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B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering
Natural Water Heating on Roofs
A.R. Townley
May 2009
Supervisor: Mr J.G. Heppell
Thesis submitted to the University of Sheffield in partial fulfilment
of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Engineering
Department
Of
Mechanical
Engineering.
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Summary
This project was carried out with the primary aim of creating a sustainable, affordable
solution for naturally heating water in the village of Pabal, India. Wealthier residents use
systems comprising of blackened pipes on their roofs for water heating, but such systems
are too expensive for the majority. Cost and availability of materials are major restrictions
in this project, so the importance of a cheap, rugged solution cannot be emphasised
enough.
In order to reach a final design, it was necessary to be well familiarised with the village of
Pabal, have a sound knowledge of different natural water heating systems and make use of
a structured design procedure. As the project developed it became apparent that the sun
would be the most prevalent heating resource, so it was therefore also important to become
competent in understanding the way the sun behaves to ensure that the design would utilise
this natural resource as best as possible.
A product design specification was carried out and six concepts were detailed, these were
then further examined by means of a decision matrix concept evaluation, which confirmed
the most suitable design idea. The batch heater was taken forwards for further
development and a suitable final design was completed. Although the final design idea
was satisfactory upon completion, utilising a broad range of understanding and technical
input throughout the development process, confirmation of whether or not it actually holds
any sustainable value for the people of Pabal will only be evident upon its installation. It
would therefore be advised that further work investigating both the performance and
economic viability of the batch heater would be of value.
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Nomenclature
A Area
B Breadth of strut
C
p
Specific heat capacity at constant pressure
d Depth of strut
E Young’s Modulus
I Second moment of area
k Thermal conductivity
L Length of strut
m Mass of fluid being heated
s Thickness of insulating wall
dT Difference in temperature
∆T Change in temperature
T Temperature of a radiating body
T
e
Temperature of air surrounding a radiating body
Energy

Heat
W
y
Euler buckling load
Emissivity
Stephan-Boltzmann constant, 56.7×10
-9
Wm
-2
K
-4
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Contents
Summary .................................................................................................................. ii
Nomenclature.......................................................................................................... iii
Contents ................................................................................................................... iv
Acknowledgement .................................................................................................... v
1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................ 1
1.1 Pabal ................................................................................................................. 1
1.1.1 Overview .................................................................................................. 1
1.1.2 Available Technologies ............................................................................ 2
1.1.3 Public Amenities ...................................................................................... 3
1.2 Natural Water Heaters ...................................................................................... 3
1.2.1 Systems and Applications in More Economically Developed Countries . 4
1.2.2 Designing for Less Economically Developed Countries .......................... 6
2. UNDERSTANDING THE SUN .......................................................................... 7
2.1 The Sun in the Sky ........................................................................................... 7
2.2 Solar Irradiation ................................................................................................ 8
2.3 Pabal and The Solar Track................................................................................ 8
3. METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................. 11
3.1 Primary Design Stages ................................................................................... 12
3.1.1 Flat Plate Collector ................................................................................. 14
3.1.2 The Evacuated Heat Pipe ........................................................................ 15
3.1.3 Concentrated Solar Power ...................................................................... 16
3.1.4 Solar Batch Heater .................................................................................. 18
3.1.5 Absorption Heat Pump ........................................................................... 18
3.2 Concept Evaluation ........................................................................................ 19
3.3 Detailed Design .............................................................................................. 21
3.3.1 Optimising Design .................................................................................. 21
3.3.2 Checking for Errors ................................................................................ 25
3.3.3 Preliminary Parts List and Production Details ....................................... 30
3.3.4 Final Detailed Design ............................................................................. 32
4. CONCLUSION .................................................................................................. 36
4.1 Further Work .................................................................................................. 37
5. REFERENCES ................................................................................................... 38
6. APPENDICES ........................................................................................................ 39
6.1 Appendix A .................................................................................................... 39
6.2 Appendix B ..................................................................................................... 40
6.3 Appendix C ..................................................................................................... 41
6.4 Appendix D .................................................................................................... 42
6.5 Appendix E ..................................................................................................... 43
6.6 Appendix F ..................................................................................................... 44

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Acknowledgement
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported and
encouraged me throughout this project and my academic career. The course has
proved to be a struggle at times and without these people, I would not have reached
the final year.

In particular I would like to thank Mr G Heppell for his help and guidance through
this project, Ms E Rodriguez-Falcon for her unwavering encouragement, support
and patience both in this project and throughout my time here at the University of
Sheffield and Robin Mills for his kind help with natural water heating fundamentals
and his ongoing academic support.

Finally I would like to thank my parents, family and friends for the continuous
motivation they offer me.


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1. INTRODUCTION

Natural water heating solutions exist on varying scales with design ideas as
simple as a series of blackened pipes, right through to the most complex solar
furnaces, which concentrate the suns radiation and are capable of temperatures
that will melt steel plate.

In this project, possible sustainable solutions for naturally heating water are to
be investigated and developed. The system is to be designed so that it will be
suitable for installation in the village of Pabal in Maharashtra, India. The
Natural Water Heater (NWH) will be required to integrate with a suitable water
supply as well as a means of storing the water so that hot water can be used a
period of time after heating.

The primary objectives are as follows:
- To fully understand the environment in which the natural water heater
will be placed, the role it must perform and any restrictions in place.
This must include a comprehensive understanding of the way the sun
behaves.
- To generate a list of design ideas and develop these ideas into valid
concepts.
- To finalise a sustainable concept, based upon the results of a sound
concept evaluation.

The main factor that will influence the feasibility of implementing any NWH
design is the limited resources in Pabal. Particular advanced materials and
manufacturing processes may prove to be inaccessible, placing constraints on
possible concepts.

1.1 Pabal
1.1.1 Overview

Pabal is a rural village, with a population of around 350 people in the centre of
the village and around 9000 people in the surrounding areas[1]. It is located in
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the state of Maharashtra, which is in the west of India, with Pabal being located
slightly to the east of the nearest major city, Mumbai.

