Patent application title: Solar Energy Capturing Building Construction Materials, Systems and Methods
Keting Zheng (Henderson, NV, US)
IPC8 Class: AF24J234FI
Class name: Stoves and furnaces solar heat collector with heat storage mass
Publication date: 2009-03-12
Patent application number: 20090064991
A solar heat collecting building construction material composed of a
substrate having an inner side, an opposing outer side with a conduit for
fluid flow therein, wherein the outer side is configured for absorbing
solar energy and facilitating conductive heat transfer to a fluid within
the conduit, the inner side is configured to be thermally insulative and
the fluid receives heat absorbed by the outer side, is disclosed herein
along with systems and methods for using the material.
1. A solar heat collecting building construction material, comprisinga
substrate having an inner side, an opposing outer side and a conduit for
fluid flow between the inner and outer sides, wherein the outer side is
configured for absorbing solar energy and facilitating conductive heat
transfer to a fluid within the conduit, the inner side is configured to
be thermally insulative and the fluid receives heat absorbed by the outer
side;an inlet connected with the conduit for fluid entry;an outlet
connected with the conduit for fluid egress; anda pump for circulating
fluid through the material.
2. The solar heat collecting building construction material of claim 1, wherein the material is composed by single building construction raw material or combination of over two differing building construction raw materials.
3. The solar heat collecting building construction material of claim 1, wherein the material is composed of interconnecting elongated sections of material.
4. A solar heat collecting building construction material, comprisinga substrate having an inner side, an opposing outer side and a conduit for fluid flow between the inner and outer sides, wherein the outer side is configured for absorbing solar energy and facilitating conductive heat transfer to a fluid within the conduit, the inner side is configured to be thermally insulative and the fluid receives heat absorbed from the outer side; anda middle layer disposed parallel to the inner and outer sides, wherein the middle layer divides the conduit into parallel inner and outer conduits, wherein the inner conduit is adjacent to the inner side and the outer conduit is adjacent to the outer side, the middle layer being constructed of a thermally insulative material to prevent heat transfer between fluid within the outer conduit and fluid within the inner conduit.
5. The solar heat collecting building construction material of claim 4, further comprising inlets and outlets for fluid entry and egress to the inner and outer conduits, respectively.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119 based on Chinese Patent Application No. 200710045671.X, filed Sep. 6, 2007; Chinese Patent Application No. 200710045672.4, filed Sep. 6, 2007; Chinese Patent Application No. 2007200744430, filed Sep. 6, 2007 and Chinese Patent Application No. 200720074445X, filed Sep. 6, 2007 and are incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention generally relates to energy-saving materials, structures and construction systems and methods. In particular, this invention relates to energy-saving materials, structures and construction systems and methods which are configured for collecting solar energy, among other things.
2. Background of the Related Art
Being known as clean and inexhaustible energy, there is a huge challenge for humans to make use of solar energy as an energy source. The solar energy industry has so far largely focused on solar cells for converting solar energy to electrical energy or using solar energy as a water heater. Thus, the previous technologies have been aimed at converting solar energy to electrical energy or heating water for saving fuels.
There is no present technology which involves using entire buildings, such as the building materials, structure and/or construction, for capturing solar energy effectively. Without such applicable systems or methods, the clean energy which may be derived from the sun shining on these buildings is wasted. Furthermore, these buildings are often responsible for increasingly enormous consumption of energy. For example, most office buildings require air conditioning for cooling the room temperature during summer months, while employing a central heating system to increase room temperature during winter months. The inherent inefficiency of consuming large amounts of energy while wasting the potential of solar energy is particularly apparent during the summer months.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention is directed to systems and methods which, among other things, solves the aforementioned need in the art.
It is an object to overcome the above-noted disadvantages that buildings and building materials can not take any benefit from readily available solar energy. In some embodiments, the invention provides a solar heating collector which may be formed of ordinary building materials. In some embodiments, the invention is capable of controlling the temperature of buildings and produces heated fluid such as water as a byproduct through the absorption of solar energy.
