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Development and Demonstration of a Novel Solar Thermal Collector for Low Temperatures


A novel aluminum minichannel-based solar thermal collector is studied, manu- factured, and installed in this study. A mathematical model is used to study the thermal performance of the proposed collector throughout the state of California. Using satellite-derived irradiance a solar resource assessment was performed in junc- tion with the thermal performance to identify the most promising markets for this technology.

Open profiles of di erent cross-sectional configurations of minichannel tubes are studied and an optimal profile is identified. The minichannel collectors are manu- factured using a gas tungsten arc welding technique and tested for leaks. Two solar collectors are installed in a single-family home in Northridge, CA and 13 collectors are installed in an apartment complex in Arleta, CA. The performance analysis done on the installed systems show e ciencies of up to 80%. In addition, preliminary estimates show a promising reduction of natural gas consumption’s in the facilities.

Lastly, a copper minichannel-based solar collector for applications of medium tem- perature is modeled. The collector includes a compact minichannel heat exchanger in one of the headers, where steam is to be generated. The manufacturing and testing of the copper collector was not able to be completed due to the closing of the campus amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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