Honeycomb Solar Thermal Collector Pumps Heat Efficiently Even in Cold Areas
Fundamentally, it is generally known that the efficiency of solar thermal energy yield largely depends on the natural level of sunlight that an area receives. But even if there is enough sunlight, the general climate of the area would still determine how much of the energy would actually be captured and stored. Because of this, setting up a solar thermal installation could prove quite the challenge for the colder areas of the globe.
The simplest solution for this problem would be to have the thermal collector gather more heat from sunlight that it usually would. An Israeli company named TIGI solar have devised a way to do this by designing the solar thermal collector in the shape of a bee’s natural habitat.
The shape of a honeycomb has long been known as a sturdy structure that does not take or use up too much material. However, that may not be the base principle of the honeycomb solar thermal collector, as it instead uses the structure pattern to help minimize heat loss when capturing sunlight. It uses a proprietary design that uses a “transparent insulation mechanism” to progressively accumulate heat energy even in areas where heat would usually be just swept away by the ambient cold winds.
The primary design for the thermal collector was developed by Shimon Klier, an industrialist who is also the chairman and founder of the company. The honeycomb structure is sandwiched between an upper glass layer and a lower energy collecting surface. Once sunlight hits the honeycomb thermal collector, the honeycomb structure traps the heat inside a pocket of air within each honeycomb cell. Since the air cannot circulate, heat loss due to convection is greatly minimized. After collecting heat energy, it is then transferred to the collecting surface, and is redirected to wherever heat is needed. In other words, the energy efficiency principle of this new solar thermal collector does not focus on directly increasing solar thermal energy yield, but instead prioritizes on maximizing each drop of heat energy it receives -keeping losses to a bare minimum.
The honeycomb solar thermal collector can be directly used like your average solar thermal energy system. However, with its increased efficiency level, it can also be used on other larger applications. Commercial and industrial institutions and establishments for example, can benefit from its space heating (for offices) and heat generation (to run certain machinery). Of course, because it is a direct heating system rather than a solar PV system, it should be sufficiently economical to set up.
The primary inspiration that helped develop the honeycomb solar thermal collector was the fact that the world uses a significant portion of its energy budget just for heating. During the 1979 oil crisis, Shimon Klier was forced to think of a plan or an alternative in using energy. Expensive coal burners, were the only other way at that time to do the chemical processes needed by the textile factories of his former company. Today, just how many kilowatt hours do we still typically spend just to heat our homes and various things? A helpful heating tool like the honeycomb solar thermal collector might just be the answer to our wasteful and harmful spending of energy for heat.
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