Piloting and installation news from Solixi test environment; Vantaa Finland.
Latest news on the top, please scroll down to start.
1. First column; solar concentrator
2. Second column; water boiler and controller
3. Third column; The test house
Autumn 2018 C16 Installation; thermal collector, mirror masts and electronics:
September 2018: C16 frame was installed in a weekend.
Robust and light basic for the solar concentrator. The frame is towards south independently of the shape of the roof. Regular roof brackets, 12 legs.
Feb 2018; Controller and heliostats orientation tests are about to start and will be finished on the ground level.
Drawings are updated by Peter, Solixi engineer and D3 expert.
This hinge needs to be changed – stupid mistake in sizing.
In an hour or two the whole C16 can be separated into parts, moved and rebuilt, even in rain and at night. The work can be done by human power, there are no too heavy parts.
A smart alternative in high buildings and roofs is a crane.
Assembly can be done on a flat roof from the beginning to the end.
You do not need an army to move C16, but it is a benefit if you are in a hurry.
The total weight of the C16 bar frame is approximately 100 kg.
The frame is robust to be moved and lifted up also as one unit. The metal triangle structure will withstand all weather conditions.
Heliostats, masts and bars are easy to connect and disconnect.
Remove few bolts and the part is separate.
It took 10 hours to build C16 frame and heliostats (two first timers, second time is much faster). Controller in the middle, motors are not yet installed.
Mirrors installed, heliostats are ready to rotate and in correct angle.
Few holes were in wrong position. Drill was the fast way to fix it, piece of cake for Ossian Jaakkola, Solixi roof installation expert.
Hundreds of holes are in correct place and checked.
Mirror plate installation tests, some improvements will be made to next version.
few hours and the frame is almost ready.
Lets build it up.
Oct 2017 The new patented solar concentrator came to Finland.
Along with the whole Solixi clean energy system; pumps, pipes, manifolds, solar concentrator motors and mirror plates, thermal collectors, controllers etc. carefully chosen and designed parts from many continents.
Sep 2017 it was time to remove the four year old Solixi C16 prototype. In short, it was too strong, expensive and clumsy as protos usually are. Difficult to install, expensive to manufacture. Reciprocating saw was needed to dismantle it.
The prototype did it’s job, a lot of experience and lessons how rooftop solar concentrators should be manufactured. This was the first one in the world!
Panu Salminen, Solixi license manager, in the picture, controlling the operation.
As a result all parts will be changed.
The energy measurements were also early proof of concept. Well, of course we knew mirrors will reflect solar radiation and concentration will raise temperatures rapidly and the heating power is much higher than in regular installations – this was the case on this roof also.
The prototype was a success from the beginning . It heated around the year, from early morning till late afternoon. In the picture two heliostats turned towards the sky to avoid overheating. Prototype automated controller and software played an important role in the tests and measurements.
Oct. 2018: The whole system installed. Six Solixi manifolds, nine Solixi pumps steered by Solixi controller, eleven temperature sensors, Solixi electric resistor, four Solixi heat exchangers, ten modes for functions for seasons, night and day modes etc. Accurate and automated control of all temperatures.
The test system is connected to floor heating and to Solixi C16 Solar Concentrator.
Testings will continue still for few months.
In this test environment only 750 liter water boiler in a small house. The same system can serve much bigger buildings with large Solixi water boilers and with big C4 solar concentrators.
September 2018: Testing software, controller and new parts like electric resistor flow rates:
Electrician was needed for two hours to connect Solixi 12kW electric resistor.
Rest of the installation was done without plumber and electrician.
Plug & play. Low voltage. Flexible pipes.
Fast to modify, expand and change afterwards.
Feb 2018; Solixi IoT data and cloud service is in operation, Microteam has done good work!
Solixi pumps are also digital energy meters. The data is collected into the Solixi Cloud service and is shown in the graph, online. Controller data will be checked by flow rate measurements, temperature sensors and other meters as electricity and energy consumption. Online data makes verification easy and fast. Software R&D is in solid foundation.
Optimising never ends, but we can already feel the benefits; we live in this house, temperatures are now more comfortable than before. I can adjust any settings anywhere by smart phone, view the graphs and change settings. Still some expertise is required as Solixi is an integrated “smart city clean energy system”. Solixi control room and big data professionals will do the energy efficiency optimisation in the future, until this the expert is Jyri Jaakkola.
The system is at the same stand alone, it will run also without internet connection independently.
Internet is used to set parameters (energy price- and weather forecasts, charging schedule, connection to any other IoT solution) and desired temperatures, and of course to analyse the data.
