Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Polymer Materials Make Solar Thermal Systems More Sustainable

25.02.2015

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).

©Fraunhofer ISE


A comparison of the environmental footprints: The values for extruded polymer collectors are less than those for standard flat plate collectors with an aluminium-copper absorber.

©Fraunhofer ISE

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.

Weitere Informationen:

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

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Serendipity uncovers borophene's potential
23.02.2017 | Northwestern University

nachricht Switched-on DNA
20.02.2017 | Arizona State University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>