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The Sun Heater

Inviting the sun inside your house whenever you want, heating your home for free, forever ….

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The SunHeater adresses one of the main, energy-intensive and often combustion based, need for energy in the world, home heating.

The project relies on the free abondant direct sun energy radiation, capturing and transporting it inside the house, comfortably heating your home.

Through the smart, but simple, use of cheap, accessible and already existing technology; the SunHeater can cover most of heating households needs, and even others during the summer time !

Please rely on the SunHeater.pdf document (in the Files section) for details and explanation of the project.

SunHeater System Dimensioning.xlsx

Calculations details (for formula's verifications if required) explained and discussed in the main project document: SunHeater.pdf

sheet - 15.35 kB - 05/01/2022 at 10:13

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SunHeater.pdf

Main project document explaining the challenge and the solution

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.00 MB - 05/01/2022 at 10:12

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Monthly in-plane irradiation for tracking system.csv

Monthly sun irradiation power for the city of Toulouse for the year of 2020. Based on a sun tracking system

Comma-Separated Values - 1.35 kB - 04/24/2022 at 16:02

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Monthly in-plane irradiation for tracking system.pdf

Monthly sun power (PV and irradiation) for the city of Toulouse for the year of 2020. Based on a sun tracking system

Adobe Portable Document Format - 438.18 kB - 04/24/2022 at 16:01

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  • How does the SunHeater alleviate this problem?

    Luis Parada05/01/2022 at 10:28 0 comments

    Considering:

    • The use of infrared as an energy-efficient heating solution.
    • Today’s low end-to-end low-carbon-electricity-based heating system efficiency.
    • Today’s solution high RUN cost (due to energy cost and energy-intensive need for heating).

    Our proposition is to:

    • Directly use solar radiation (infrared) energy as a heating solution through a parabolic capture system (all spectrum, especially infrared).
    • Captured directly “onsite”, which increases end-to-end system efficiency (no transport).
    • Guided and propagated inside the house.

    We will call this system further in the document: SunHeater


    Evaluating the interest of the SunHeater

    Taking as an example the city of Toulouse (South France).

    • Input data:
      • The average recommended power (per m2) with today’s most efficient electricity-based heating solution
      • The amount of available radiation (source for the year of 2020)
      • A SunHeater end-to-end solution efficiency hypothesis of 80>#/span###
    • Use Case (specifications)
      • A space to heat of 30m2
      • A target of 100% heating needs coverage from the month of March

    The analysis gives the following results (formulas available on the excel file joined to the project):

    Annexed documents in project files « Monthly in-plane irradiation for tracking system.pdf » and « SunHeater System Dimensioning.excel » data source « Monthly in-plane irradiation for tracking system.csv ». Source: https://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvg_tools/en/

    Source 2 (Recommended power): https://www.foxof.com/nombre-et-puissance-radiateurs-electriques/

    Analysis output:

    • The diameter of the required parabol would be = SQUARE(INPUT in m2 / PI)*2 = 1,864988863 meters
    • As for many sun-based solutions dimensioning to meet winter needs induces a production excess on summer (excess witch can also be used for other needs)

  • Why The SunHeater ?

    Luis Parada05/01/2022 at 10:24 0 comments

    Biggest energy consumption in EU !

    In 2019, in Europe, 63.6% of the house's energy consumption was related to space heating, 24.2% was covered with non-renewable natural gas and 17.7% from renewable and wastes, meaning resources burning (wood / waste)

    Source: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Energy_consumption_in_households


    Today’s solutions:

    In parallel to this fact, today most heating solutions rely on the physical principle of convection which occurs when heat is carried away from the heated element via moving air. 

    However, convection is not the most efficient solution for space heating, the phenomenon of heat stratification in the air induces energy over-consumption without managing to homogeneously heat the space, which brings a bad thermal comfort.

    Temperatures on ­°Celcius

    Space not homogenously heated. T on ­°Celcius

    Space homogenously heated. T on ­°Celcius

    Heating and energy:

    Whatever the solution, heating is an energy-intensive activity.

    As showed earlier, most of the heating energy source comes from combustion (gas, wood, waste) because they produce an important amount of energy which can be directly used for heating, but at the same time they release greenhouse gases.

