With innovative collector designs, new applications have opened up for solar thermal energy, such as solar cooling, process heat generation and combined heat and power (CHP). One collector that is particularly at home here is manufactured by TVP Solar SA from Switzerland. The high-vacuum flat plate collector reachers peak yields by avoiding convection losses inside the solar collector. In this way, it is still able to work at over 50% efficiency at temperatures of 200ºC. "In contrast to concentrating systems, our flat plate collector can also utilise diffuse irradiaton," comments TVP Solar founder and Managing Director Piero Abbate on a further advantage of the MT-Power collector.
TVP Solar has come up with several technological developments in order for the collectro to maintain the high vacuum. For example, an innovative flexible glass/metal made from [inorganic] material does not allow any [hydrogen atoms] to penetrate from the surrounding area. The getter -- which maintains the high vacuum throughout the service life of the collector by absorbing [hydrogen] atoms -- should be particularly effective.
If the vacuum malfunctions, a visual point [on] the collector changes colur. TVP Solar intends to use processes from the production of plasma screens when manufacturing the collectors. The company plans on starting mass production in the coming year.