Friday, March 6, 2009

Solar reflector made from old satellite dish?


I was sitting in line at our local metal recycling center when I noticed a large pile of aluminum satellite dishes waiting for certain doom when I had a moment of clarity...........could these be used as solar water heaters?

The surface of the dish would need to be sprayed with some type of super reflective coating for maximum heat transmission. A coil for the recirculated water could be placed in an insulated housing at the end of the arm, at the focal point of the suns rays.

One problem is that the dish is not made to swivel and follow the sun. Some older dishes, like the eight or ten footers had a motor actuated mechanism to allow the user to select a different satellite-but they are getting hard to find. To overcome this problem, I theorize that an array of these recycled water heaters could be set up with each pointing to a slightly different position along the sun's arc.

In rough numbers, the gain of these antennas is typically around 2 or 3. Not regarding losses, this means that water could be heated to between 80 and 120 degrees on a 40 degree day.

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