The project focus is to develop a novel modular, all-polymer glazed solar thermal collector that can directly substitute a conventional metallic solar thermal collector for domestic heating and hot water applications. In order to achieve this we propose the following innovations:
- A novel selective physical vapour deposition (PVD) coating with a high thermal emittance (temperature dependent) over 80°C. The coating will increase absorption of incident solar radiation to levels comparable to PVD coating metallic collectors (i.e. 95%) whilst simultaneously serving as in-built overheating protection to avoid polymer softening
- A novel, modular polymer composite absorber profile capable of operating at pressures up to 6 bars. The decrease in thermal conductivity due to increased absorber thickness (required to withstand high operating pressure) will be overcome by selectively dispersing nano-dopants within the polymer(s), effectively creating a nano-composite layer
- A co-extrusion process capable of producing a modular absorber with selectively doped sections (only top absorber surface)
- A novel, low cost collector casing composed of up to 85% recycled mixed waste polymers. The recycled polymer casing will contain a blown core of mixed waste polymer which will partially serve as thermal insulation thereby reducing the need for typical insulation material by 50%.