The draft prototype titled "Low System Pressure and Low Temperature for Thermal Capture Solar Energy" is basically composed of a set of solar panels, constructed from structured, transparent polymer plates with fixed width and variable length, and a energy storage system consisting of two twin containers, one for the heat storage itself (may simply include "pure" water) and the other for the liquid circulating in the collector that will be responsible for the uptake and transport of thermal energy panel to the storage tank.

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This project aims to analyze the performance of an unglazed commercial polymeric solar thermal collector, primarily used for swimming pool heating, made from epdm (ethylene propylene diene monomer). This polymer shows good mechanical properties and good UV resistance. The main goal of this work is to compare the efficiency and the changes on material physical properties when this unglazed collector is covered with a transparent PC (polycarbonate) structured sheet, transforming it into a glazed solar thermal collector.

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UNISOL - universal solar system for pre-heating water - is a co-promotion project between JPrior - Plastic Factory Ltd, University of Aveiro and the National Laboratory of Energy and Geology whose general objectives are the production and optimization of an autonomous and intelligent system whose management and thermal energy storage is based on low pressure and low temperature. It may use, in the thermal energy capture, almost any type of solar collector (or collective heat distribution) and in part distribution, be connected to any space heating system operating at low temperatures.

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The main purpose of a greenhouse is to create and maintain a controlled artificial environment that will favour the crop production with the maximum profit. Late increase on fuel prices, together with colder than normal seasons, make heating costs a significant burden on greenhouse operations. Therefore, the use of renewed energy systems, namely solar thermal systems, to control the inner environment of agricultural greenhouses becomes an economical and technological topic of unquestionable interest. This publication is related with the analytical analysis of the possibility of using a solar thermal system to control the climate environment of a greenhouse. Preliminary calculations show that, in certain climate conditions, a solar greenhouse can collect sufficient solar energy to feed, at least, another standard thermally optimised greenhouse of the same size. The implementation of this project, which is based on Portuguese Utility Model nº10218 – “Thermal Solar System for Collection, Storage and Distribution of Heat at Low Temperature”, considers the construction of a prototype and, later, of a larger industrial greenhouse, to verify the technological and economical viability of the patented idea.

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