Horizontal Trough Collector for Solar Hot Air and Water.

About: I am a stone mason. My hobby is making new solar cooking and gardening stuff. I have used solar heat to cook soil for a couple of years. In mother earth news in January, i read that their compost expert does...

I think this type of collector has a few potential advantages.  Especially in higher latitudes.
It combines the characteristics of cusp concentrators (super wide acceptance angle) but low concentration with parabolic concentrators, super concentration but awful acceptance angle.
So the advantages should be, higher concentration so less pipes and plumbing to deal with,
probably higher temperature generated and less loss of energy due to re radiation.
Also because of the decent acceptance angle, a cloudy sky might still yield decent heat production.
I have not made one, and I have no plans to do so.  I think they will have dead hot air around the collector and this will keep them warmer than expected.
They have to be in a plane that is at right angles to  the axis of the earth's rotation. This means that horizontal is  the option with the shortest pipe lengths but that having one or 2 banks of them joined together and on an incline will work too. This will allow for non powered fluid flow through the pipes.

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I made one back in the 70s with a 4x8 sheet of plywood with foil glued inside.
    First cut half a dozen stringers in the parabolic shape out of plywood, then screw the 1/4" plywood to the stringers. A 3/4" hard copper tube painted with barbeque paint is the collector. It is also the pivot point for the horizontal reflector.
    Very easy to get 400 deg f with a 36-1 (appx.)concentration ratio. Unless you need that temp, it is much more efficient to run at low temps, as it is with all solar collectors- cooler is more efficient.

    These troughs are much easier to make than dishes and also easier to keep aimed.


    8 years ago on Introduction


    lots of variations- not sure which would focus the best on a 'steam' pipe- should be lots of solar surface area though- irregardless of inclination...