It is a relatively poor village and its major economic focus is agriculture with
peanuts, lentils, onions and potatoes being the main types of crops grown on
the surrounding farmland.


Figure 1.1. A view of typical rooftops in Pabal[2].

Currently some of the more wealthy members of the Pabal community use
natural water heating solutions for washing but the problem for the vast
majority of residents is that such systems are currently cost prohibitive[2].
Those that cannot afford such systems tend to use natural gas or kerosene
heaters for their cooking needs at around a cost of Rs300 (around 40p) per
month[3]. It is worth noting that these heaters are not used to heat water for
washing.

1.1.2 Available Technologies

The main technological resource in Pabal is Vigyan Ashram, a school founded
in 1983 by scientist turned teacher, Late Dr S.S. Kalbag[4]. Vigyan Ashram
teaches subjects concerned with sustainable engineering and concentrates on
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rural development. Relating to this project the most useful facility within
Vigyan Ashram is the FabLab, a well-equipped workshop with skilled machine
operators.

Further from Pabal is the University of Pune, whose focus is more academic
and is located a few hours travel south west of Pabal. Its presence is still
useful, with potential for a valuable working relationship for the development
of natural water heating technology suitable to be implemented in communities
in the surrounding areas.

It is necessary to be mindful of these facilities at all stages in the design
process, and although there are some fairly advanced machines in the FabLab,
for example a laser cutter and welding equipment, there will always be benefits
associated with simple, rugged design for Less Economically Developed
Countries (LEDCs) such as India.

1.1.3 Public Amenities

In recent years a dam has been built in the Pabal area so that water is more
readily available throughout the year; prior to this most families had either their
own well or access to a well[1]. There is no organised sewage infrastructure
and it may be that in many of the dwellings a humble hole in the ground is
used. Following correspondences with an EngIndia representative, it can be
reasonably assumed that the types of dwellings focused upon in this project
will not already have any form of plumbing installed[3].

1.2 Natural Water Heaters

NWHs can essentially be described as heat exchangers, which utilises a natural
source of energy to heat the water or other working fluid. In this project it is
water that is required to be heated from its ambient temperature to a
temperature that will result in the water being hot enough to wash in after one
night in storage.
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Given worldwide issues with emissions and their effects on global climate
change there is mounting pressure at many levels to be conscious of sustainable
energy sources. Since the Kyoto Protocol was introduced in 1992 both local
and national governments of those countries who have signed into the
agreement are obliged to meet certain targets devoted to reducing their
emission of greenhouse gases[5].

1.2.1 Systems and Applications in More Economically Developed Countries

As a direct result of such protocols, money is being invested in alternative
energy sources all over the world. Many of the systems being developed
involve heating fluids naturally. A fine example of natural water heating on a
large scale is the PS10 Solar Tower in Seville, Spain. This is shown in figure
1.2.


Figure 1.2. The PS10 Solar Tower[6].

The solar tower uses a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) system with mirrors
that track the suns movement, to focus the radiation onto the solar receiver at
the top of the tower. Water is heated to power a steam turbine which in turn
drives the alternator. This is a fine example of the power of natural water
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heating and in this instance the suns power. A CSP system of this scale is
incredibly expensive however the cost of such technologies can be expected to
decrease with time, in the same way as wind power.
Despite the eventual reduction in the cost of such systems they are still
unsuitable for Pabal because their focus is on providing for a large area. A
good example of a type of NWH being installed to work in a single residence is
the ground source heat pump.
Figure 1.3. A typical ground source heat pump layout [7].
A heat pump uses a refrigeration cycle with a working fluid to utilise heat in
the ground at a relatively low temperature. In a vapour compression cycle the
refrigeration cycle is effectively used as a lever for increasing the useful heat
out as a result of the mechanical work in. It is worth noting that it is necessary
to have that mechanical input and therefore necessary to have a readily
available supply of electricity. It is only the coefficient of performance that
makes it possible to offset the cost of such a system over a period of time.
Ground source heat pumps are normally installed in new builds with an “eco-
friendly” focus, or a prudent owner wishing to save on energy bills over the
coming years. An initial outlay of between £6000 and £12000 is normal for a
8-12kW ground source heat pump[8].
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1.2.2 Designing for Less Economically Developed Countries

Returning to the project brief, the primary aim is to design a solution to be
implemented in rural Pabal. The design must be simple or at least possible to
manufacture locally. This is not to say that the technology employed must also
be basic. Various concepts and design ideas, of varying suitability will be
explored and developed.

There are a number of restrictions that come about when designing for places
such as Pabal and these restrictions prevent the simple installation of existing
systems. The main limiting factor is cost, most natural water heating devices
used in more economically developed countries seek to save money over a long
payback period, with little limit on initial costing. This is not the case in Pabal
and even if paying for a system makes economic sense, it may still be
impossible due to a lack of capital to fund the system. The second limiting
factor is the availability of materials and manufacturing facilities, in order to
encourage development in the local community it is important for manufacture
to take place in the Pabal area. If the resources available are not given
consideration, the design will most likely fail in production.

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2. UNDERSTANDING THE SUN

In order to take advantage of the sun as a resource, it is necessary to fully
understand how much energy is available, how much of this energy can be
harnessed and how the sun behaves in the sky. Much of the literature review
was devoted to both understanding basic celestial definitions and gathering data
specific to the area of interest, Pabal.

2.1 The Sun in the Sky

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, making an arc as it travels across
moving in two planes. It makes two angles, one with the horizon and one with
the due north. The angle with the horizon is known as the Altitude where 0°
would see the sun on the horizon. The angle the sun makes north/south is
known as the Azimuth and by convention 0° is due north. This coordinate
system, which is sometimes referred to as the alt-az system, is illustrated in
figure 2.1[9].

Figure 2.1. A sketch illustrating the two main celestial coordinates.

As discussed, each day the sun will follow a path, which will be referred to as
the solar track. This solar track varies each day and with latitude so as a result
solar devices that follow the sun are normally expensive due to the need for
sophisticated control systems.



