Some more Thermodynamic panel info

From a discussion on http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/forum114/comments.php?DiscussionID=9511&page=1#Item_15

Gary

I consider these as a form of air source heat pump, without a fan or finned coils. The underlying technology is well established and should be as reliable as a GSHP.

The panels are a good solution for a marine environment – I wouldn’t use ASHP units near the sea as the coils rot after about 7 years due to salt corrosion, so they would be a cheaper alternative than GSHP for such areas.

I have seen a completed installation and the owners were very happy with it.

Solar thermal it ain’t however – there is an improvement in COP when the sun is shining but it won’t provide free energy.

Chris

As far as I can find there are two manufacturers of these systems, the best known being Energie in Portugal http://www.energie.pt/ but also a company called Energy Panel in Spain. http://www.energypanel.es/productos.aspx?idFamilia=1&idProducto=1

The problem I have with them is a seeming lack of independent verification of their claims for running costs. I’ve seen mention of various installations being independently monitored but all my previous efforts to get these reports have so far failed.

Does anyone know of any such independent verification?

Some updated Thermodynamic heating system info

I’ve come across the GreenServeUK website with new info on the Thermodynamic Panels.

There’s a big FAQ at http://www.greenserveuk.com/faq/

How it works from http://www.greenserveuk.com/thermodynamics/how-they-work/

Step One

The environmentally friendly refrigerant liquid is fed into the veins of the solar collector.

This refrigerant (R134A) has a boiling temperature of -25°C. The panel absorbs the heat from the environment and raises the temperature of the refrigerant.

The liquid absorbs the heat and it vaporises into a gas which increases the pressure.

Thermodynamic Panel Dimensions are h 800mm, l 2000mm, D 20m.
Each panel is about 8 kg.

Step Two

The hot gas is then passed through a compressor where the pressure causes it to heat further.

Step Three

The heated gas is then passed into the heat exchanger where the heat is transferred into the water cylinder.

Step Four

The cooling gas then passes through a valve reverting back into a liquid where it runs back into the panel where the process begins again.

The system is a solar domestic hot water system in which the solar loop operates on a similar principle of a heat pump.

It is composed of:-

  • An unglazed heat absorber  (1) with 3.20 m2 total aperture area.
  • An insulated,  hot water thermal store (200 l) (2)
  • A  thermoblock, which comprises the electrical powered compressor (5), the thermostatic expansion valve (7), the electrical heating element (4) and the controller.
  • Heat transfer fluid (refrigerant R134a)

The heat transfer fluid in the solar loop is the refrigerant R134a.

The refrigerant is passing through the absorber and evaporates while collecting energy from the surroundings.

The evaporated refrigerant is sucked by the compressor which raises the pressure.

In the condenser, which is integrated as an immersed solar-loop heat exchanger in the lower part of the store, the refrigerant condenses while transferring its condensing heat to the domestic water in the store.

Before the refrigerant is returning to the absorber, a thermostatic expansion valve is reducing the pressure.

An electrical heating element is located in the lower part of the store at the height of the solar-loop heat for use in emergencies and for the anti-legionnaires system.

The magnesium anode (8) or sacrificial anode will extend the life of the tank.

 

Thermodynamic installed at Maidstone UTD Football Club

Just got this press release:

Thermodynamic installed at Maidstone UTD FC…
Project: Maidstone United Football Club – Gallagher Stadium
Client: Graham
Contractor: Gallagher / Greenheat

Thermogroup UK recently supplied two Thermodynamic systems, an Eco 2000 and an SB 24 to meet 100% of the hot water demand for showers and underfloor heating at the new home of Maidstone United FC.

MUFC were attracted to Thermodynamic because of the environmental factor and the potential savings possible against the originally specified electric heating system.

Thermodynamic panels at maidstone united

 

It was estimated that a 24 panel system, to provide underfloor heating to the clubhouse, would use a minimum load of 4.2kW of electricity. Based on this figure and assuming the system is used for an average of 5 hours a day, it is estimated that the SB 24 at MUFC will cost £2.10 per day or £766 per year to run (at £0.10/kW per hour).