    We’ve also seen that today’s most energy-efficient electricity-based heating solution (low carbon or not depending on electricity production) are the radiation heaters.

    However, this solution is still energy-intensive relatively to other uses of electricity in a household. To get the magnitude of the energy required to heat a space we can rely on the recommended power (Watts/m²) for heating:


    Values for the lowest temperature of the year for Paris (According to historical records). Notion defined by the norm NF EN 12831 called “température de base extérieure”. A.h.t = Average heating temperature. Source : https://www.foxof.com/nombre-et-puissance-radiateurs-electriques/

    Even though these values appear as “low”, a 30m² space would require (to simplify we will use 80 Watts/m² as the average): 30 m² * 80 Watts/m² = 2.4 kWatts of electrical power.

    Considering a program of 5 hours heating per day, the monthly energy consumption for such space would be 2.4kWatts * 5 hours * 31 days = 372 kWh.

    In order to have a global end-to-end system efficiency we must consider the end-to-end electricity use efficiency, from production to the electrical outlet: 34,22% in Europe.

    (1)For wind power these values represent the % of availability of the production

    Annexed documents in project files « SunHeater System Dimensioning.excel »section “Electricity Prod Efficiency”

    Source 1: https://www.irdeme.org/Bilan-quantitatif-des-modes-de-production-d-energie-electrique-1619

    Source 2: https://www.connaissancedesenergies.org/questions-et-reponses-energies/electricite-combien-selevent-les-pertes-en-ligne-en-france#:~:text=Sur%20le%20r%C3%A9seau%20de%20transport%20d'%C3%A9lectricit%C3%A9%2C%20le%20gestionnaire%20RTE,(20%20TWh%2Fan).

    Source 3 : https://www.connaissancedesenergies.org/le-mix-electrique-de-lunion-europeenne-en-2020-220218

View all 2 project logs

  • 1
    SunHeater Design overview

    The solution is based on 4 sub-systems: 

    • The energy collector
    • The energy transportation
    • The 2 axis sun-tracking system
    • The energy distribution inside the house

    SunHeater design overview

  • 2
    The energy collector

    The sun reflecting parabol is a very common, DIY plan available solution, widely known mainly as a sun-cooking solution.

    Today, it’s easy to find on the market mirror-adhesive films presenting a high efficiency-reflecting rate > 90% for parabol’s construction.

    Using a parabol as a collector solution presents the advantage of concentrating, the sun radiation power on a small point, making it easier to transport elsewhere (inside the house in our case).

    The system consists of a:

    • One main parabol: for collecting the sun radiation and sending it to its focal point
    • One secondary parabol: placed at the main’s parabol focus point it sends the main parabol collected radiation back to the main’s parabol summit where the transport system is located.

    Such solution presents the interest of placing the concentrated radiation at a very simple collecting point AND having radiation rays arriving with an important incidence angle (close to 180°) to the transport system. This will be necessary for transportation which will rely on the principle of total reflection.

    SunHeater parabol. 1: sun radiation, 2: sun radiation reflected, 3: sun radiation reflected back to the main’s parabol summit for transport

  • 3
    The energy transportation

    The first solution to be imagined was a unique straight reflecting pipe from the parabol’s summit to the in-house distribution conducing to the following design:

    However, the rigidity of such system brings a constraint, the roof space availability at the very top of the in-house space to heat.

    A more polyvalent solution would be to use a flexible cable transporting the radiation relying on the principal of internal total reflection. In other words, the optical fiber technology approach.

    The materials allowing such total reflection for sunlight minimizing attenuation (absorption by the materials) is still to be determined and will be done during the prototype phase.

    The good news is, taking into consideration the parabol design, the incidence angle is as high as possible, close to 180°, giving the maximum flexibility for the choice of the materials.

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Discussions

Luis Parada wrote 05/20/2022 at 11:03 point

Hi Tood ! Just saw your message thus answering a bit late :). So far waiting for summertime to move forward on the project, I'm looking at already existing paraboles to modify and therefore alleviate the time to build a prototype (focus on the rest).

  Are you sure? yes | no

Todd Medema wrote 05/10/2022 at 00:38 point

How's the project going? I'd love to see a working prototype!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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