For example, at the moment maximum temperature for floor heating is set to be 36-37°C, floor pump power is set between 35-60% and two heat circuits which are moving heat from the boiler to the heat exchangers are set to use 2-15% of the pumps maximum power. The room temperature is set to 21°C -+ 1°C. If it drops a bit, Solixi will raise flow rate and temperatures (note, both!) few percentages in set limits, and opposite. “Flow off” parameter will slowly shut down pumps automatically if there is not the set minimum temperature range, in other words target temperatures are reached. In case there is not enough power in certain pump, in can be doubled at minimal costs, in few in minutes.
Solixi controller adjust all heat circles all the time online.
Measuring Solixi electric resistor 7,5 kW flow rates. Meter right top. Water is pumped trough the heater at very accurate flow rate, set by Solixi controller and temperature sensors, to get exactly the desired temperature out of it. This time results were not the best possible, seems like the pipe in the heater is too thin. TakeBest, Solixi’s procurement company, is looking for a better product.
Feb 2018: Fully automated IoT floor heating is installed and in operation.
Two heat circuits in row; lower circuit to pump heat to the floor when available, rest of the heat is taken the upper heat circuit. Also floor heating pump is part of the system.
The system started with 3 pumps and heat circuits, in the end there will be 9-11 heat circuits – as many as we can imagine is smart to test and connect to this tiny pilot system.
Flow rates and pump powers are adjusted automatically by the controller and by 11 temperature sensors (16 piece is max for one controller, another controller and there will be 32 etc.).
All pipes and connections are waterproof in 3 bar what is max pressure in this tank.
Installation took only some 4 hours, one mounting rail is on the side of the tank.
Screw pumps to pipes heat exchangers and manifolds – any changes are done in minutes.
It is easy to calculate the maximum capacity in this water energy storage is now at least 50% more than without Solixi intelligence!
Solixi manifolds connected to house floor heating manifolds.
Any Solixi water boiler heat or cold is connected the same way to any water circulation in the building. Because the test house is relatively small, one manifold in & out and one of the 1/4 inlets is enough (left). There are three water circuits to heat the house (right).
Open the channel (red switch), remove air from the pipes and – it is done!
2018: After few hours 6 manifolds are installed in three levels, total 12 options to pump in and 12 options to pump water out from the water boiler. Thousands of possible heat circle options.
Flexible pipes are screwed between two pumps and a heat exhanger.
New IoT controller and a computer and a smartphone for setups.
Flow rate meter in the middle to measure pump power and energy transfer.
Jan 2018; Solixi water boiler basic parts: one standard Solixi pump, manifolds, flexible pipes in various lengths, heat exchangers, temperature sensors. Only few very scalable, compatible and affordable parts. All parts have ½ inch screw and EPDM flat seal in between to make connections waterproof. These are the bricks of witch Solixi heat circuits are built of. For large systems just add more parallel parts.
All connections & disconnections can be done in a minute, often without any tools!
Not much is left, only two regular electric heaters (red cover) were left as a reserve and for further testing. Hot water was left as is, later also these two coils and copper pipes will be removed and replaced by Solixi parts.
Jan 2018; we removed almost all regular parts. No more fixed pipes, solar coils, plenty of controllers, valves, no buttons no screens to adjust this and that manually. No more expensive, complicated and inflexible installation.
We removed also old prototype pumps and controllers.
Water boiler prototype installation 2013;
Regular parts: Steca solar controller (on the right) connected to EC home floor heating motor valve (in the middle) and set up panel (in living room), solar pump package (black) connected to solar coils inside the water boiler and flow rate meter, floor heating pump (green below). Two electric resistors, upper and lower (red cover on the boiler) & timers and electricity meters (two boxes on the top).
Solixi prototype parts: Solixi controller (right top), 23V solar pump (small black).
2013; Water boiler installation under construction, at this moment without any insulation. Made by the best experts and parts we could find.
Part and installation expenses were around 10.000€ total; plumber work and electronic installations are expensive as also pumps, several hundreds each.
Installation time was several weeks.
It is very difficult and expensive to change anything afterwards.
The test house
2018: Visitors and partners checking Solixi:
Is located in Finland, Vantaa. Latitude is 60 degrees. Winters are relatively cold and in Summer it can be quite hot.
Test environment is in use 24/7 all year round, first installations were made year 2005.
For more info of Solixi’s story and history, please click here.
In the house lives Jyri Jaakkola, Solixi CEO and founder.
2013: Testing electronics, software, controllers, pumps, parts, wide range of tests, prototypes and regular prior art devices side by side.
Continuous testings, innovation teams and experience from many decades.
The roof has been in test use since 2012. Solar heat & CSP & PV.
2014; Solar mirror and reflection tests in picture, solar power meter.
In the house there is also;
air to air heat pump (usually off),
electric radiator heaters in every room (usually off),
low temperature floor heating (three 55m water circles) was installed year 2012.
and a fireplace (in use on cold winter evenings only).
The temperatures and conditions can easily be adjusted in various tests.
Storage for Solixi test parts and a workshop; tools, spare parts and various materials are available all the time.
For more info of Solixi’s story and history, please click here.