June 25 2003
Clean heat – as simple as
at the University of South Australia have developed a revolutionary
heating system that is effective, cheap to run, environmentally friendly,
and designed to be discretely tucked away inside the roof of the home or
principles of solar air space heating systems have been known for decades
but until now none could be used practically in a modern home. The simple
principle of the system is to capture the sun’s heat during the day,
transfer that heat to a storage facility and then retrieve it later when
challenge for researchers at UniSA’s
Sustainable Energy Centre (SEC) was to develop a system that
complemented contemporary Australian housing design while providing a
practical and affordable alternative to fossil fuel dependent heating
systems, according to SEC Director, Associate Professor Wasim Saman.
a close collaboration between partners committed to creating sustainable
communities, the South Australian Housing Trust, BHP Steel and UniSA, a
new environmentally friendly innovation in home space heating was created,
with research programs funded through the SA State Energy Research
Advisory Committee and the Australian Research Council.
the cost of electricity and gas on the rise, the Solar Air Space Heating
System is a most attractive alternative that can reduce average
conventional heating bills by half.
benefits include low dependence on fossil fuels, free energy from the sun,
blends with contemporary home design, is almost invisible, makes use of
standard building and air conditioning design and installation practices,
and is easy to install in new and existing homes,” Professor Saman said.
solar heater comprises two major components - an air based solar roof
integrated collector and a thermal storage unit.
solar collector is a roof made from Colorbond® Steel, which has been
glazed with a clear plastic material that’s hardly noticeable. On sunny
days the collector heats up as it absorbs sunlight. Air is then passed
through the collector and is heated. This hot air warms the home or passes
through the thermal storage unit, where the heat is captured in an
innovative system of phase change materials that store energy by changing
from a solid to a liquid at a desired temperature.
phase change materials have high energy storage capacity per unit mass and
volume, heat can be stored efficiently in a compact system contained fully
within the roof space, according to UniSA research engineer, Martin
there is no sunshine, cool air inside the house is passed through the
storage unit where it is heated and then circulated back into the house,
introducing fresh air during operation. When the thermal storage is
‘empty’, a gas heater is used as the auxiliary heater,” Belusko
Sustainable Energy Centre is a world leader in developing applications of
phase change materials for both heating and cooling and has established a
reputation for applied and innovative research across a broad range of
sustainable energy applications.
solar heating system is the first of a series of applications for both
domestic and commercial markets. As the full family of innovative systems
is demonstrated and commercialised over the next two years, the energy use
and associated environmental impact for a typical Adelaide home will
change forever,” Professor Saman said.
first prototype of this system has been installed on a house at Windsor
Gardens. UniSA researchers will monitor the system’s performance in the
home over the next six months.
Minister, Steph Key, says the new solar heating system will be trialed by
a family moving into the new home at the Windsor Green urban renewal
family will provide feedback on the new solar heating system as it heats
their Housing Trust home in Windsor Gardens.”
trials of solar energy systems in Housing Trust homes include the
installation of solar hot water systems in 100 tenants’ homes in Port
Augusta – as part of a State Government partnership project with NRG
Flinders, Port Augusta City Council and the EPA.
contact: Geraldine Hinter (08) 8302 0963 or 0417 861832
Need an expert? Find one at UniSA’s online
Directory of Experts - http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/MDU/MDU-search.asp