Thermodynamic heating systems

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Thermodynamic heating systems

Post by DarcyDog on Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:43 pm

Has anyone got any experience of the 'new' thermodynamic panels and using them to provide hot water and/or heating? I wondered how much electricity they used and how the cost of running a system like that compares with running traditional solar panels (hot water only).

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Re: Thermodynamic heating systems

Post by Geotherm on Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:45 pm

They are a relatively new technology, so hard to comment on. Believe they are used in Greece and Spain in certain areas, but there are no real reviews I could find on them.
Basicaly they work on the principle of a Air Source Heat Pump, by using a refrigerant in the panel, that is heated by the air temperature in all weather conditions, then it goes through the normal heat pump type cycle. From what I have seen, they will be OK down to a certain outside air temp, like a ASHP, but then the COP will start to drop off considerably, which means the electrical immersion heater will start cutting in to help.
There is also the consideration in heavy snow, that they may not generate enough heat, so electrical heat assistance is required. The refrigerant is at -20C so it needs to "boil" before going through the heat exchanger, so on a very cold day at say -5 the problems will start.
You may not be able to get the 65% tax detraction, until the end of this year, or the low rate electricity tarriff on the system either, as I do not think it is a approved system here in Italy.

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Re: Thermodynamic heating systems

Post by ourtoscana on Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:45 am

There is a Spanish company that produces "Energy Panels" which I believe falls under this category. I always get a bit worried about the servicing capabilities of new products should there be a problem!

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thermodynamic panels - so called.

Post by Sagraiasolar on Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:53 pm

... this looks like a solution being massaged to solve a problem. Here the solar panels get energy (radiant + ambient) which is then pumped into a tank/floors via a heat pump. The flaw is that just normal wet solar panels very often produce high grade heat which can be easily, directly and cheaply transported to a tank with a 40W circulation pump. The heat pump in this system would often take high grade heat, use energy to pump it, and deliver it at a lower temperature. OK but it takes low grade heat too they say. Well so does a properly engineered solar system - my panels pump runs almost every day of the year thanks to the 'solar stripper' circuit.
And another thing - to get ambient heat the panels can't be insulated and that makes them inefficient in the radiant part of the plot.
I bet a conventional heat pump with assistance from conventional panels of the same area would perform better, particularly bearing in mind that in the summer the direct panels would be good enough to do the whole job on their own.
Let's add one thing though. Heat pumps are very good; so good in fact that often solar panels don't compare well enough to recoup their investment even though sun is free. Solar arrays get interesting again if you have really big arrays set at an angle biased towards the shoulder months.
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