Evacuated Tube Collectors

Most vacuum tube collectors in use in middle Europe use heat pipes for their core instead of passing liquid directly through them. Direct flow is more popular in China. Evacuated heat pipe tubes (EHPTs) are composed of multiple evacuated glass tubes each containing an absorber plate fused to a heat pipe. The heat is transferred to the transfer fluid (water or an antifreeze mix—typically propylene glycol) of a domestic hot water or hydronic space heating system in a heat exchanger called a “manifold”. The manifold is wrapped in insulation and covered by a protective sheet metal or plastic case. The vacuum inside of the evacuated tube collectors have been proven to last more than 25 years, the reflective coating for the design is encapsulated in the vacuum inside of the tube, which will not degrade until the vacuum is lost. The vacuum that surrounds the outside of the tube greatly reduces convection and conduction heat loss, therefore achieving greater efficiency than flat-plate collectors, especially in colder conditions. This advantage is largely lost in warmer climates, except in those cases where very hot water is desirable, e.g., for commercial processes. The high temperatures that can occur may require special design to prevent overheating.

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