Solar heating and cooling

Solar heating and cooling

The boom that renewable energies are experimenting these last few years, has accelerated the development of new applications and technologies for these systems. For many years, utilizing solar energy to fight the summer heat, had been tried, precisely using what we have the most during the summertime: solar radiation. Until now, a really efficient system for Solar heating and cooling had not been developed. Now, finally, Soliclima can offer an innovative system that has received international awards.

Solar cooling

It is possible to cool a home with the same radiant floor installation used to heat it in the winter. For heating, hot water runs through the system and for cooling, cold water. In the summer, we need to dehumidify20the air and fan-coil dehumidifiers will have to be installed. It´s in the summertime when there is a larger demand for air conditioning and a greater availability of solar thermal energy can be obtained.

It may seem contradictory, but, cold can be generated from heat. This is very interesting, since, it´s in the summer when there is a greater demand for air conditioning and a bigger availability of solar thermal energy can be obtained.

Climatewell, the solar energy solution for the whole house

It is possible to cool a home with the same radiant floor installation used to heat it in the winter. For heating, hot water runs through the system and for cooling, cold water. In the summer, we need to dehumidify the air and fan-coil dehumidifiers will have to be installed. It´s in the summertime when there is a larger demand for air conditioning and a greater availability of solar thermal energy can be obtained.

The sun gives us heat, and for quite some time, we´ve taken adavantage of it to generate hot water and solar heating. There was also the absorption machine, similar to a heat pump, that allowed to generate cold, connecting it to a solar system, but this combination was not viable for the home, due to its cost and its poor efficiency.

ClimateWell is a compact heating and cooling system which operates 24 hours a day throughout the year, solving, practically, al l the energy needs of the home: hot water, pool heating and radiant floor heating and cooling. There is one more surprise, and that is that, its system, is the only one that can store solar energy. It does so through the energy released by the changes of state of the matter, similar to the heat pump, although this is not done by gas/liquid, but by the dissolution of salts in water.

This energy solution has won our product the Pioneer Technology´s award from the Davos Forum in 2007. According to the World Economic Forum, this invention can "contribute to change the world".

Solar heating & cooling


How it works

Charge

The ability to store solar energy is key to be able to provide, in a continuous way, an energy, such as solar, that is stored in a fluctuating form.

Although it is necessary to emphasize that what is stored is not exactly thermal energy, because is not kept as heat, but is transformed into chemical energy.

The hot liquid from the solar collectors enters the ClimateWell 10 reactor heat exchanger. At that moment, the LiCl solution in the reactor, will reach the boiling point. Once it boils, the LiCl returns to its crystalline form. Meanwhile, the water evaporates and steam is released to the condenser/evaporator, where it condenses in the heat exchanger with the temperature relatively lower. In most cases, when you operate the system with solar thermal energy, it´s recomm end installing a back-up thermal source, such as a small gas boiler or a simple electrical element in parallel, to complement the thermal source, in the event of extended cold/rainy periods.

Cooling

The water returns from the distribution system at a higher temperature then that with which it left the condenser/evaporator and thus, the building has been cooled. This heat causes the water in the condenser/evaporator to boil and the steam reaches the reactor, where it condenses, since the reactor is cooler, in comparison.

Heating

Heating is simply the reverse process of cooling, which means that the charged energy is extracted in the form of heat by connecting the condenser/evaporator to the heat sink and the reactor to the distribution system. Water returns from the distribution system at a lower temperature then that with which it left the reactor, heating the building. This heat causes the water in the condenser/evaporator to boil and the steam reaches the reactor, where it condenses. The steam that condenses into water, will dilute the LiCl solution in the reactor. During the discharge, thermal energy is extracted by connecting the evaporator to the heat sink and the reactor to the distribution system. During charging, heat can also can be extracted by connecting the condenser to the distribution system in charging mode.

The accumul ation of solar energy is achieved by the drying of some salts.

There are two separate tanks in a sealed environment. One is full of salt (the reactor) while the other contains water. When they are at the same temperature, the water molecules bind themselves more strongly to the salt than to the liquid water. In this way, the salt begins to absorb water.

When the salt can no longer absorb more water, this tank is heated for the water to return to the water tank

To accelerate the process, air is extracted to produce a vacuum. In the vacuum, the water begins to boil and produce steam at the same speed that is absorbed by the salt. This requires energy.

In a closed system, the energy is obtained from the same water. As a result, the water becomes colder. Within the salt, the energy is released and heated. The temperature difference is increased to a maximum which is defined by the properties of the salt applied.

In fact, we have created a heat pump. A tube connects both tanks with two different objects placed outside the system. Water can be circulated to carry energy outside the system.

When connected to the heat exchanger, we can provide heating and air conditioning to the house or heat the pool.

To store energy i n the system, we connect the tank with salt to a thermal energy source. It could be connected to a conventional boiler, but it wouldn´t make much sense, since the boiler can be turned on at any time. The true value of this invention is to use it to collect solar thermal energy.

Then, the connection between the tanks, is sealed. This way, the solar thermal energy is already stored, waiting to be used when needed

In a system as simple as this, the heat exchange between the salt and the water can be very efficient. The current ClimateWell design varies from this one, but is based on the same thermo-chemical principles.

 
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