US 20050103328 A1
A solar energy concentrating collector having a frame with bottom, end and side panels of corrugated material adapted to include secondary side panels that are folded inward and have vertical slots for containment of parabolic supports for a flexible reflective surface placed on top of the supports.. Frame end panels have apertures located on the parabolic focal line for connection of fluid conduits outside the frame. For arrangement in solar collector arrays, conduit apertures in end-to-end mounted collectors are aligned to receive a common absorber pipe that extends through and beyond a plurality of collector frames for external connections to conduits in the next adjacent parabolic reflective surface parallel to the first reflective surface in the same frame. Supports for the reflective surface have parabolic cutouts in the top portion and are processed as multiple side by side components in a corrugating machine. The preferred material is corrugated paperboard.
1. A concentrating solar collector for hot water heating comprising;
A rectangular shaped frame having a major dimension and a width, including a bottom surface, vertical end panels and side panels of pre-determined height,
A plurality of planar vertical supports for a parabolic reflector surface,
An odd numbered plurality of reflector surfaces,
An odd numbered plurality of heat absorbing conduits, wherein:
. . . said frame is made from a non-conducting substrate having a plurality of inner and outer sheets with at least one corrugated intermediate sheet.
. . . said frame substrate is shaped to include a bottom area, folded primary end panels, primary side panels equal to the height of the frame, and inside folded secondary co-extensive side panels,
. . . said folded primary end panels each having a plurality of of apertures spaced transversely a distance equal to the distance between focal points of adjacent parabolic curves,
. . . said inside folded secondary side panels folded inside of the primary side panels to define at least one folded projection with slot cutouts for containment of said planer vertical supports,
. . . said planar supports including an odd numbered plurality of adjacent parabolic shaped cutouts along the top margin,
. . . a plurality of reflector surfaces having a pre-selected length and a total reflective width substantially equal to the sum of adjacent parabolic surfaces,
. . . each of said apertures in the folded primary end panels centered along a focal line below the upper margins of said folded primary ends panels, and passing through said folded primary end panels for serial connection to a coacting absorber conduit,
. . . the first and last of said serially connected absorber conduits connected to inlet and outlet fluid piping respectively.
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Presently, most solar collectors for hot water heating in residential and industrial applications include rigid frames (usually metal) with a conductive absorber plate having attached fluid conduits or a double plate absorber having internal fluid passages, plus glazing, gaskets, etc. to enclose the absorber within the frame.
Flat plate collectors have the inherent ability to absorb indireect solar rays, for example during partially cloudy weather or days with thin cirrus type clouds, and are usually installed in arrays on rooftops with fixed slopes, or on framework with fixed slopes mounted on flat roofs of commercial buildings and factories. When arrays are mounted at ground level, fixed slopes are used.
For low temperature fluid heating, parabolic concentrating collectors are not preferred since they require direct sunlight and changes in the mountng angle to keep solar rays focused on the fluid absorber pipe due to seasonal changes in the solar angle.
Primarily because of weight, flat plate collectors are installed with fixed slope.
For higher solar insolation, frames to adjust for angular orientation and its beneficial effect on the amount of solar heat collected are well known, but present practice avoids adjustable framework for flat plate or concentrating designs at the expense of higher system efficiency.
This invention addresses reasons the prime reason for avoiding adjustable frames, etc., by using lightweight, inexpensive corrugated paperboard materials and folding techniques to construct a concentrating collector suitable for mounting multiple collector panels in arrays that are pivotable and isolated from building surfaces.
The instant collector defines conduit arrangements that minimize external conduit connections all in the quest for lower panel and system installation costs to make solar heat more competive with conventional fuels for heating water.
Prior art, U.S. Pat. No. 4,190,037 describes use of corrugated material for reflector surface supports but fails to anticipate use and folding of extended side panels to provide positioning and retention means for the supports. Patent '037 also describes fluid manifolds for only parallel flow but does not anticipate the unique advantages of absorber pipe connections for serial flow and the reduction in number of couplings needed to complete an array while the frame is still adjustable.
The instant collector relies on the same operating principles as '037 and is an improvement thereof by defining a fabricated blank that folds into a collector panel having integral inside walls with vertical slots that locate and retain the parabolic supports and thus eliminates the separately molded frames and the additional components required by '037.
With the above and other objectives in view, more information and understanding of the invention and its use for supplemental heating of fluids may be achieved by reference to the detailed description hereinafter.
In practice slots 13 butt against support side surfaces without space.
In another embodiment of
This material saving and lower assembly requirements lower system costs for supplemental solar hot water heating.
It is understood that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or special atributes hereof, and it is, therefore, desired that the present embodiments be considered in all aspects as illustrative and therefore not restrictive, reference being made to the foregoing description to indicate the scope of the invention.
Having thus desribed my invention, what I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent are the following:
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