In embodiment, the invention is used to convert a normal building construction material to a solar heat collecting building material, which includes the building material itself and a conduit disposed therein. The material may be formed as panels in which one surface is exposed to sunlight and acts as a solar energy absorber while the opposite surface acts as a thermal insulator and may be exposed to the interior of a building. The conduit disposed therein has an intake for receiving fluid therein and an outlet for permitting the egress of fluid thereform. Fluid within the conduit absorbs heat from the surface of the material which is exposed to the solar energy, that is, the sun's rays, and may transfer the heat by flowing through the conduit to another location. The rate of fluid flow may be adjusted based on the fluid temperature desired or opportunity for heat absorption.
The liquid conduit may include an intake and outlet for flowing liquid. The heat collecting building construction material may have only one layer or could be formed with more than one layer. The heat collecting building construction material may be composed by a single building row material or combination of over two different building raw materials. The heat collecting building construction material may be a single solar heat collecting unit or several of such materials may be used to form a solar heat collecting panel. The conduit may include one or more separate conduits or channels arranged adjacently with respect to each other.
The conduits may be arranged in one or more levels, forming outer and inner conduits. The inner conduits can be separated from the outer conduits by a thermal insulation material to prevent significant heat transfer or losses between conduits. Heated fluid may be directed to the inner conduits for affecting and controlling the temperature of rooms within a building, while the outer conduit could be used for absorbing heat and providing heated water for the inner conduit, or controlling temperature of the surface of the building.
Furthermore, the thermal insulation material could be a separate part from the surface of the buildings construction materials and removable.
Accordingly, the present invention provides a solar heating collector adapted for different buildings and be compatible with existing building constructions. The present invention is an efficient building material to control temperature by solar energy and make use of the heat from solar energy.
In another embodiment, the invention is directed to a solar heat collecting building construction material. The material is a generally elongated substrate having an inner side and an opposing outer side with a space or conduit for fluid flow between the two sides. The outer side may be a transparent, semi-transparent or opaque material. The outer side may also be configured to have properties which enable solar energy absorption or otherwise facilitate conductive heat transfer to a fluid within the conduit. The inner side may be of the same material as the outer side. The inner side may otherwise be configured to have thermally insulative properties or a separate material having thermally insulative properties may be fitted thereon. The fluid within the conduit acts as a coolant, and has the property of being able to absorb heat and provide conductive heat transfer between the outer side and the fluid. Thus, the fluid receives the heat absorbed by the outer side. The material may include an inlet connected with the conduit for fluid entry, an outlet connected with the conduit for fluid egress, and a pump for circulating fluid through the material. The inner and outer sides may be planar and elongated.
In one aspect, this material may be composed by single building construction raw material or combination of over two differing building construction raw materials. Alternatively, the solar heat collecting building construction material may be composed of elongated sections of material, which may be further configured to be interconnected or otherwise affixed at their respective end edges such that the inner and outer sides and conduits for each section are positioned in series with respect to one another.
In yet another embodiment, a solar heat collecting building construction material of the invention includes an inner side and an opposing outer side defining a conduit for fluid flow therein as described above, along with a middle layer disposed substantially parallel with respect to the inner and outer sides, wherein the middle layer divides the conduit into parallel inner and outer conduits. The middle layer may be constructed of a thermally insulative material to prevent heat transfer between fluid within the outer conduit and fluid within the inner conduit.
It should be understood that although the terms inner and outer sides are used in describing the invention and embodiments thereof, the inner and outer sides may be separate layers of material or may be one integral substrate of material in which an elongated conduit has been formed. The material properties may be adjusted in accordance with the invention by disposing the appropriate coating or by treating the material to facilitate greater solar energy absorptive, heat conductivity or thermal insulative properties on the inner and outer surfaces as desired.
