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High Temperature Dewar-Type Evacuated-Tube Solar Collectors

University of California System: University of California, Merced
posted on 05/23/2011

Non-tracking solar collectors for heating working fluids are potentially valuable in a wide range of applications, including heating, cooling, and power generation via organic Rankine cycles (ORCs). However, conventional collector designs work at relatively low temperatures, usually heating the working fluids to no more than 120ºC. For most applications, higher temperatures would be much more useful.

Suggested Uses

A licensee of these inventions is currently commercializing these technologies for various uses, potentially including any application requiring working fluids heated up to 180ºC where the use of glass materials in fixed locations is acceptable. This might include thermally-driven engines (especially ORCs), absorption chillers, steam plants, and water heating facilities.


By overcoming the temperature limitation of previous non-tracking collector designs, the Dewar-type solar collectors enable one to achieve high temperatures without resorting to costly tracking systems.

Innovation Details

Detailed Description

A research team that includes a University of California, Merced (UC Merced) scientist has invented a novel approach solar collector technologies based on absorption of sunlight on a surface, such a copper fin with a selective coating, contained within an evacuated glass tube. The evacuated tube works like a Dewar flask to prevent the loss of longer-wavelength heat from the absorptive surface, making it possible to efficiently heat the system to higher temperatures, with 180ºC being feasible in some designs. Various methods can be used to transfer heat from the absorptive surface to the working fluid, including radiative transfer via heat pipes and conductive transfer via circulation of the working fluid in U-tubes or counter-flow tubes within the absorber element.

File Number: 19665 

IP Protection

Patent Number(s): 2009/0139515, 7971587
Copyright: ©2011-2015, The Regents of the University of California

License Online

This innovation currently is not available for online licensing. Please contact Peter Schuerman at University of California System: University of California, Merced for more information.

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February 11, 2009

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