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2.2 Solar Irradiation

The suns intensity varies at different latitudes, so once the solar device has
been positioned correctly by taking into account the solar track for the area of
interest the useful irradiation available needs to be known so that calculations
for the device can be carried out and its efficiency validated. Such data is
available from weather records and such like and is normally illustrated on a
map such as the one in figure 2.2.

Figure 2.2. A solar irradiation map of the world [10].
The typical unit for solar irradiation is kWh/m
2
/day and careful examination of
figure 2.2 gives a value of around 5kWh/m
2
/day for Pabal. This is an average
value for the year and the length of day and night has been taken as equal at
43200seconds for calculations

2.3 Pabal and The Solar Track

Values for the alt-az coordinate system can be calculated manually, but when
the required values are over a year, this would prove tedious and time
consuming. A number of free programs are available to perform these
calculations on your behalf, provided that you know the latitude of your area of
interest, Pabal is at approximately 18°N. On this occasion the SunPosition tool
by Christopher Gronbeck of Sustainable By Design was used [12] giving a
discrete number of solutions for the year at an interval of every six hours.
Altitude varies little month to month, so it was decided that the first day of each
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month would be used and three plots were done at 0600, 1200 and 1800 hrs
shown in figure 2.3.

Contrary to convention this tool takes due south as 0° datum for azimuth but
this makes no difference provided it is noted. It can be observed on the 1200
plot that the altitude appears a smaller angle in June and July, this is however
not the case because the azimuth shifts north, with Pabal being south of the
tropic of Cancer. It is also evident that the sun remains high in the sky
throughout the year with a mean altitude of 71.5˚, this is discussed further in
section 3.3.1.

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Figure 2.3. Plots showing Altitude and Azimuth for 18°N.
-20
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
A
n
g
l
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
s
)
Month
0600
Altitude
Azimuth
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
A
n
g
l
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
s
)
Month
1200
Azimuth
Altitude
-120
-100
-80
-60
-40
-20
0
20
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
A
n
g
l
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
s
)
Month
1800
Altitude
Azimuth
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3. METHODOLOGY

In order to develop the design of the NWH it was necessary to follow a suitable
design process so that the problem could be fully understood and correctly
addressed. The strategy followed in design is much the same in all industries
and it can be loosely broken down into the gathering of relevant information in
order to define the problem and understand surrounding relevant issues, the
development of several possible solutions, the evaluation of these concepts to
allow the most suitable concept to be prevalent, finally followed by refining the
chosen solution. This logical record, which is gradually being compiled is not
only an aid to the designer or engineer but can also be an important document
in a culture of litigation and may serve to convict or exonerate the investigated
party in the event of failure resulting in loss to persons or property[12]. The
documented work is therefore not only useful to the designer during the design
process, but may serve to protect him or her in the future.

Figure 3.1. A Design Process Schematic [13].
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Figure 3.1 is a schematic showing the basic design process, it is worth noting
the presence of feedback loops due to the importance of constantly reviewing
and modify existing ideas and information, with further knowledge being
gained as the design process evolves.
3.1 Primary Design Stages
In the first stage of the design process the problem must be identified so that
the specification can be elaborated. A mind map investigating natural water
heating was carried out revealing details about Pabal’s location, different types
of NWHs and the thermodynamic processes involved (Appendix A). Once the
initial understanding is in place, the Product Design Specification (PDS) can be
carried out. The PDS should be well documented and under constant review,
once again incorporating the important iterative feedback loops present
throughout the whole design process.
A product design specification (figure 3.2) was completed and key points were
identified from the initial mind mapping exercise, allowing each criterion to be
weighted both by importance and relevance. Once the key specifications are
evident, a secondary literature review can be carried out allowing concepts to
be developed. Concept development should be a free-thinking time in the
design process, with as many theoretical processes and practical applications as
possible investigated. Six concepts are detailed.
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Figure 3.2. Excel worksheet Product Design Specification.
No. Description Importance Relevance
1 PERFORMANCE - Comfortable shower temp. can be 4 4
taken at around 40degrees C. Water temp must be
around this value agfter storage.
2 ENVIRONMENT - Maharashtra experiences summer 4 5
temps around 40degrees C, winter around
10 degrees C. May be placed on rooftops. Will
intergate with water collection device and storage.
3 LIFE IN SERVICE 5 4
4 MAINTENANCE - Target maintenance free. 4 4
5 PRODUCTION COST - Prototype budget £250. Must 5 5
include machine times etc in final production cost.
6 COMPETITION 1 1
7 SHIPPING - Materials to be sourced locally, to be 3 3
produced/fabricated locally. Eliminate many shipping
costs.
8 PACKING - If the product is to be made in large 3 4
quantities then thought must be given to fitting
the water heater on pallets etc.
9 QUANTITY - Initially one prototype 1 1
10 MANUFACTURING FACILITY - Fab Lab, carpenter, 5 4
blacksmith.
11 SIZE - Footprint not so important. Needs to have a 3 2
large surface area - heat exchanger.
12 WEIGHT - Must be able to be handled by 2 men. 2 2
13 AESTHETICS, APPEARANCE & FINISH - finish must be 2 2
weather proof. Must not look too intrusive in situ.
14 MATERIALS - Materials with relevant thermodynamic 4 4
properties to be chosen. Availability of materials.
15 PRODUCT LIFE SPAN - Determined by resistance to 4 4
weather, no moving parts little wear, water corrosion.
16 STANDARDS & SPECIFICATION - Made to a spec 2 2
determined by the designer.
17 ERGNOMICS - Very little human contact once set up. 2 2
18 CUSTOMER - May require education on advantages 2 1
of the system. Consultations where possible.
19 QUALITY & RELIABIITY - High quality required. 2 2
Must be reliable in day to day service.
20 SHELF LIFE 2 1
21 PROCESSES - Will be made in house in Pabal. How 4 3
this will be controlled must be specified.
22 TIME SCALES - Only limit academic year. 2 1
23 TESTING - Prototype may undergo be tested. Must 4 4
meet pre-designated criteria.
24 SAFETY - once installed it is unlikely to prestent 3 3
risks, but consideration is still required.
25 COMPANY CONSTRAINTS 0 0
26 MARKET CONSTRAINTS 1 1
27 PATENTS, LITERATURE & PRODUCT DATA - several 3 2
existing designs. Will base loosely around those
being careful of patent infringement.
28 POLITICAL & SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS - The 4 2
installation strategy will be handled by EWB who
already have links established with the village.
29 LEGAL 3 2
30 INSTALLATION - Must interface with collection and 4 4
storage solution. Must fit on Roofs.
31 DOCUMENTATION - Clear, complete user manual for 4 4
installation to be provided. Will explain any user
input required.
32 DISPOSAL - Ideally environmentally friendly 3 2
materials where possible. Life span will be long
though.
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In order to have a water heating system it must not be forgotten that a readily
available supply of water is essential. Although this obvious parameter can be
taken for granted in most environments, outside of the monsoon season there is
relatively little water available, even with the recent dam arrangement a water
infrastructure is not in place for all dwellings. An investigative project
studying possible rain water harvesting solutions is being carried out parallel
with this one, however at present no results have been disclosed. It is
necessary to assume that there is a supply of water and that it can be moved to
the NWH for heating, whether this is by means of a pump or a gravity fed
system. Due to the lack of electricity in the area a gravity fed system would be
desirable, with a header tank above the NWH. The head of water will also be
used to provide pressure at the hot water tap.