In one embodiment, the invention is directed to a system for buildings using solar energy is provided which includes a heat collecting construction material such as the one described herein, having a fluid conduit disposed in the material, a storage container connected to the fluid conduit, a source provided for the liquid, and a pump moving liquid from the source to the conduit of the heat collecting building construction material.
In another embodiment, the invention is directed to a method for building using solar energy comprises steps of: manufacturing and installing solar heat collecting construction material, wherein a fluid conduit is inserted in the building material and the material is installed to a building so that one surface of the material is exposed to the outside of the building, installing a fluid circulating system for directing fluid flow through the material. The system may include pumps, valves, sensors, fluid sources, tanks and pipes for connecting the system components.
A computer system may be used to controls fluid flow through the conduit. The computer may direct heated fluid from the conduit upon a sensor indicating that the fluid has reached or risen above a preset upper temperature value. The heated fluid may be directed to a first storage tank and replaced by cooler water from a supply or other storage tank. Upon the temperature of the fluid reaching or dropping below a preset lower temperature value, the computer system may be used to direct fluid from the conduit to a second storage tank and replace the fluid in the conduit with stored heated fluid from the first storage tank. Thus, a relatively constant fluid temperature within the one or more conduits may be maintained.
The system power for the pump or other devices may be supplied by a solar cell or photovoltaic battery installed to collect solar energy, such as on the building roof. One of the advantages of the invention is making the utmost of solar energy for buildings, and helping the buildings to control the surface temperature in a certain range, and exchanging the solar energy into hot water or electrical power. In summer, the room temperature of the building will effectively remain cool and the solar energy could be better used to adjust the building temperature in winter.
These and other aspects of systems and methods of the invention will become more readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art from the following detailed description of the invention taken in conjunction with the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
So that those having ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains will more readily understand how to make and use the methods and systems of the invention, embodiments thereof will be described in detail herein below with reference to the drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 shows a cross-section view of a heat collecting construction material or panel constructed and configured for use as a building material according to the invention;
FIG. 2 shows a cross-section view of another embodiment of a heat collecting construction material or panel constructed and configured for use as a building material according to the invention; and
FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the core functional components of an embodiment of a system according to the invention which uses the building material of the invention in a building to collect solar energy.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The advantages of systems and methods of the invention will become more readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art from the following detailed description of certain preferred and exemplary embodiments taken in conjunction with the drawings, which are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
FIG. 1 schematically depicts a solar energy and heat collecting building material panel configured in accordance with some embodiments of the invention for use in building construction and generally referred to as building material 1 which includes a fluid conduit 2 formed therein and configured for the flow of a fluid therein, such as water, water vapor, coolant or other substance having heat absorbing properties. Conduit 2 is generally defined by surfaces or sides 11 and 12, but may also be configured as a tube.
Although the term panel is used, it should be understood that the panel of the invention may comprise an entire side or portion of a building, or panels in some embodiments of the invention may be fabricated for use as separate, independent sections that can be connected at their respective ends to form a larger panel. The panel of the invention may in some embodiments be fabricated for use as a component of the exterior surface of a building.
It should also be understood that any fluid flowing within conduit 2 in a panel of the invention may be recycled through the panel, or ingress to and egress from the panel via one or more connected intake and outlets points. It should be understood that a system using the panel of the invention may also include connections, pumps, fittings, tubing, pipes, etc. It should be understood that the exact configuration of such equipment is not vital to the full implementation of the invention.
Side 11 may be exposed to sunlight and configured or constructed to act as a solar absorber while opposing side 12 is configured or constructed to act as thermal insulator.
As an example, panel 1 may be incorporated in building construction as the entire side of a building with side 11 of panel 1 exposed to sunlight.
