A research team from the University of Cordoba has designed a sustainable solar photovoltaic device that can heat water up to 80 degrees – just like an ordinary electric heater
A significant part of the energy consumption of buildings is intended for the production of hot water. Photovoltaic solar heating can be considered a clean and renewable energy option. Easy to install, quiet and requiring little maintenance, it also avoids the consumption of fossil fuels normally used for this process. Today, a research group from the University of Cordoba has designed a photovoltaic solar heating device that harnesses 95.06% of the available energy to produce domestic hot water.
The prototype they designed manages to heat water to 80 degrees, just like a normal electric heater. No type of waste or polluting gases is produced during this process. Compared to thermal solar energy, which requires hydraulic installation, this model would only use an electrical box similar to those found in homes, to which solar panels and a conventional electric water heater are connected. , with two cables. “It is a much more versatile, sustainable and economical model, and which produces only a 5% energy loss,” explained principal researcher Luis Cámara-Díaz.
This new system focuses specifically on domestic hot water, but it could be applied for commercial and industrial use, according to Cámara-Díaz. The heating process relies on thermal electrical resistors powered by photovoltaic solar energy. “Conventional water heaters have an electrical resistance inside which, when connected to electricity, generates heat. We call this heat resistance. The difference from our prototype is that we connect it to photovoltaic solar panels instead of electric current, ”he added. In this way, the existing solar energy is converted into photovoltaic energy, which can be used for heating at any time of the day. The water tank works as a store of all this daily energy, eliminating the need to install batteries.
A breakthrough achieved with this low cost electronic system is that it is possible to convert available photovoltaic energy into heat, whether the existing solar radiation levels are high or low.
In addition, its installation does not require a large number of solar panels, nor does it have to be connected to the electrical network. And, it complies with safety measures just like any other electrical / electronic device, the researcher said. The device is currently in the experimental phase, with the prospect of being marketed in the future. One of the advancements that the research team is also working on is the application of artificial intelligence to this device, to improve system security and monitoring.