Aluminium Becoming More Popular in Solar Applications

The all-aluminium MPE absorber project, which was a joint entry by Hydro and Savo-Solar, won as best innovation in the category for solar thermal technology. The award was presented on the opening day of Intersolar Europe 2011, the world's largest trade fair for solar technologies.

Hydro's aluminium tubing business sector cooperated on the project together with the Finnish company, contributing materials and expertise. This included the multi-port extrusions (MPEs) and headers, using the HyLife Solar aluminium alloy, which Hydro developed especially for solar applications.

MPE: More solar applications are using Hydro's aluminium tubing.

Hydro's Patrick Jansson says the prize-winning project has several aspects new to the solar thermal market.

"Aluminium is a new material in the field and this application uses a new absorber design with MPE profiles instead of welding round tubes to sheet material. In addition, Savo-Solar has brazed the absorber in a controlled atmosphere brazing furnace, a process not used in solar thermal technology before," he says.

"The biggest innovation is the coating that Savo-Solar adds to help make its product more efficient than competing products in the market."

Savo-Solar claims that its "three-layered nano coating … minimizes the amount of light reflected off from the device, enabling a larger portion of solar energy to be absorbed into the system."

The Intersolar jury recognized product advantages, including:

  • Performance increase
  • Cost reduction
  • Increased recyclability

Second successive year
Intersolar presented awards to the most innovative companies in each of three categories: photovoltaics, solar thermal technology, and photovoltaic production technology.

This is the second straight year that Hydro has claimed one of the trade fair's top prizes. In 2010, Hydro was honored as partner in a project for an aluminium curtain wall with integrated solar thermal collectors - the "CPC Office/System Wicona" façade collector.

Hydro is participating at Intersolar Europe 2011 in Hall B2, Booth 416,
at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre in Munich, Germany, on June 8-10.

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