In operation, sunlight will heat side 11, and the heat is transferred to a fluid continually flowing within conduit 2. The fluid absorbs the heat and carries it while flowing within conduit 2. Cooler fluid replaces the heated fluid and is subsequently also heated by the heat transferred through side 11. In the case of water used as the fluid, heated water flowing out from conduit 2 may be used for a variety of uses, such as domestic uses, like for showering or heating rooms of buildings, or the fluid may be pumped back to the liquid conduit to keep building warm during colder months. During summer months, panels of the invention can help prevent the effects of the sun from impeding the cooling operation within the building, thus saving energy. At the same time, the hollow structure of the panel 1 itself acts as a good thermal insulator, regardless of whether fluid is flowing through conduit 2. As mentioned above, a panel constructed in accordance with the invention provides significant advantages over the common building materials used to try to keep buildings cool in summer and warm in winter.
FIG. 2 illustrates another embodiment of a heat collecting building construction material panel with a thermal insulation layer 3 disposed between sides 11 and 12 forming fluid conduit channels 4 and 5 in the material.
Thus, in the embodiment of FIG. 2, conduit 2 is configured as two conduits 4 and 5 divided by a thermal insulation material. In operation, this embodiment of the panel of the invention may be positioned in a building so that side 11 is exposed to the outside elements (sun's rays), while side 12 is exposed to an inner room of the building. Sides 11 and 12 may both be formed of a suitable material that allows for heat transfer to fluid flowing in conduits 4 and 5, respectively. By adjusting the temperature of fluid flowing in conduit 5, the panel of the invention may be used to affect or adjust the temperature within the room. Thermal insulation layer 3 facilitates using fluid flowing in the outer conduit 4 (that is, "outer" relative to the location of room) to receive heat from sunlight shining on the outside of the building, without affecting the temperature of fluid in conduit 5.
It should be understood that a heat collecting building construction material constructed in accordance with the invention may also include multiple layers. The heat collecting building construction panel may be formed by using raw materials during building construction from one or more raw materials. Preferably, the heat collecting building construction is a single solar heat collecting unit or several of these materials form a solar heat collecting panel.
In a preferred embodiment, the building construction panel could be metal (such as aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and the like), polymer, glass, ceramic or other common building materials. It also could be one or combination of above-mentioned building materials. Furthermore, the ordinary building materials could be used as the solar heat collecting building construction panel after being provided a special treatment of a suitable formula, ingredients, compound or coating with a film, such as those having the properties that facilitate the absorption of solar heat efficiently, decrease thermal radiation, and/or increase the efficiency of heat exchange within the panel.
For instance, glass is an option for solar heat collecting building construction raw material in accordance with the invention, or a compound formed with glass and ceramic. Moreover, glass with coating a layer for thermal conductivity is another typical heat collecting building construction material that may be used in accordance with the invention, which enhances thermal conductivity by chemistry or physical treatment. Typically, when the glass is used as the surface of building, a thermal insulation material could be another material separated from the glass and may also be removable.
Although the solar heat collecting building material panel shown herein is flat, it should be understood that the panel surface can be of any shape, such as a circle, arc, or rough-and-uneven and so on. For instance, an arc surface shape may be particularly useful as a roof building material.
The panel of this invention could be used as part of or the entire outside walls of buildings or roofs, and as windows. The panel may also be used as the surface of decorative material, or in other constructions, as thermal insulation material for buildings. Furthermore, the building construction of this invention could be installed in buildings, ground and road as solar collecting system which is controlled by a computer or other control system to exchange solar energy into hot water.
FIG. 3 schematically depicts a system for use in a building that includes a solar energy capturing panel according to some embodiments of the invention. For illustrative purposes, the invention is described as being used with water as the fluid within the conduit. A supply tank 15 and pump 12 are connected with the liquid conduit (not shown) in panel 10. Pump 12 acts as a buffer pool for liquid to maintain a supply at a certain flux with tank 15.
