We love to feature new clean energy companies, inventions and products and Kickstarter is a great place to spend some time look at what is new. Here is one project that we think is worthwhile project which is a rethink and redesign of solar thermal hot water storage system with a solar pv powered electric unit. The project details are reprinted in it’s entirety for you review as well as the video from the company
The first solar water heaters were indeed simple, just tanks painted black, placed in the sun. In 1896, Clarence Kemp placed black tanks in a wood box covered with glass panes, thus creating a marketable system. Systems have since become ever more complicated.
Kemp’s invention realized the importance of a solar thermal collector as part of a more efficient system. By the 1920’s, solar water heating had evolved to using a collector separate from the tank connected by pipes. Tanks were positioned above collectors so natural thermal convection caused circulation between collector and tank. Water heated in the collector rose up to the tank. Cold water simultaneously flowed from the bottom of the tank down to the collector. These type are still in use today in areas where freezing weather cannot damage the collectors. Weather was the driving force in the advancement of solar water heaters.
Today’s conventional systems are extremely complicated. All manner of methods are employed to keep collectors from freezing or overheating. Pumps, heat exchangers, valves, pipes in the attic, extra tanks for storing fluids, etc. are required. Even with all this, the collectors themselves lose operating efficiency over time and components breakdown.
Until now, solar water heating systems have been a disappointment to many owners. We know this because members of our team have been in the solar thermal business since 1973. We have seen firsthand the difficulties associated with installing and maintaining old style solar water heaters. Our work has always centered on improving the end users experience and value.
With THERMALUX™, solar water heating takes a giant technological leap forward by returning to simplicity.
The heart of our system is a proprietary heating element and control we call the “Intellement”™, from the phrase “intelligent element”. The Intellement™, along with other safety equipment, is installed in an electric water heater, replacing the lower AC element. The assembled tank, in combination with high grade solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, make up the THERMALUX™ system. The PV panels we use to generate electricity for the system carry a 25 year performance guarantee.
Because it is simple, reliable and costs less, THERMALUX™ will change the global solar water heating market sector…
THERMALUX™ is good for the environment!
Heating water consumes huge amounts of energy. Exhaust by products, or “Carbon Emissions”, produced by burning fuel to heat water, enter the environment. Burning that fuel does not occur naturally.
According to P. Denholm of the, “National Renewable Energy Laboratory”, the total US energy consumption for water heating in 2004 was about 3.5 quadrillion BTU’s (quads).
* Source: “US DOE Water Heater Market Profile Report”
The current “mean time to failure” for a residential water heater is 13 years*. If we begin replacing the 103,000,000 residential water heaters in the US when they fail, in about 20 years, all the water heaters in the US could be converted to THERMALUX™ solar technology. Reduction of annual fuel consumption for water heating could be cut by up to 65%. This huge reduction in fuel consumption comes with a corresponding reduction of carbon emissions.
In the 1980’s, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in Washington, DC, performed a study on the reduction of carbon emissions by an average solar water heater. It showed a solar water heater can save as much as 71.5 tons of carbon emission over its’ lifetime.
There is more on the Kickstarter site just follow the link.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.