First company worldwide to produce solar collectors of high-performing thermoplastic material
The Aventa challenge was to produce a polymer solar collector that could withstand demanding temperature conditions and UV impacts. This challenge has been met through close collaboration with Solvay, one of the leading polymer suppliers in the world, with special focus on high-performance polymers in polyfenylensulfid (PPS). Aventa has completed the development phase, established highly competitive production facilities, and is currently experiencing a successful introduction of the systems in the Norwegian market.
Polymer materials are regarded by many as a key to realizing the huge potential of solar thermal energy, by reducing costs and creating opportunities for aesthetic innovations. However, lower prices, flexible dimensions and easy mounting can only be a reality if major challenges related to effective production are solved.
The production of large structured sheets of PPS-materials by extrusion has been demonstrated for the first time worldwide by Aventa with strong support from material supplier Solvay and DS Smith Plastics. By adjusting design and selecting the best materials to work in permanent contact with water at medium-to-high temperatures under moderate pressure, we have been able to produce durable and well-performing collectors at a considerably lower cost.
End caps must be joined to the extruded absorber sheets in order to form a 100 % polymer absorber. This is done by an infrared welding machine, which is developed by FILL in cooperation with Aventa. Repetitively joining polymer sheets to large extruded absorber panels represented a considerable challenge, and it took two years to design and install the machine in Aventa’s Holmestrand factory. The machine makes the most important process of solar collector production fully automated: the joining of end-caps and absorbers . Both parts come from OEM suppliers specialised in polymer process extrusion and injection moulding. Using an infrared welding technology based on medium wave metal-foil emitters reduces the time for the entire process to around two minutes per panel.
Solar systems as a natural part of the building
Aventa views solar collectors as natural building elements, replacing other materials on the roof or in facades. Our solar collectors can be installed as integrated components of buildings, avoiding competing interests in use of new areas. We therefore collaborate closely with building industry representatives, and listen to demands regarding building codes, installation practices and logistics.
Why solar heat?
75-80% of energy consumption in buildings is related to heating and cooling. Savings are achieved by utilizing the solar heat directly avoiding the “detour” via power conversion. Solar collectors utilize 90% of the sun’s energy, whereas solar cell utilizes 15-20%. A combination of solar collector and solar cells represents complimentary functions for solar-fuelled buildings.
Did you know that worldwide 586 million m2 of
solar thermal collectors are installed,
corresponding to a capacity of 410,2 GWth?