3.1.1 Flat Plate Collector

The flat plate collector (FPC) is amongst the most common solar water heaters
and is widely used for heating water for a multitude of purposes as well as air
space heating systems. There are two main types of FPC, unglazed collectors,
which are popular for heating swimming pools and the like. For better
performance the collector is glazed which will help reduce heat emitted by the
black body[14].

Essentially the FPC consists of a box with blackened tubes or troughs running
through, with an inlet and an outlet for the working fluid. The box is insulated
underneath the tube and depending on the type of FPC, glazed over the top, as
illustrated in figure 3.3.
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Figure 3.3. A sketch of a Glaze Flat Plate Collector.
FPCs, like most NWHs, are normally operated with a second circuit that will
contain the fluid required for output from the system; this would require either
a pump or a thermal siphon. Although the FPC is inherently quite low cost and
could be expected to perform more than adequately in the Indian conditions, its
necessity to be part of a more bulky twin loop system, may hinder the overall
suitability of this type of water heater in the Pabal environment.

3.1.2 The Evacuated Heat Pipe

The evacuated heat pipe (EHP) is a more specialist heating system using a heat
pipe, which is contained in an evacuated tube tilted at an angle to encourage
convection. The fluid heated by the sun remains in the heat pipe with the
hottest fluid rising into the bulb at the top of the heat pipe.

Figure 3.4. The basics of the Evacuated Heat Pipe [15].
16 16
Normally a number of EHPs are used in one system arranged in a similar
manner to a conventional cross flow heat exchanger. This can be very
efficient but the problem with the EHP for use in Pabal is the manufacturing
process required and the costs associated with it. The glass itself is expensive
to produce and evacuating the tube once it has been fabricated is again,
difficult and expensive.

3.1.3 Concentrated Solar Power

There are two types of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems, the first of
which is the Dish system, which concentrates solar radiation to a focal point in
order to increase the intensity of the radiation. Frensel lenses can also be used
but these lenses are very expensive to produce in the large sizes necessary; for
this reason curved mirrors are much more common. In order to focus the
radiation correctly the lens or mirror must be perpendicular to the angle of
incidence of the sun, it is this requirement that increases the complexity of a
CSP system due to the need for a sun tracking device.

Figure 3.5. A dish CSP system in Spain powering sterling engines [16].

Although such arrays of dish CSP systems are far beyond what will be possible
in Pabal, ideas for creating reflective dishes by spinning plaster of Paris whilst
it sets to create a parabolic shape were investigated (figure 3.6). Such a
manufacturing technique makes the dish CSP system a very cheap and
interesting solution.
17 17

Figure 3.6. Plaster of Paris spun in a drum at angular velocity, e.

The second variation on CSP is the Trough style CSP system, which uses a
pipe running along the length of the trough, placed at the focal point to absorb
the solar radiation reflected. Once again the curved mirrors are costly, but it
would be possible to have many passes of pipe between the ridges in a
corrugated metal sheet coated in reflective foil (figure 2.7). The problem with
both the spun plaster of paris dish and the corrugated sheet ideas is that
although these reflectors are very easy to produce, a sun tracking device is still
required, making their feasibility limited.

Figure 3.7. A sketch of the corrugated sheet trough CSP idea.
A CSP system of either type would need to operate on two loops, with a
working fluid being heated in the first loop, with a heat exchanger in the water
storage tank. Ideally thermal convection would provide the flow of the
working fluid, though further testing would be required to confirm the
efficiency of such a system.


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3.1.4 Solar Batch Heater

Arguably the simplest of all solar water heaters, the batch water heater is both a
water heating and hot water storage device. Convention is for a blackened tank
mounted in a box that will serve to reflect radiation onto the underside of the
tank during the day and insulate the tank overnight whilst it is in storage
mode[17].

Figure 3.8. A sketch of a typical batch heater.
In some respects the water in the batch heater will tend to heat just by existing
in a hot environment, conversely it will also tend to emit radiation to the
surrounding area so unless this is accounted for in design it could prove
unsustainable. The simplicity and low cost nature of the batch heater mean that
it could be suitable for application in Pabal.

