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5.2.1 Evacuated tubes: The Solar Collector or Solar Water Heater is a device that absorbs thermal energy from the sun and converts it into usable heat. The heat is normally absorbed by water, or a freeze resistant water mix, which can then be used to supplement hot water heating, space heating.

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Internationally certified product Reliable, efficient, twin-glass evacuated tubes Copper heat pipes for rapid heat transfer Easy plug-in installation Maintenance Free Suitable for mains pressure water (up to 8 bar/116psi) Corrosion resistant silver brazed copper header All stainless steel frame (439 grade SS) Black or Silver aluminum casing Stable solar conversion throughout the day (tubes passively track the sun) 11. The perfect solar collector for domestic solar water heater systems 12. Ideal for commercial solar water heating applications 13. Comprehensive 10 years warranty Table 5.1 key features of the Solar Collector design [5]

The operation of the solar collector is very simple: 1. Solar Absorption: Solar radiation is absorbed by the evacuated tubes and converted into heat. 2. Solar Heat Transfer: Heat pipes conduct the heat from within the solar tube up to the header. 3. Solar Energy Storage: Water is circulated through the header, via intermittent pump cycling.
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Each time the water circulates through the header the temperatures is raised by 5-10oC / 9-18oF. Throughout the day, the water in the storage tank is gradually heated.

Figure 5.4 Evacuated Tubes Operation [5] Evacuated tubes are the absorber of the solar water heater. They absorb solar energy converting it into heat for use in water heating. Evacuated tubes have already been used for years in Germany, Canada, China and the UK. There are several types of evacuated tubes in use in the solar industry. The most common used "twin-glass tube". This type of tube is chosen for its reliability, performance and low manufacturing cost. Each evacuated tube consists of two glass tubes made from extremely strong borosilicate glass. The outer tube is transparent allowing light rays to pass through with minimal reflection. The inner tube is coated with a special selective coating (Al-N/Al) which features excellent solar radiation absorption and minimal reflection properties. The top of the two tubes are fused together and the air contained in the space between the two layers of glass is pumped out while exposing the tube to high temperatures. This "evacuation" of the gasses forms a vacuum, which is an important factor in the performance of the evacuated tubes. Vacuum is an excellent insulator. This is important because once the evacuated tube absorbs the radiation from the sun and converts it to heat; we don't want to lose it!! The vacuum helps to achieve this. The insulation properties are so good that while the inside of the tube may be 150oC / 304oF , the outer tube is cold to touch. This means that evacuated tube water heaters
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can perform well even in cold weather when flat plate collectors perform poorly due to heat loss (during high Delta-T conditions).

Figure 5.5 Evacuated Tubes Diameters [5] Evacuated tubes are aligned in parallel; the angle of mounting depends upon the latitude of your location. In a North South orientation the tubes can passively track heat from the sun all day. In an East West orientation they can track the sun all year round. Length (nominal) Outer tube diameter Inner tube diameter Glass thickness Thermal expansion Material Absorptive Coating Vacuum Stagnation Temperature Heat Loss 1500mm /1800mm 58mm 47mm 1.6mm 3.3x10-6 oC Borosilicate Glass 3.3 Graded Al-N/Al P<5x10-3 Pa >200oC <0.8W/ ( m2oC )

Table 5.2 Evacuated Tube Basic Specifications [5]

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5.2.2 Efficiency:

Solar collector efficiency is usually expressed as a percentage value, or in a performance graph. When assessing a collector's performance make sure it is based on the correct surface area values. If performance values are based on absorber area, then the gross area must be used when determining total heat output. Performance: Solar water heater performance is often presented as a graph, or set of three performance variables. Values may be provided based on gross area, aperture area or absorber area. In Europe, aperture or absorber is often used. It doesn't really matter which values is used, as long as you use the correct value. So we take the absorber area. To adjust from one to the other, multiply by the size difference. I.e. If absorber area = 0.6m2 & gross area = 1.1m2 then (1.1/0.6 = 1.83), so multiply the performance factors by 1.83 to convert from gross to absorber. In this calculation we have taken the absorber area.

Conversion Factor: 0 = 0.717 Loss Coefficient: a1 = 1.52 W/(m2K) Loss Coefficient: a2 = 0.0085 W/(m2K2) G=600 watts/m2 Ambient temperature = 8 Water temp [(Tinlet+Texit)/2] of 50oC

X= (50- 8) /600 = 0.07

(x) = 0.717 - (1.52*0. 07) - (0.0085*130*0. 072) (x) = 0.717 0.1064 0.02499 = 0.585
That is: 58.5% of the energy provided by the sun is actually used to heat the water. Then 600 x 0.585 = 351 Watts of energy per m2 of absorber area will be used
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Length = 1.72 m The Diameter of the inner tube =0.047m

Area = *0.047m * 1.72m = 0.254m2 absorber area of each tube Area. G. (x) = peak output of each collector 0.254*600*0.585 = 89.15 Watts for each tube. The heating load =39006 W 351 Watts of energy per m2 then we need 111.13 m2 of absorber area. So we need 438 tubes.
Based on the assumption that those three environmental factors (G, Tm and Ta) are stable for a period of one hour, then 600 x 0.585 = 351 Watts of energy per m2 of absorber area will be used to heat the water. Below is a graph showing the performance curves for the solar collector at three different insolation levels, from 0 to 80oC delta-t. In most cases the delta-t values will be in the range of 20-50oC, with higher values present for high temperature heating such a for absorption cooling applications, or during very cold weather. Except for when the delta-t is zero, conversion efficiency is dependent on solar insolation levels, with higher insolation yielding greater levels of solar conversion.

Figure 5.6 Solar Collector Performance Curves [5]

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