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Planning on moving from the wet N.W. to sunny CO. this summer.  Probably settle about 50 miles S. of Denver at about 7500 feet.  Considering what I will be leaving, how much more of an opportunity for solar heat can there be?

Plans are very preliminary at this point, however I hope for something along this line.  Please comment on any and all issues both + & - that may come to mind.

Along the S. side of my shop, build a lean-to a few feet out.  This will be protection from hail storms that come through.  Under this cover mount ten mirrors such that they reflect the sun onto a common point about thirty feet out.  At this common point, mount a collector made out of a flat metal panel with copper pipe mounted on.  This assembly is then painted a flat black.  This collector is protected from the weather and in a closed home of its own.  The front of it would have a window such that the suns reflection could get in.  I would then have piping running into my shop and house basement.  In the shop and basement would be something like a radiator out of a car with a fan moving air through.  Now some concerns:

From looking on the internet, in this area there is something like 900W/Sq.M available.  It appears that I might be able to get about 30% recovery or ~250W/Sq.M.  If there are ten mirrors reflecting the sun onto the collector, there is the potential for 2500 W of energy.  (For ease at this point I am thinking one meter square mirrors and collector.)     QUESTION:  What percentage of reflective energy can I expect using various types of mirrors?  What will be my losses after the mirrors?  What is the best mirror material?  How about the loss going through the window into the doghouse and onto the collector?

I am thinking about moving the heat using water.  The collector to the shop will be about thirty feet, and then about 100 feet to the house.  QUESTION:  What is the best way to minimize the heat loss?  Thinking about burying about a 4 inch PVC pipe, and then running the two pipes wrapped with something inside.  This would still give me a lot of heat loss, so looking for ideas.

Since the pump to recirculate the water, and some of the piping will be in the shop, I am thinking about building some type of stove in the shop and have the water pick up some heat from there also.  There is basically an unlimited source of pine needles available in the area and we are looking at some method to use this as a heat source.  QUESTION:  Anyone have any experience of burning pine needles, and especially forming them into something similar to wood pellets?  This would simplify an automatic feeding of a stove.  I think some type of “rocket stove” that is so heavily discussed in this forum would fit in here quite nicely.

Anyone who has stayed with me on this long blabbering, I appreciate.  Thanks for any and all comments.



 
Tyler Ludens
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You might want to look at systems which other people have pioneered.  For greenhouse growing and living space I like "Solviva" by Anna Edey. http://www.solviva.com/solviva_book.htm ; Solar space heaters have been successfully made by many people.  http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/Space_Heating.htm
 
Gary Gary
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B.J. wrote:
Planning on moving from the wet N.W. to sunny CO. this summer.  Probably settle about 50 miles S. of Denver at about 7500 feet.  Considering what I will be leaving, how much more of an opportunity for solar heat can there be?

Plans are very preliminary at this point, however I hope for something along this line.  Please comment on any and all issues both + & - that may come to mind.

Along the S. side of my shop, build a lean-to a few feet out.  This will be protection from hail storms that come through.  Under this cover mount ten mirrors such that they reflect the sun onto a common point about thirty feet out.  At this common point, mount a collector made out of a flat metal panel with copper pipe mounted on.  This assembly is then painted a flat black.  This collector is protected from the weather and in a closed home of its own.  The front of it would have a window such that the suns reflection could get in.  I would then have piping running into my shop and house basement.  In the shop and basement would be something like a radiator out of a car with a fan moving air through.  Now some concerns:

From looking on the internet, in this area there is something like 900W/Sq.M available.  It appears that I might be able to get about 30% recovery or ~250W/Sq.M.  If there are ten mirrors reflecting the sun onto the collector, there is the potential for 2500 W of energy.  (For ease at this point I am thinking one meter square mirrors and collector.)     QUESTION:  What percentage of reflective energy can I expect using various types of mirrors?  What will be my losses after the mirrors?  What is the best mirror material?  How about the loss going through the window into the doghouse and onto the collector?

I am thinking about moving the heat using water.  The collector to the shop will be about thirty feet, and then about 100 feet to the house.  QUESTION:  What is the best way to minimize the heat loss?  Thinking about burying about a 4 inch PVC pipe, and then running the two pipes wrapped with something inside.  This would still give me a lot of heat loss, so looking for ideas.

Since the pump to recirculate the water, and some of the piping will be in the shop, I am thinking about building some type of stove in the shop and have the water pick up some heat from there also.  There is basically an unlimited source of pine needles available in the area and we are looking at some method to use this as a heat source.  QUESTION:  Anyone have any experience of burning pine needles, and especially forming them into something similar to wood pellets?  This would simplify an automatic feeding of a stove.  I think some type of “rocket stove” that is so heavily discussed in this forum would fit in here quite nicely.

Anyone who has stayed with me on this long blabbering, I appreciate.  Thanks for any and all comments.



Hi,
Colorado is great for solar -- lots of sun and cold enough to use it.

That's and interesting idea -- just a few thoughts on it.

To get the mirrors to reflect light onto the collector during the full day you would have to track them on the collector.  Google "heliostat" to see what's involved in that.

You can make good mirrors fairly cheaply using aluminized mylar -- it does not last forever, but at least several years.  Reflectivity when new is up int he 95% area.

You would have to be careful how you design the leanto such that it does not shade the mirrors -- this depends a lot on how far into the summer you want to be able to heat.

With something like 10 to 1 concentration, I would be concerned about the safety of the whole thing -- anything flamable in the path of this concentrated beam might well catch fire.  Materials that will hold up to this kind of heat would have to be selected carefully.

Overall, while I like the innovative thinking, it seems like a lot of complexity compared to just putting a large and wide collector where you were going to put the mirrors.  This would gain as much or more heat for you and is a proven workable way to heat a lot of water that can then be used for space heating or domestice water heating.  Have a look at the space heating page here: http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/Space_Heating.htm
Under Active systems, the $2K system and the solar shed (my systems), or Tom's 330 sqft system are pretty close to what you want to do.

The Solar Shed one includes a description of a long insulated, underground pipeline.

Gary
 
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