Transpired solar collectors

Transpired Solar Collectors Heat the Welsh School of Architecture’s Office

The SBED team at the Welsh School of Architecture has installed four small-scale Transpired Solar Collectors on the roof of the School to provide warm air for an office at roof level.

Aim of the installation

With these test rigs, we will experiment with a number of different Transpired Solar Collectors’ configurations and parameters, which will generate a wide range of performance data.

Different Dimension and Orientation

The four free standing Transpired Solar Collectors, courtesy of our industrial partner Tata Steel, are all south-facing and each has an area of approximately 1m². However, they differ in dimension and orientation: the three rectangular Collectors measure 1600mm by 600mm and are oriented vertically, horizontally and inclined at 45°. The final Transpired Solar Collector is square and measures approximately 1000mm by 1000mm.

Transpired solar collectors on the roof

Influencing Factors of Transpired Solar Collectors’ Performance

The condition of the Transpired Solar Collectors, the temperature of the room and the external weather can all influence the operation of the Collectors and their performance. We use an array of sensors to measure these parameters, including temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation and air flow.

Individual Control System

Each Transpired Solar Collector has a dedicated fan and control mechanism which delivers air to the office when the predetermined conditions are met. For example, when the temperature in the Transpired Solar Collector’s cavity is greater than the temperature in the office and the temperature in the office is less than 22°C, the Transpired Solar Collector will be switched on. Determining these conditions can have a significant impact on the overall performance of a Transpired Solar Collector. Therefore, we intend to use these test rigs to experiment with the conditions and to find out how they affect the performance of the Transpired Solar Collectors.

Projected Performance

Each Transpired Solar Collector is capable of delivering approximately 30m³/hour of heated air when conditions allow, providing well above the necessary ventilation rates for the office. On a ‘good TSC day’ – a sunny day in November for instance, temperatures in the cavity can reach above 40°C. Provided the air flow in the system is suitably balanced, this temperature can be maintained for several hours as long as the sun is not obscured.

Keep informed of our progress

Follow us on Twitter and we will update conditions and data from these test rigs every now and then!