3.1.5 Absorption Heat Pump

By far the most complex type of NWH design idea investigated is the
absorption heat pump. This system replaces the conventional pump in a vapour
compression refrigeration cycle with an absorber and a generator to create
changes in the density of the working fluid to create a flow. In theory solar
energy can be used for the heat in to the generator, but the problem is that the
absorption cycle is one fifth the efficiency of a compressor. Studies are
currently being undertaken by Camfridge Ltd [18] to develop an absorption
19 19
cycle refrigerator so the possibility of using this technology in a heat pump
exists.
Figure 3.9. A schematic of an absorption refrigeration cycle [19].
The required mechanical work input into the system is so low that if designed
correctly it can be neglected completely and a gravity fed circulation system
can be used. Once installed such a system could be incredibly cost effective
provided the coefficient of performance offered is adequate but the limiting
factor is the level of investment required for development. In addition local
manufacture would prove difficult with limited access to the necessary working
fluids and materials for construction.
3.2 Concept Evaluation
A structured concept evaluation is a necessity when selecting the best
preliminary layouts of the final design or concept, a key step in the flow chart
in figure 3.1. A short literature review of common concept evaluation
techniques was carried out and several methods were considered. Many of the
common techniques require a group of designers to carry out, for example a
vote method. Other methods included making several prototypes of different
concepts then selecting the best performing or most suitable concept. Time and
money limitations mean this sort of evaluation is also not possible. It was
therefore decided that a decision matrix would be most suitable.
20 20
In order to carry out the evaluation a discreet set of technical and economic
criteria are required. In order to select these criteria the PDS was examined and
those rated three or higher for importance were included in the decision matrix.
This also serves to evaluate the various concepts against the appropriate
technical and economic criteria which is an integral part of selection.
Criteria Flat Plate
Collector
Evacuated
Heat Pipe
Dish
CSP
Trough
CSP
Absorption
Heat Pump
Batch
Heater
Performance -1 2 2 1 2 1
Maintenance 1 1 1 2 0 2
Cost 2 -2 0 2 1 2
Shipping* 1 1 0 1 1 1
Packing* 1 1 0 1 1 1
Manufacturing
facility
2 0 1 2 1 2
Size* 1 1 0 1 1 1
Materials 1 -1 1 1 0 2
Product life
span
0 1 1 1 2 1
Processes 0 0 1 1 0 1
Legal* 0 1 1 1 1 1
Installation 1 1 0 2 1 2
Total 7.5 4 7.5 14 11 15
Figure 3.10. The Concept Evaluation Decision Matrix.
*These criteria were rated 3 in the PDS, therefore they have been weighted
half in the concept evaluation. This is accounted for in the total.
Scoring system: -2 - very poor
-1 - poor
0 - acceptable, average
1 - good, above average
2 - very good
At this stage it is evident that the solar batch heater (2.1.4) emerges as the
strongest concept based upon the criteria detailed with a total of 15 points. The
trough CSP system rated second with 14 points.
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3.3 Detailed Design

The two highest scoring designs were further analysed bearing in mind the
most relevant elements of the PDS, which were considered to be; production
cost, available materials, manufacturing facilities, working lifespan and
required maintenance. When referring back to the concept evaluation (figure
3.10), it can be seen that both concepts scored maximum points in these
categories. It was therefore necessary to further evaluate the details of the
concepts in order to bring forward a prevalent design.

As discussed in chapter 3.1.3, the Trough CSP would be a twin loop system,
utilising a thermal siphon to drive the flow of the working fluid but it would not
be unlikely for a supplementary pump to be required for best efficiency. Due
to the lack of a reliable electricity supply in the Pabal area and the requirement
to make the NWH self sufficient in its operation such a pump is undesirable.

The Batch Heater eliminates the need for other components in the system due
to its integrated design, the main tank being both the heater and the storage
unit. This makes the whole concept inherently simple, so primarily for this
reason, the Batch Heater was chosen over the Trough CSP system and was
taken forwards to the optimising stage in the design process. Fewer
components ultimately lead to a system that will require less maintenance
therefore ultimately better suited to an environment where cheap, trouble-free
running are the priorities.

3.3.1 Optimising Design

It can be seen in chapter 3.1.4. that convention with batch heater design is to
mount the in a box so the efficiency can be maximised during the day but also
to insulate the stored water at night. It is desirable to have a simple but elegant
solution that would fulfil these requirements rather than a cumbersome
removable lid.

22 22
After a mind mapping session was carried out, a possible solution emerged; this
was to use the mirrors for insulation when the tank is in storage mode. This
could be achieved by a gul-wing style arrangement allowing the mirrors to fold
neatly up around the tank. In order to investigate the plausibility of such a
system and to reveal any initial conflicts with the geometry a small model near
to scale was assembled (figure 3.11). This was important because it gave a
tangible prototype that could be reviewed in the same way a person using the
NWH may review the design upon first encountering it. Checking for errors at
each step makes the design process more efficient by reducing the chance of
finding omissions further along in the final design stages, and once again refers
to the importance of iteration in the design process.

Figure 3.11. The initial Batch Heater model.
Straight away a number of problems can be identified. With a similar idea to
spinning the CSP dish to create the convex shape, an idea was to use Euler
buckling theory applying a tension across the reflective gul-wings in order to
create the desired parabola. It can clearly be seen, that with this arrangement,
the tie bars will foul the drum, in this instance fouling on the pins holding the
drum in place. In addition to this problem, using a triangular base at each end
offers a solid mounting solution as far as the frame itself is concerned;
however, the interface between the drum and the frame is not of an acceptable
style. It would be difficult to design well and hard to manufacture.

23 23
Bearing in mind the initial concept, a refinement of the design idea was carried
out. The drum is to be supported by a cradle, rather than a pin joint and instead
of a buckling arrangement for the reflectors, the shape can be achieved using a
series of ribs held together with longitudinal struts. This technique is well
proven in the building of boat hulls and can also be seen in the construction of
curved bicycle ramps, both are applications that require a rugged, low
maintenance solution. The ribs could be laser cut at the FabLab, further
encouraging the use of this design. Integrating a hinge into the rib is
straightforward, with a hole drilled through which a spindle can pass. A brass
bush would easily press in if wear at this point were considered an issue after
use. The rib design also gives a cavity, which will be filled with straw. Straw
has excellent insulation properties and is cheap and readily available.

Figure 3.12. A sketch of the improved “ribbed gul-wing” design.

