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Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors – Heat Pipes vs. U Pipes

Comparison of SunMaxx Heat Pipe Vs U-Pipe Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors:
Test Models: SunMaxx-30 and SunMaxx-30U
Testing Report: Solar Keymark Certification Testing

Collector Model ThermoPower-VDF30 ThermoPower-VHP30
Collector Type U-Pipe Heat Pipe
Aperture Area 2.67 m2 / 28.74 ft2 2.79 m2 / 30.03 ft2
Conversion Factor (efficiency) 0.650 0.734
Heat Transfer Coefficient (a1) 1.585 W/(m2K) 1.529 W//(m2K)
Temperature Dependent Heat Transfer Coefficient (a2) 0.002 W/(m2K) 0.012 W/(m2K)
Typical Power Output / Collector
Tm-Ta (K) 400 W/m2 700 W/m2 1000 W/m2 400 W/m2 700 W/m2 1000 W/m2
10 649 1172 1693 772 1387 2001
30 562 1083 1510 650 1264 1879
50 469 990 1510 490 1105 1719
Power Output (W/m2 – Aperture Area) Based On 1000 W/m2 Irradiance 634 W/m2 Of Aperture Area 717 W/m2 Of Aperture Area
Power Output (BTU/m2 – Aperture Area) Based On 1000 W/m2 Of Irradiance 2163 BTU/h/m2 Of Aperture Area
201 BTU/h/m2 Of Aperture Area
2446 BTU/h/m2 Of Aperture Area
227 BTU/h/ft2 Of Aperture Area
Total BTU/h 5923 BTU/h 6824 BTU/h
BTU/h/$ Invested (Collector Value) 4.76 BTU/h/$ 3.90 BTU/h/$

It is clear from the results that the conversion efficiency of SunMaxx Heat Pipe Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors is superior to that of SunMaxx U-Pipe Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors.

Despite this, U-Pipe Solar Collectors provide an extremely low-cost alternative to Heat Pipe Solar Collectors, and their unique ability to be installed at 0 or 90 degree angles (either flat (flush) or vertical) make them a superb choice for commercial installations. The ability to be installed in this fashion permits them to be used in places where traditional heat-pipe tubes would be less efficient due to shading from the collectors themselves.

In pure dollar value – heat production per dollar invested – SunMaxx U-Pipe Solar Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors win out over other collector styles because of their extremely low price and high performance ratings.

If you are looking for the most value for your money, and the lowest possible initial investment, SunMaxx U-Pipe Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors are the most viable choice.

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