The next big leap in solar panels is just around the corner: vacuum tubes

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The energy future is largely solar. The EU itself the goal was set in spring to double solar photovoltaic capacity by 2025 and install 600 GW by 2030. Against such a backdrop, over the years, strategies and studies have followed one another to achieve increasingly efficient and ambitious systems, a race that has gone through the research focused on new materials and locations or even innovative systems for homes and businesses.

One more proposal is added to the list which, defend their promoterscan give more attractiveness to efficiency levels: the use of vacuum tubes that generate electricity and heat at the same time.

One of the companies that defends its benefits is Naked Energybased in West Sussex (United Kingdom) and which claims to have developed “the solar technology with the highest energy density in the world” with its range of Virtu installations, a technology that has vacuum tubes as its great centerpiece. Thanks to it, the company notes, photovoltaic solar energy and thermal solar energy can be combined up to 80ºC to generate electricity and heat with a single installation.

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In their design solar vacuum tubes are similar to large thermos Manufactured with two layers of glass closed under vacuum and that accommodate a small plate.

What advantages does the system offer? It cuts thermal losses, its design is designed to maximize energy production with different angles of inclination, reduces wind shearing and —since it is designed as modules— installation costs are reduced. The solar panels are also inclined at an angle that allows them to be fixed on flat roofs or facades.

The company offers two versions of its technology, one designed to heat water from solar energy (VirtuHot) and another that combines photovoltaic and solar thermal (VirtuPVYT) with the purpose of producing both electricity and heat from a single collector.

“It offers up to four times more energy than solar PV and more carbon savings for many public, industrial and commercial buildings that require hot water or other forms of heat,” notes the companywhich uses a mixture of water and a variable amount of propylene glycol to prevent freezing in winter, as well as reflectors on certain models.

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The use of solar vacuum tubes is by no means new and in fact already there are different types technology, such as direct flow vacuum solar collectors or heat pipe vacuum solar collectors; but they are used mainly for the generation of heat.

With its design, Naked aspires to also supply electricity through a modular design that allows it to be adapted to buildings. The firm poses it as a “complementary product” which can be combined with ground source heat pumps to support their overall performance.

Images: Naked Energy

The energy future is largely solar. The EU itself the goal was set in spring to double solar photovoltaic capacity…

The energy future is largely solar. The EU itself the goal was set in spring to double solar photovoltaic capacity…

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