Researchers Prove Environmental and Economic Potential
Within the ExKoll project, the Durability Analysis Group at Fraunhofer ISE investigated the economic feasibility of polymer collectors and performed life-cycle analyses. The experts found that in comparison to standard flat collectors, mass-produced polymer collectors perform better economically and ecologically.
Plastic collector manufactured by extrusion (1), extruded absorber for flexible absorber widths (2), end caps for polymer collectors (3).
For the environmentally friendly production of collectors, the scientists considered both high-performance plastics and simple, standard plastics and assessed their suitability in solar thermal systems. Comprehensive investigations on how to increase durability and reliability as well as economic feasibility studies formed the basis of the life cycle analyses. The energy and raw material flows of the promising collector concepts were compared with those of a conventional flat plate collector with an aluminum-copper absorber.
“The results of the comparison clearly show that the polymer collectors have a lower environmental impact than comparable standard flat plate collectors,” stated Michael Köhl, project leader at Fraunhofer ISE. “We determined differences of up to 65 percent.”
Also when considering the categories which have the largest effects on the environmental footprint, that is human toxicity, fine particle pollution, fossil fuels, climate change, exploration and extraction of metals, we found that the impact of the conventional flat collectors is greater in all five categories. Plastic collectors not only show a large environmental potential.
An economic feasibility study revealed that alone in the production, plastic collectors can achieve cost savings of up to 50 percent compared to standard collectors. This result is particularly interesting for companies that already manufacture plastics and who want to widen their range to include collectors.
Future research is to focus on optimizing the supply and distribution chain of polymer collectors. The goal of the research is to decrease costs further and to promote plastics as an alternative material in solar thermal technology. A new Task of the Solar Heating and Cooling Program of the International Energy Agency (IEA SHCP), whose topic is cost reduction, offers an ideal platform for pursuing this goal. The Task is led by Fraunhofer ISE and shall start its work in summer 2015 to develop further strategies for reducing the costs of solar thermal applications.
About the ExKoll project
In the ExKoll project, which was sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy from 9/2012 through 12/2014, the use of extrusion for manufacturing polymers was investigated. A market analysis was conducted to determine potential markets for extruded plastic collectors. In addition, accelerated aging tests were carried out to adapt and optimize the polymer materials. These are performed under deliberately heightened levels of UV radiation, temperature and humidity.
http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en - Website Fraunhofer ISE
http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/business-areas/solar-thermal-technology/research... - Website Project ExKoll
Karin Schneider | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE
Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen
24.03.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science
Researchers make flexible glass for tiny medical devices
24.03.2017 | Brigham Young University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy