Traditional solar thermal panels use liquid to transfer the Sun’s heat from the panel collector to its intended energy use. This liquid can stop moving, causing power loss and expense. WSE Technologies has developed a prototype which uses air as the heat transfer medium instead of liquid.
Most solar thermal panels use water or glycol as a heat transfer fluid, but both methods have downsides. The use of water is restricted to climates where freezing temperatures are rare to reduce the possibility of frost damage to the system. Glycol solves that problem, but creates another. If the circulation stops due to a blockage or pump failure the glycol will boil and leave a sticky residue. This often results in extensive cleaning and costly replacement of the fluid before the collector is operational again.
Air is free, natural and will not damage the panel if the circulation stops. The idea of using air is nothing new, but so far it has only been used in flat panel collectors. These collectors work well in moderate climates, but their output drops to zero in cold northern climates due to poor insulating properties.
WSE Technologies prototype is an evacuated tube collector, which works similarly to an old fashioned Thermos bottle. A glass tube fits within a larger glass tube, and the air between them is removed. The lack of air between the tubes guards against heat loss, and collects the energy passing through it.
Evacuated tube collectors work well in cold climates. The performance of the air transfer system equals or exceeds the performance of the same tubes using glycol. Using air transfer will reduce the initial start-up cost of converting to solar power by eliminating expensive pumps, controllers and heat exchangers.
When combined with the savings of collecting solar energy over paying for commercial energy, going solar will save your company money. You can feel confident you are doing your part for the environment.
WSE will continue to develop and test the prototype and hopes to being beta testing later this year. Any companies interested in using this new solar panel can contact WSE Technologies.
About WSE Technologies:
Started in 2008, Saskatoon based WSE Technologies supplies environmentally friendly power solutions to customers across Canada. WSE stands for Winning with Solar Energy, and so does owner Bill Elliott. He started working with green power solutions more than 30 years ago, and has his own solar powered cabin in Northern Saskatchewan . Whether your needs are home or business based, the knowledgeable staff of WSE Technologies can help you find the right solution at the best price.