The system may further include a sensor for measuring the temperature and flow of fluid inside the conduit. The sensor may be positioned at the fluid outlet of the conduit. The sensor may send signals to a computer system which controls a three-way valve 14. Valve 14 has one way connecting to the outlet of the conduit in panel 10, while the other two ways connect to a storage container 13 and supply tank 15, respectively. The computer system controls valve 14 and pump 12. Any suitable power supply may be used for providing electric power for computer system and pump, such as a solar battery or general electric power or other power, or combination of different kinds of power supply.
The system also include a liquid process device 16 for providing water treatment. For example, device 16 may be connected to tank 15 to provide for liquid purification. Device 16 may also be configured to reduce hardness or minerals, or some other treatment for reducing scaling within the pipes wall of said system.
The system may include further sensors, control valves, and pumps. For example, the system may include another control valve downstream from the outlet of the conduit to remove heated water for use, such as in heating applications in the building or in a panel such as the panel of FIG. 2.
Thus, with benefit of solar energy, the system of this embodiment of the invention will reduce the building energy consumption. The solar heating system with solar collecting panels and conduit therein could be installed in any plane of buildings which may be exposed to sunshine, such as the roof, the outside wall, outside decorative features of buildings, window, dormers and so on. When the sunlight rays shine on the panel of the solar heating system, solar collecting construction will absorb the heat from sunshine and exchange with fluid in the inner conduit. The fluid within the conduit may be circulated and temperature of the fluid flowing within the conduit may be monitored by a sensor such that after the fluid reaches a certain preset temperature, a computer system operatively associated with the system may use valves, pumps or other equipment to direct the heated fluid for heating applications or other uses, and replace the fluid circulating in the panel with cooler fluid.
In the circumstances of a cloudy day, the system may be adjusted. For example, the preset temperature may be lowered, or otherwise all the fluid within the conduit may be discharged into the supply tank so that the conduit may be emptied. Alternatively, the flow rate of fluid through the conduit may be increased (such as on, sunny days) and slowed (such as on less sunny days) to provide more or less opportunity for heat absorption. Heated water may also be saved in a storage tank for later use. For further energy conservation, the system may use a solar battery or photovoltaic cell as the power source, and if the output power of battery is lower than the preset value, and the system will be switched into alternate power supply.
Optionally, the pump of the above-mentioned solar heating system could be used with the main water supply system of the building together as a circulating water supply system, or an individual circulating water control system.
The storage container of the above-mentioned building using solar energy system could be more than one, and each container could be installed with a temperature sensor or flow sensor to measure and control the temperature and flow for each container. The computer system may set for automatically controlling the entire system. The computer may be used to adjust all parameters, record data and provide statistics relating to the operation and output relevant operating reports.
Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that a system for use with the panel of the invention may include various computer or computer-related software and hardware for controlling and facilitating the operation of the system, such as programs, operating systems, memory, data storage devices, data input/output devices, data processors, data communication devices, electromechanical device and data transceivers, wireless or otherwise, and data receiving controllers for electromechanical devices, in addition to other plumbing, mechanical and electrical hardware and/or devices.
In the exemplary descriptions provided herein there are numerous specific details set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of some of the embodiments of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to an artisan of ordinary skill that the present invention may be practiced without incorporating all aspects of the specific details described herein. Although the description herein is provided in sufficient detail for one skilled in the art to make, use and practice the invention, it should be understood that some specific features may have not been described in detail because, among other things, the invention should not be limited as such, and so as not to obscure the invention.
It will be understood that certain combinations and subcombinations of the invention are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features in subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the present invention. As many possible embodiments may be made of this invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matters hereinabove set forth or shown in the accompanying figures are to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that the concepts, structures, systems, and methods of this disclosure may be implemented in many manners and as such this disclosure is not to be limited by the exemplary embodiments and examples set forth herein. While the particular embodiments as shown and disclosed herein are fully capable of providing the features and advantages described herein, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of some embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as described in the appended claims.
Patent applications in class With heat storage mass
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