BKCHAP08-2011 - Chapter 8 SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEMS 8.1...

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8-1 Chapter 8 SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEMS 8.1 Introduction Solar Thermal systems convert sunlight into heat for various forms of end-use; space heating, water heating, industrial process steam, cooking, absorption cooling, crop drying, solar greenhouse, salt production by brine evaporation, desalination, and electricity production. These indirect applications of solar energy are distinctly different from photovoltaics which produce electricity direct from sunlight without the intermediate thermal conversion. While the use of solar energy has been evolving over many years, concentrated research and development were initiated in the early 1970's after the first oil shortage. The realization that the world's fuel supply is finite, and its cost is subject to large swings, motivated a vigorous worldwide response to develop renewable energy (primarily solar) alternatives. With strong government funding in many countries, almost every conceivable process for concentrating and converting sunlight for useful purposes has been examined. Many were carried to test hardware. The more promising components were retained and improved over successive generations of hardware development. Many fully functional prototypes were built and tested around the world. This growth in solar energy activities slowed down and somewhat reversed in the 1980's coincident with the decline in world oil prices, and equally important, the projections for reduced future oil prices. However, the volatility of the oil supply, and the growing energy needs keep the interest active in solar development. In the 1990’s and 2000’s there have been many commercial deployments of concentrated solar power (CSP) projects around the world. Examples can be found in the United States, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, China, India and several countries in the Middle East. Today domestic and institutional solar water heating is commercially feasible in many parts of the world. Also, solar heating of residential buildings is rapidly approaching commercial status in the United States. Both active and passive solar heating systems are being installed, and several manufacturers are test marketing solar heating components and total systems. The highly focused activities in this field during the last thirty years should not lead anyone to think that the use of solar energy is a new concept. Farmers in India are known to have dried their crops in the sun for several thousand years. Making salt from seawater using solar energy has also been practiced for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks and the early Indians of the American Southwest understood passive solar concepts, and built their dwellings facing south to utilize wintertime solar energy. Ancient Rome, noted for its legal codes, had the first solar rights law. The first patent of a solar water heater
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8-2 dates back to 1891. Perhaps as many as 100,000 solar hot water heating systems were in use in the United States before World War II.
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This note was uploaded on 03/16/2012 for the course ECE 5374G taught by Professor Srahman during the Spring '12 term at Virginia Tech.

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BKCHAP08-2011 - Chapter 8 SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEMS 8.1...

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