Batch heaters and other NWHs are normally angled according to latitude so
that the NWH is perpendicular to the suns angle of incidence for as much of the
day as is possible. Convention is to have the NWH at the same angle from the
horizontal as the locations latitude, for example Sheffield is at approximately
53°N so a good approximation would be to angle the NWH at 53° to the
horizontal, facing south.
24 24

Figure 3.13. Excel spreadsheet showing the suns altitude on the 1
st
of each
month as well as the mean angle for the year.

It can be seen in figure 3.13 that this theory transfers well for this scenario as
Pabal is at around 18°N. The suns mean altitude is 71.5° so it is clear that
angling the batch heater at 18° is appropriate (90-71.5=18.5).

Figure 3.14. A free body diagram of moments acting on the frame.

Batch heaters normally lie north south but as figure 3.14 illustrates, inclining
the batch heater north south creates problems with the frame design, especially
if an adjustable frame is to be used. These problems come about because as
soon as an angle is introduced into the system, so is a moment. If the batch
heater were to be inclined in this direction then further cross bracing would be
required to support the frame and prevent a failure.

Month Altitude
Jan 48.15
Feb 53.69
March 63.44
April 75.18
May 86.14
June 93.04
July 94.32
Aug 89.3
Sept 79.97
Oct 68.15
Nov 57.21
Dec 49.45
Mean 71.5
25 25
3.3.2 Checking for Errors
A typical oil drum is 44 imperial gallons, which equates to 0.2m
3
. Given that
water has a density of 1000kg/m
3
[20] and a specific heat of 4.19kJ/(kgK)[20]
the energy in joules required to raise the 0.2m
3
of water by temperature AT is
given by:
=

∆ 3.1[21]
The heat lost

through a wall of thickness s, area A is given by:

=

3.2[20]
Where k is the thermal conductivity of the insulating material, in this case
straw for which k=0.09W/(mK)[22] and dT is the difference in temperature
across the wall. In a cylinder, area changes with radius, making for a more
complicated scenario, however due to the nature of the design environment the
flat plate equation 3.3 was deemed suitable.

A comfortable shower temperature is around 45-50°C so ideally, after storage
overnight the water temperature should be in this region. Night-time
temperatures in Pabal can be as low as 2°C but the average low is around 6°C
[23]. Let it be assumed that the water can be heated to 60°C and that the
outside temperature at night is 5°C, let it also be assumed that the temperature
at the wall equals these temperatures and that the “night” is 12hours long. The
heat lost by conduction over this period and the subsequent drop in temperature
is given below.

=

= 0.09 × 2.56 ×
55
0.04

= 316.8

= 316.8 × 43200 = 13.69

∆ =

=
13.69 × 10
6
200 × 4190
= 16.3℃
26 26
In this near worst-case scenario with an ambient night time temperature of 5°C,
the analysis shows that the water will be at around 44°C in the morning if
heated to 60°C the previous day.

Now let it be assumed that the ambient water temperature from the supply is
10°C, therefore it will be necessary to increase the temperature by 50°C. As
discussed in section 2, it will also be assumed that the “daytime” is 12hours.
=


= 200 × 4190 × 50 = 41.9

=
41.9 × 10
6
43200
= 970
With a solar irradiation of around 5kWh/m
2
/day in the Pabal area
approximately 417W is available for each square meter, the batch heater has an
area of approximately 1m
2
. This is around half the 970W required which has
been shown above. In order to maintain the compact nature of the design,
increasing area is somewhat difficult, referring back to equation 3.2 it can be
observed that by reducing the mass of the fluid, the energy required reduces
proportionally. For this reason it was decided to half the tank size.

It is also necessary to note that a black body will tend to emit heat to the
surroundings, as well as having good absorption properties. The emissivity of
a body that is not perfectly black, i.e. grey, is a factor introduced to correct the
amount of heat emitted by said body.

= (
4

4
) 3.3
Equation 3.4 shows the heat emitted,

, in watts by a grey body where o is
the Stephan-Boltzmann constant, 56.7×10
-9
Wm
-2
K
-4
, A is the radiating area, c
is the emissivity of the body and T is the temperature (in Kelvin) of the body
and T
e
is the temperature of the surroundings. The temperature in Pabal is
normally between 30 and 46°C, so let T
e
=303K, T=333K.

=
4

4

= 56.7 × 10
−9
× 1.88 × 0.95 × (333
4
−303
4
)

= 391
27 27
This is figure is significant, which means that there will be considerable heat
loss over a whole day if this problem is not addressed. Although in practice the
value of

will not be as great as the above due to a constant heat in from the
sun, it will still be imperative to have a cover over the batch heater to maintain
efficiency. A simple, close fitting, transparent “shower cap” type arrangement
would serve to reduce the problematic heat loss. It can be seen from equation
3.4 that as the difference between the temperature radiated to, T
e
and the tanks
temperature, T approaches zero, the heat emitted,

, also approaches zero. It
is therefore desirable to increase the temperature of the air around the batch
heater as close to the temperature inside the tank as possible. If the tank is
covered so that there is little or no flow of air, the sun will tend to heat the
enclosed space, vastly improving the overall efficiency of the batch heater.
Figure 3.15. A sketch of the further improved design, optimised for heating.
The batch heater will be aligned east west with the flat face of the of the drum
making an angle of 18° with the horizontal and facing south. Trough CSP
systems tend to be arranged in this manner because it allows better tracking of
the sun as the azimuth changes through the day. Figure 3.16 shows the suns
differing altitudes for the first day of the month for January to June. From July
to December the altitude angle decreases again, so plotting these angles on the
diagram is unnecessary. It is clear from figure 3.16 that 18° is the optimum
angle to set the batch heater at for year round operation.
28 28

Figure 3.16. The Suns’ six major altitudes from January to June.

Furthermore figure 3.16 illustrates the role of the mirrors in the batch heater
and any potential problems with either shadowing or the suns radiation
reflecting straight back, missing the tank. A sketch examining the mirrors is
shown in figure 3.17, this example is for the month of June and for the
purposes of illustration, the radiation has been broken into lines so that the
angle at which it will reflect can be inspected. When the line meets the curve it
will be reflected symmetrically from a tangent to the curve at that point, in
figure 3.17 it can be observed that for this altitude angle, a satisfactory amount
of radiation is reflected onto the underside of the tank, with minimal waste
reflection and shadowing only coming about as a result of the tanks presence.
29 29

Figure 3.17. Areas of shadow and the mirrors reflection directions.

