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Renewable energy

Solar thermal 04: Advanced solar water heater with pressed tray thermal collector

Renewable energy commercialisation in Australia

The technologically advanced EP365 solar water heater can operate in all climatic conditions and geographic locations.

Solahart Industries Pty Ltd, supported by a $350,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, is producing the EP365, a "pressed tray" type solar water heater that is suitable for installation in all climatic conditions and geographic locations.

Previous technology employed operating conditions that limit pumped water heaters to locations where water quality is good and ambient temperatures do not fall below zero on more than two to three instances per year.

The design of the EP365 system is such that these conditions do not present any problem. Additionally, the highly efficient Solahart 'K Oyster' collector, developed under a previous $200,000 Renewable Energy Industry Program grant, can be used to provide a solar water heater of this type with efficiency second to none. The collector's marketability is improved by utilising fully press formed aluminium casing which is highly weatherproofed for the European environment, a colour finish option and a very stylish design.

Manufacturing of the EP365 system commenced in September 2001, providing employment for 18 process workers in the Solahart factory located in Welshpool, Western Australia. An additional 18 jobs will be developed in the distribution, sales, installation and service sectors. The project plan is for the production of 2000 systems in the first full year, with a projected growth rate of 20 per cent per year.

Each EP365 system has the potential to produce the equivalent of up to 7,100kWh of hot water energy per year (a saving of 8.9 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission per year).

Solahart will subject first-off-production systems to evaluation and rating trials in Australia, Japan, USA and Europe. These programs complete the approval processes required for EP365 acceptance into the numerous rebate programs in these countries, clearing the way for export sales.

The EP365 storage tank module consists of a 325 litre vitreous enamel lined potable water storage tank surrounded to 360 with a 15 litre mantle heat exchanger system. At the top of the storage tank and sharing the tank wall is a 25 litre closed circuit drain back tank where the closed circuit fluid is stored when the system is idle. To complete the system there is a pump to circulate the closed circuit fluid, a flow control valve to optimise the closed circuit flow rate and a drain back control valve to facilitate the drain back function when operation ceases. An electronic device monitors the collector and storage tank temperatures and then operates the circulation pump accordingly.

The mantle heat exchanger technology used in the EP365 is the basis of all Solahart closed circuit solar water heater systems and has proven field service in excess of 20 years, with approximately one million installations worldwide.

During April 2001 Solahart launched the EP365 to the European market through the Solahart stand at the ISH Fair held in Frankfurt, Germany. The ISH Fair is the largest plumbing products fair held in Europe, and from this release Solahart was able to establish credibility in the European market, generating the first production orders.

Solahart is an established exporter, selling over half of its output in international markets. The Solahart office in the USA has taken the first container load of systems. By the end of 2001, EP365 systems were installed in Australia, USA, Japan, Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

All Solahart products are designed and manufactured in Western Australia.

For more information please contact

Mike Roberts
Solahart Industries Pty Ltd
112 Pilbara Street
Welshpool WA 6106
Tel (08) 9458 6211
Fax (08) 9356 5090
Email Mike.Roberts@solahart.com.au
Internet www.solahart.com.au

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