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Solar water heaters: an analysis and discussion of thermosiphons - Essay Example

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In the United States alone, approximately 3000 kWh per year are utilized for each individual as a means of heating water. As such, this represents the second highest energy need after heating and cooling…
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Solar water heaters: an analysis and discussion of thermosiphons
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Download file to see previous pages In the United States alone, approximately 3000 kWh per year are utilized for each individual as a means of heating water. As such, this represents the second highest energy need after heating and cooling.Due to the fact that hot water has become a fixture of the developed world and is required in all societies, seeking to utilize more efficient means of hot water generation is something that engages environmentalists and engineers alike. The current methods of hot water generation within the United States rely on electricity or gas from the grid to heat units within individual hot water heaters. Although the efficiency of these units have greatly increased over the years, they are still inefficient as compared to some of the alternatives that exist. For many hundreds of years, solar energy has been utilized the heat water. This has traditionally been done by means of storing water in a blackened vessel that soaks the Sun’s rays and consequently heats the water contained therein. However, with the revolution of solar energy well under way, there are two means whereby solar water heaters can be utilized to speak to the individual hot water needs that society demands. These are traditional solar cells dedicated to the process of hot water generation and thermosiphon solar water heaters. As a function of understanding how both of these operate, the proceeding analysis will contain a description of each as well as a discussion of some of the distinct advantages and disadvantages that both of these approaches necessarily portend. Firstly, the traditional solar cells that utilize solar energy to power a warming unit within the traditional electric hot water heater are efficient as well as increasingly affordable due to the ever increasing availability of solar systems; however, due to the fact that they require a large surface area in order to capture the Sun’s rays, they are oftentimes not utilized due to the fact that other demands from solar systems are often utilized. The distinct advantage of this traditional form of solar energy is that it can be diverted to other systems when and if the hot water is not longer required. However, the main disadvantage is the total level of surface area that must be covered by solar cells in order to generate the requisite power that is necessary to heat a traditional drum of otherwise cool water to the temperature that is utilized for domestic purposes. Figure 1.0 aptly demonstrates the means by which such a traditional solar powered hot water heating system functions. As can be seen in the diagram, the solar cells power the traditional hot water heating unit that in turn utilizes the Sun’s rays to warm the water. As such, it can be noted that the process for heating traditional hot water heaters utilizing traditional solar power via solar panels is rather self explanatory albeit somewhat inefficient. Although this approach is efficient, it pales in comparison to the thermosiphon with respect to the overall amount of energy required to heat 1 gallon of water to appropriate temperatures. Figure 1.0 Likewise, the main portion of this particular research will focus upon the ways in which thermosiphon hot water heaters can and should be utilized to heat water. Firstly, it is worth discussing the means whereby the thermosiphon hot water heater operates. Ultimately, the thermosiphon water heater uses the sunlight to strike tubes and fins within a mechanism that looks very similar to a solar panel. As the heat buildup occurs within this unit, it causes a type of fluid movement as the result of heat differentials throughout the system. In this way, the heat is moved from the collection panels into the collection tank and circulates and distributes among an array of fine tubes within. This is a natural convection process and allows for a nearly constant exchange of energy within the system as long as the heat buildup is occurring between the collection diaphragm ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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