The east west arrangement also eliminates the problems of moments within
frame design that are illustrated in figure 3.14, the legs were analysed to be
sure that they were capable of withstanding static loading. For simplicity, the
two legs are treated as struts, each one supporting W/2N where
W=100x9.81=981N. The Youngs Modulus (E) for wood, is between 8 and
13GPa [20] and the second moment of area, I is calculated using equation 3.4.
3.4[20]
Which gives:

The Euler Buckling load for a strut loaded along its centre pin jointed at both
ends is given by equation 3.5, where L is the length of the strut, in this case the
height.
3.5[20]
Which gives:


I =
Bd
3
12

I =
0.29×0.04
3
12
I =1.546×10
÷6
m
4

W
y
=
t
2
EI
L
2

W
y
=
t
2
×10×10
9
×1.546×10
÷6
0.33
2
W
y
=1.4MN
30 30
Although this is far beyond the load that the drum will ever exert upon the legs,
it is worth having the sturdy arrangement for lateral stability and longevity. It
is also worth nothing that this is a fairly bad approximation for the maximum
buckling load because the legs are almost as wide as they are tall making them
relatively unsuitable for strut equations, however, in this instance it is clear that
they will perform adequately from practical experience with similar scenarios.

3.3.3 Preliminary Parts List and Production Details

The batch water heater will be assembled from the following parts:
- 1x 44 imperial gallon oil drum, cut in half, painted black
- 2mm steel plate 580x870mm
- 2x 40mm thick wooden legs
- 2x triangular stabilisers
- 6x ribs
- 2x mirrors
- 1x 10mm steel bar
- 6x thick wooden struts
- 2x thin wooden struts
- 2x straw insulated end caps
- 2x pipe connectors
- 2x securing catches
- 1x elastic transparent cover

For any concept designed with the intention of going into production, it is
essential for it to be possible to actually make. Many designs are excellent in
conceptual stages but fail when the components cannot be machined or
clearance for tools in the assembly process has not been accounted for. For the
batch heater, there should be relatively few problems with tight access but the
manufacturing process for each component and the order of assembly must be
considered. Documentation is an important part of any design and clear
instructions for manufacture need to be communicated.

31 31
The process will be as follows:
- Mark the drum for cutting. Using an angle grinder, cut down the
centre of the drum. Mark the ends of the drum so that they can be
drilled to accept the inlet and outlet pipes. Thoroughly clean the inside
of the drum. De-bur any cut edge.
- The legs will be made from wooden board (MDF equivalent), mark the
legs ready for cutting and drilling. Cut the legs to shape and drill the
hole in each to accept the spindle.
- The ribs will also be made from wooden board (MDF equivalent) and
will incorporate three processes. The board will first be laser cut so
that the outline of the rib is evident. The hole for the spindle will then
be drilled, followed finally by routing the clearance shoulder.
- Mark the longitudinal struts to length, and cut.
- Assemble the gul wing arrangement by gluing the struts into the
dedicated slots in the ribs. Using the narrow profile planking, lay the
planking around the outer edge of the curve and screw each plank into
position, being sure to butt each plank tight against the previous one.
Use caulk sealant to create a weatherproof seal. Now lay the planking
on the inner edge of the curve in the same manner as the outside edge,
stuff the straw insulation as the planking progresses. Use spray
adhesive to stick the aluminium foil to the inner face to create the
mirror. Attach the clips screwing into ribs for security, not just
planking.
- Mark the lower end caps and cut to shape. Mark the upper end cap to
shape and cut. Use a router to profile the shoulder so that the upper
end cap lies flush with the gul wings when in storage mode.
- Rest the tank onto the legs, drill down through the drum where it sits
on the legs, then fasten the drum using the coarse threaded screws.
Fasten the pipe fittings into the ends. Offer up the lower end caps to
the end of the drum, once again drill through the drum and then screw
through from the inside using a coarse threaded screw. Use caulk
sealant to watertight the areas around all the screws.
32 32
- Cut the top face of the tank to size using a bandsaw, if no bandsaw is
available mark the plate and cut using an angle grinder. De-bur the cut
edge.
- Tack the top plate onto the drum, once happy with the position of the
top face, weld along the joint and allow the tank to cool.
- Mask the legs and end caps and paint the tank using matt black paint,
leave to dry.
- Offer up the gul wings and pass the spindle though the holes in the legs
and the ribs, finally threading the securing nut on the end the spindle.
- Fasten the hinges onto the lower end caps.
- Fasten the upper end caps to the hinges.

3.3.4 Final Detailed Design

The batch heater components were modelled and then assembled using Solid
Works CAD software. CAD software has many useful features for the
engineer working with a new concept, allowing a full size model to be created
on screen, which can vastly reduce the number of prototypes necessary. Given
both time and powerful computing resources, the latest software packages, such
as Solid Works, can perform finite element and computational fluid dynamics
analysis, examine assemblies for problems in manufacturing and animate
moving components, as well as integrating with CNC machine software for a
smoother transition from the drawing board to the workshop floor.

The batch heater will utilise technologies ranging in complexity. FabLab has a
well equipped workshop capable of cutting complex two dimensional shapes
using a Laser cutter, as well as a range of CNC milling machines. Welding
equipment is available for the drum.

Figure 3.18 and 3.19 illustrate the two working modes of the batch heater and
the components involved. In figure 3.18 the batch heater is operating in
heating mode, with the mirrors lowered to their stops and the end caps folded
down so that there is no undesirable shadowing. Conversely in figure 3.19 the
33 33
batch heater is in storage mode, the end caps are upright, creating a seal with
the mirrors, which are now wrapped around the drum for insulation. Note that
in the illustrations the ribbed framework of the mirrors is exposed, in operation
a thin outer skin, pinned to the ribs would enclose straw to reduce the thermal
conductivity of the cover.