The SB24 at MUFC is expected to have a payback of around 5.5 years and bring about an annual saving of £3000 when compared to the electric system that was originally specified.

Please note: The figures in this email are estimates only and we are in the process of installing energy monitors at MUFC to track the exact running costs, savings and payback period.

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Green Build Hub to be built at the Eden Project.

Planners have given the go-ahead for a centre demonstrating green building technologies to be developed on a site at Cornwall’s Eden Project.

The Green Build Hub (GBH), conceived by Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust (CSBT), will be constructed using new green techniques and materials and will target a BREEAM Outstanding rating. It will be delivered as part of a broader move to establish the St Austell area of mid-Cornwall as a focus for the development and manufacture of low carbon technologies and products, and for training and skills development.

Technology showcase

When complete the hub will showcase and trial new technologies and will be occupied by CSBT and allied companies Sustain Cornwall (SCL) and SW Ecowarehouse. The hub will be accessible to the public and will provide a meeting and training venue.

The project has been brought to planning approval by a collaboration of CSBT, ID+EA, Ocean Design Consultancy and Ward Williams Associates, with The Eden Project agreeing to a 99 year lease on the site.

The UK is more energy efficient than it’s peers :-)

Good result for the UK.
– it seems we are doing the same, with less energy than other large economies 🙂

The UK has taken the top slot an energy efficiency ranking of 12 of the world’s largest economies. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gave the UK the number one position in its first International Energy Efficiency Scorecard report.
It ranks 12 of the world’s largest economies across 27 metrics to evaluate how efficiently these economies use energy.

– http://www.aceee.org/research-report/e12a

The report shows there is, as you’d expect, plenty of scope to do better. But, for me, this is a great start.

A nice post about Accoya wood

http://blog.emap.com/footprint/2011/08/08/accoya-used-to-build-bridge-in-the-netherlands/

I’ve since learnt that (unless it’s changed and the info is out of date or wrong) that Accoya wood is grown in NZ & treated in the Netherlands. So the transport carbon footprint isn’t great. It’s then consequently expensive.

http://www.gowercroft.co.uk/2013/03/what-is-accoya-timber/

“The downside to this material is that while the trees are grown in New Zealand and the acetylisation process occurs in The Netherlands, it will always be expensive. The raw timber costs three times as much as our standard hardwoods.”

The geographic growing and processing isn’t mentioned on the Accoya website that does cover a lot of other good environmental aspects of Accoya:

http://www.accoya.com/sustainability/

Polar bear inspired external wall heating system

Follow the bears

The biomimicry-based technology imitates the effect of fur on polar bears, the individual hairs on the polar bear being hollow and guiding sunlight directly to the skin. As the polar bear’s skin is black, it is able to absorb light efficiently, and convert it into heat which it transfers to the body.

http://www.building4change.com/page.jsp?id=1339

External wall insulation system (EWIS) specialist Sto has brought its StoSolar solid wall heating system concept from Germany to the UK market.

The system incorporates a translucent glass render finish covering tiny capillaries that guide sunlight to a black absorbent layer, which converts solar to thermal energy. The masonry stores this heat and releases it back into the building as radiant heat, reducing the internal heating requirement.

Low sun means high heat

The amount of heat generated by the system depends on the angle of the sun. In summer, when the sun is high in the sky, less radiant energy is absorbed by the capillaries, so the heat generated is greatly reduced. In the winter, the low angle leads to the maximum amount of sunshine being transmitted to the absorbent layer ensuring that most heat is produced during the cold months.

StoSolar integrates into a Sto EWIS and is suitable for new and existing buildings when fixed to a solid wall that is not internally insulated. It will generally use 10-30 percent of a façade’s insulating surface area and be delivered to the construction site as prefabricated units to be incorporated into an external wall system.

