environmental effects caused by larger failures cannot be expected from solar collector systems. Health risks for human beings or groundwater or soil contamination by a possible leakage of the heat transfer medium containing antifreeze compound are very unlikely due to an advanced technology. Such problems can also be avoided by regular inspections and the use of foodsafe heat transfer media (e.g. propylene-glycol-water-mixes). Fires at the collectors can only be expected if the entire building on which they are installed is on fire. Possible dangers of injuries by falling collectors that have not been correctly installed on the roof can normally be avoided by maintaining the generally valid health and safety standards; the danger potential is at the same level as that of roof tiles. 45

46 4. Environmental analysis malfunction cont. Legionella can multiply significantly in domestic hot water systems and thus become a danger for human beings if they get in contact with the infected water. However, this is not a problem specific to solar systems, but this problem has also occurred in solar systems in the past. As legionella die quickly at a temperature of approximately 60 o C, this danger can be easily limited by appropriate technical measures (following standards) The potential environmental impacts of solar thermal heating are also low in case of an accident. 46

47 4. Environmental analysis end of operation In principle, recycling main parts of solar thermal systems (e.g. solar collector, storage) is possible. The producers in Germany, for example, are also committed to take the collectors back after the end of the technical lifetime and recycle the materials as part of the German Blue Angel Agreement. Thus, there are environmental effects common for certain materials being recycled. 47

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