Honeycomb Solar Thermal

GPG-027, August 2016

The Honeycomb Solar Thermal Collector (HSTC) uses a honeycomb insulating layer to minimize heat loss by suppressing convection, making it particularly effective, manufacturers say, in cold climates, where many GSA facilities are located. The technology was installed at two test-bed locations, the Major General Emmett J. Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the GSA Regional Headquarters Building in Auburn, Washington. Researchers found that, for standard domestic hot water applications in which mains water is heated by an array of solar collectors and stored in a tank, the HSTC technology was up to 8% more efficient than typical flat-plate collectors. Click on the infographic below to enlarge.

GPG Findings 027, August 2016, HONEYCOMB SOLAR THERMAL COLLECTOR. Opportunity: Why is GSA interested in the Honeycomb SolarThermal Collector(HSTC)? 30% SOLAR HOT WATER (SHW) REQUI9RD TO COMPLY WITH EISA. Technology: How does HSTC differ from typical flat-plate collectors? MINIMIZES HEAT LOSS.Honeycomb insulating layer allows solar energy to enter the collector while reducing conduction heat loss. Measurement and Verification: Where did M and V occur? NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY measured performance ofan HSTC system at two demonstration sites in cold climates: the Major GeneralEmmett J. Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis; and the GSA RegionalHeadquarters Building in Auburn, Washington. Results:How did HSTC perform in M&V? COMPARABLE TO OTHER FLAT PLATES FOR STANDARD DHW. In SHW systems without a storage tank, HSTC should outperform other flat plates, particularly in cold climates. TRAINED SHW INSTALLER IS CRITICAL. To address uniquefeatures of SHW systems. OVERHEATING PROTECTION WORKED. May decrease maintenance costs over time. Modeled Energy Savings for HSTC in Locations with Different Solar Resources. Large loads are critical for positive ROI. Deployment: Where does M&Vrecommend deploying SHW? ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS AND LARGE CONSISTENT LOADS. Natural gas prices in the U.S. are generally too low to make SHW cost-effective. System price should drive selection. Less efficient collectors can be more cost-effective, if installed costs are lower. [PDF - 272 KB]

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