Solar Panel Feed In Tariff Update (FIT)

From http://www.building4change.com/page.jsp?id=1305

The tariff for a small domestic solar installation will be 16p per kilowatt hour, down from 21p, and will decrease on a three-month basis thereafter, with pauses if the market slows. All tariffs will continue to be index-linked in line with the retail price index (RPI) and the export tariff will be increased from 3.2p to 4.5p. The new tariffs are expected to give a return on investment (ROIs) of more than 6 percent for most installations, and up to 8 percent for the larger bands.

The scheme lifetime will be reduced from 25 years to 20 years for new solar installations.

FIT changes

  • Tariffs for solar PV installations from 1 August to be 16p/kWh for household scale solar PV installations. Tariffs for larger installations are also to be reduced
  • Multi installation tariff will be increased to 90 percent of standard tariff. Organisations with more than 25 PV installations will get 90 percent of the standard applicable tariff, increased from 80 percent
  • Average tariff reductions of 3.5 percent every three months. Reductions will be bigger (up to 28 percent) if there is rapid uptake.
  • Tariff cuts will be skipped (for up to two quarters) if uptake is low. Uptake in three different bands (domestic (size 0-10kW), small commercial (10-50kW) and large commercial (above 50kW and standalone installations) will determine the quarterly reductions within those bands.

Rooftop Hydroponic AND Fish Farm anybody ?

Treehugger.com had an article on this prototype system that combines hydroponics and a fish farm into one unit for all year round veggies and a few fish.

The prototype Globe/Hedron “is a bamboo greenhouse designed to organically grow fish and vegetables on top of generic flat roofs. The design is optimized for aquaponic farming techniques: the fish’s water nourishes the plants and plants clean the water for the fish,” according to designer Antonio.

UK Government delay Feed In Tariff Cuts

At yesterdays Green Building Event at the Eden Project the news came through (Tweet feeds) that Greg Barker, the UK government energy and climate change secretary tweeted:

“Having listened carefully to industry, we are looking at scope for pushing back a little the next proposed reduction in the solar tariffs.”

They were due to be cut in July from the current 21p per Kw.

If you have / get solar panels there are several return on investment streams:

  • Generation tariff – your energy supplier will pay you a set rate for each unit (or kWh) of electricity you generate. Once your system has been registered, the tariff levels are guaranteed for the period of the tariff (up to 25 years) and are index-linked. For a full list of generation tariffs, see FIT payment rates published by Ofgem
  • Export tariff – you will get a further 3.2p/kWh from your energy supplier for each unit you export back to the electricity grid, so you can sell any electricity you generate but don’t use yourself. This rate is the same for all technologies. At some stage smart meters will be installed to measure what you export, but until then it is estimated as being 50% of the electricity you generate (so that if your solar PV system is less than 30kWp you do not need to have an export meter fitted)
  • Energy bill savings – you will be making savings on your electricity bills , because generating electricity to power your appliances means you don’t have to buy as much electricity from your energy supplier. The amount you save will vary depending how much of the electricity you use on site.

One of the Eden Project show talks had these figures, that may be high end in terms of them being from a chap that is from a PV installation company.

The Energy Saving Trust has figures of:

A typical domestic solar electricity system with an installation size of 3kWp could earn:

  • £530 a year from the Generation Tariff
  • £40 a year from the Export Tariff
  • £100 a year reduction of current electricity bills

Scaling this up to a 4kWp system that’d be £893.

Being fair to Tony at Cornwall Solar Panels (Tel 01872 562 775) who gave the above figures, his entire talk was centred around there being no such thing as the best solar panel, but the best solar panel configuration for a particular situation. Panel efficiency, shape, size, drop off with heat, drop off with shading, the roof angle and a bunch of other variables (string or per panel inverters) all influence the efficiency and the system cost and so the Return On Investment (ROI). His talk went over about a dozen different installations they’ve done and have figures from. The clear implication / impression is that they are doing installations all over Cornwall.