A novel flat heat pipe design has been developed and utilised as a building envelope and thermal solar collector with and without (PV) bonded directly to its surface. The design of the new solar collector has been validated through full scale testing in Cardiff, UK where solar/thermal, uncooled PV and PV/T tests were carried out on three identical systems, simultaneously. The tests showed a solar/thermal energy conversion efficiency of around 64% for the collector with no PV and 50% for the system with the PV layer on it. The effect of cooling on the solar/electrical energy conversion efficiency was also investigated and an efficiency increase of about 15% was recorded for the cooled PV system due to the provided homogenous cooling. The new flat heat pipe solar collector is given the name “heat mat” and, in addition to being an efficient solar collector type, it is also designed to convert a building envelope materials to become energy-active. A full size roof that utilise this new building envelope material is reported in this paper to demonstrate the way this new collector is integrated as a building envelope material to form a roof. A thermal absorption test, in a controlled environment, from the ambient to the heat mat with no solar radiation is also reported. The test has proved the heat mat as an efficient thermal absorber from the ambient to the intermediate fluid that deliver the heat energy to the heat pump system.
- flat heat pipe
- heat mat