Figure 3.18. The Batch Heater, open in heating mode.
34 34
Figure 3.19. The Batch Heater, closed in storage mode.
There are four main moving parts in the batch heater, the mirrors and the end
caps. These are best illustrated in figure 3.20 and both utilise a hinge system;
the mirrors share a common spindle fixed into a hole through the legs whilst
the end caps use two conventional hinges at each end. Wear has not been
examined at the point where the mirrors meet the spindle, it would be difficult
and time consuming to perform such a task analytically so this would be an
area requiring monitoring in service. If the holes in the wooden ribs were
observed to show any sign of wear that was deemed unacceptable, then as
previously mentioned it would be a straightforward task to press in a bush to
alleviate the problem. This task could once again be undertaken by FabLab.
35 35

Figure 3.20. The underside of the Batch Heater.

36 36
4. CONCLUSION

The objective of this project was to develop a sustainable solution for naturally
heating water in the village of Pabal in India. In order to arrive at such a
solution it has been necessary to recognise and understand different existing
natural water heating solutions as well as becoming familiar with the village of
Pabal and the resources available there. Furthermore, the application of a
structured design process was imperative and the absence of such a process
may have ultimately led to the failure of any designs.

As a design exercise this project has been a success, with a well structured set
of criteria followed allowing a concept that could realistically be manufactured
in the designated environment to be developed. The understanding of the sun
gained has been key to the success of the final design and the importance of the
positioning of any natural water heater must be stressed. Given the limited
resources available it has been necessary to make a compromise between low
technology and durability, and performance. Although the analytical work
done shows the 100 litre batch heater should perform adequately, the true test
will be the installation of a prototype.

Despite the apparent success, thought must be given as to how suitable
implementing the use of natural water heaters of any kind in Pabal actually is.
It has been established that the dwellings that would be potential candidates for
having the batch heater installed currently have no plumbing either for hot or
cold fresh water or arrangements for sewage. There is also a limited electricity
supply with the majority of villagers using natural gas or kerosene as their main
fuel for cooking. As a mechanical engineer it is difficult to put forward a
single solution that will actually bring real benefit to the community. True
progress within the village can only really come about as a result of a larger
scale infrastructure development scheme along with the education and
involvement of local people. The people of Vigyan Ashram are carrying out
such work admirably with their Rural Development Education System.

37 37
“Many accept that science education must be coupled to action in the
laboratory, how many will accept the real life world as the best laboratory to
learn science?”[24] The local attitude towards education is summarised well
here by Dr Kalbag and it is clear that the true test of any developments in Pabal
will be their performance in the field.

4.1 Further Work

This project has focused primarily on the academics of the design process itself
to give rise to a viable natural water heating solution. What cannot be learnt
from this approach is how well the batch heater will actually perform day to
day and the effect of the changing weather conditions and sun position
throughout the year. It would therefore be advised that any further work should
focus on long term field testing of a prototype batch heater. As well as adding
knowledge regarding the water heating performance of such a system, the
quality of the integration with the available water supply and the hot water taps
would also be verified. It would also be of benefit to assess the economic
impact of such a system on local people, if it were to be implemented on a
commercial scale.

As is commented upon in section 4, the positive impact one single device can
have is limited by the fluidity of its integration within the community. For this
reason it would be worthwhile commissioning further work focusing upon a
means of linking the proposed batch heater or similar water heating solution
into a local plumbing infrastructure system. In order for such a project to be a
success, all parties involved in the various design tasks must work closely
together, ideally with the support of either Vigyan Ashram or the University of
Pune to ensure well grounded local integration. Unfortunately limits on time
and money for this particular project, have prevented such an endeavour, at
least for the time being.
38 38
5. REFERENCES

1. [Online] engindia.wikidot.com
2. Natural Water Heating on Roofs Project Brief, engINdia & EWB-UK
Research, 2008
3. Courtesy of Pooja Wagh, endINdia
4. [Online] vigyanashram.com
5 Shogren J, The Benefits and Costs of the Kyoto Protocol, American Enterprise
Institute, 1999
6. [Online] dessi.nu/cleantech/theteam.html
7. [Online] acclimatize.co.uk/heating.html
8. [Online] energysavingtrust.org.uk
9. [Online] astro.columbia.edu/%7Earchung/labs/fall2001/lec01_fall01.html
10. [Online] oksolar.com/abctech/images/world_solar_radiation_large.gif
11. [Online] susdesign.com
12. MEC333 Integrated Design Skills - The Engineering Design Process, The
University of Sheffield, 2008
13. Pahl G and Beitz W, Engineering Design, London Design Council, 1984
14. International Solar Energy Society – UK Section , Flat Plate Collectors and
Solar Water Heating 4
th
Ed, ISES, 1975
15. [Online] solarproject.co.uk
16. [Online] cetstation.com
17. Langa S, Sun On Tap – The Best We Know, Rodale’s New Shelter #22,
July/August 1981
18. [Online] camfridge.com
19. Rogers G and Mayhew YEngineering Thermodynamics: Work & Heat
Transfer, Longman Scientific and Technical, 1992
20. J Calvert and R Farrar, An Engineering Data Book, Palgrave, 1999
21. S Beck Et Al, The Little Book of Thermofluids, 3
rd
Edition, The University of
Sheffield. 2006
22. [Online] engineeringtoolbox.com/thermal-conductivity-d_429.html
23. [Online] solconnectrealtor.com/marvelrealtors/about-pune.php
24. Kalbag S S, The Challenge of Education, Vidnyan Ashram

39 39
6. APPENDICES
6.1 Appendix A

Appendix A. Initial Natural Water Heating Mind Map
40 40
6.2 Appendix B

Appendix B. The Flat Plate Collector and Concentrated Solar Power



41 41
6.3 Appendix C
Appendix C. Concentrated Solar Power – Dish
42 42
6.4 Appendix D

Appendix D. Concentrated Solar Power – Dish


43 43
6.5 Appendix E
Appendix E. Evacuated Heat Pipe
44 44
6.6 Appendix F
Appendix F. Absorption Heat Pump