A thermal store is a way of storing and managing thermal energy until it is needed. It can provide mains pressure hot water and can supply your heating system (radiators, underfloor etc.). It is possible to combine the thermal store with all types of heating systems, including existing or new oil, gas, or biomass boilers, wood stoves, solar thermal installations and also heat pumps.
We are the UK distributor for the Consolar SOLUS II thermal store, this can be supplied in a range of different sizes and integrated with all types of boiler and heating systems.
It uses Consolars' cleverly designed and patented thermo-siphon high efficiency heat exchangers to heat the store from the solar system and provide pressurised hot water while maintaining heat stratification of the water within the store. The heat exchanger construction is such that the water is forced to flow through a series of highly "finned" tubes, giving the greatest possible surface area for heat to be exchanged.
The store can roughly be considered as divided in to three, notional, volumes: the upper third for hot water production, the central third as heating and the lower volume as solar capacity.
The heat exchangers are contained in an assembly that provides a thermo-syphon, or "chimney effect". This ensures that the thermal stratification of the store is maintained with the hottest water always at the top, in the hot water producing volume. Solar heated water is delivered directly to the top of the tank and cool water produced, as domestic hot water is heated, is returned directly to the bottom.
This is not sacrosanct and will change depending on the application and also depending on operating conditions. For instance: the solar input heats the store from the top downwards and, at times of high solar gain, can heat the whole volume of the store, giving several days of useful stored heat. Thus, during the heating season solar heat in the central volume can be used to supplement the space heating load, particularly if a low temperature heating system is used. It is also possible to connect a suitable wood burner so that, when there is little solar gain, the whole store capacity can act as a buffer for the appliance.
The SOLUS II has a very high-performance patented insulation system ensuring heat loss is kept at an absolute minimum. The tank has a mirror coating which significantly reduces radiated heat loss, additional air pockets between the container wall and the foam insulation jacket reduce heat loss by conduction to the jacket
insulation value and is ecologically superior to soft and hard PU foams. The specially developed angled connections serve as heat retarders so that the micro circulation and the resulting heat loss at the connection is reduced to a fraction. This means that if the stored heat is not used, static heat loss from the store is very low.
The SOLUS II has an excellent stratification system which simply put means maintaining the hottest water at the top of the tank and the cooler water at the bottom with as little mixing as possible between the different temperature layers. This ensures rapid availability of solar heat and means that the boiler doesn't need to fire up as often therefore saving more energy (and money).
As hot water is demanded, mains cold water passes through a heat exchanger inside the top of the thermal store heating it before it reaches your taps. This method removes any risk of legionella as the water is heated quickly and in a continuous flow, it also means the water inside the thermal store does not require pasteurisation as it is only used inside the tank or round your heating system.
A Solar Thermal System can be connected to a heat exchanger at the bottom of the tank to heat the cool water, this is where it is most effective because of the greater temperature difference between the two fluids. Internal pipework ensures this heat is guided to the top of the tank where it can be used immediately. This means that domestic hot water can be drawn off within minutes of the solar system working, thereby shutting down the boiler much earlier than some conventional buffers
The boiler(s) deliver heat to the centre and top regions of the tank. More than one boiler can be employed, a typical installation might include a wood stove and a gas boiler or a batch burning log boiler. The water within the store is circulated around the heating system and boilers in a sealed system, therefore only sealed system boilers can be used. Newer high efficiency gas, oil, wood logs and pellet stoves fitted with boilers such as the Lenius are ideal
The Consolar system leads the field in the independent consumer goods test for system efficiency and it was also found to have the shortest energy pay back period, which is the amount of time it takes for the solar thermal system to produce the amount of energy that was used in it's manufacture, this is confirmation of the very efficient use of materials and the high performance capability of the system.
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