Sunday, January 31, 2010

TU Delft Testing Thin Solar Tower to Power Building Extraction Ventilation

TU Delft (Delft, Netherlands) is going to test a 'solar chimney'. The tower, with a height of 11.5 meters, is heated up by the sun to produce an extraction ventilation effect applicable in buildings.
Image Credit:  TU Delft

This construction in the grounds of Peutz consultancy in Molenhoek, is slender, extremely well insulated and about 11.5m high. On the south-facing side (the sun side), the solar chimney is covered by a glass layer. This layer has good insulating properties but it also transmits solar radiation very well. The solar radiation hits an 'absorber plate' which in turn heats up the air in the chimney. The warm air rises, causing an updraught. Thus, a chimney like this can provide extraction ventilation in buildings.

Test cell
At the base of the chimney there is a small chamber (test cell) to house measuring and control apparatus and to condition the ventilation air. Air from this test cell is sucked up through the chimney. The test cell temperature is regulated with a heat pump so that it is suitable for offices and other buildings: 20ºC in winter and 24ºC in summer.

Taking measurements
The solar chimney is a test model for Ben Bronsema's PhD research at TU Delft. He is investigating the best way to build solar chimneys and the extent solar to which energy can contribute to heating systems in buildings. To achieve this, Bronsema is measuring pressure, temperature, air speed, solar radiation, wind speed etc. In this way, he hopes to help develop energy-efficient and innovative ways of ventilating and heating buildings.

This research is a joint project involving the architecture faculties at TU Delft and TU Eindhoven, and VVKH Architecten. It is being carried out with the aid of a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs; Energy Research Grant regulation, Long-Term (Article 18b).

For more information
Ben Bronsema,
Science Information Officer TU Delft,, +31 15 27 81751

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