The Austrian technology company SUNLUMO is currently at work on getting a low-cost, plastic-based “One World Solar Collector” to the market. This resource-conserving alternative to conventional collectors is free of metals such as copper and aluminium, and is particularly suitable for use in developing and emerging countries.
The all-plastic collector won the German Ecodesign prize in 2015. It has no adhesive joints, so the various components and layers can be separated cleanly by material category at the end of the product‘s service life. The polymers employed keep the collector‘s weight down; it is easy to install and low in cost. The various components of the One World Solar Collector are currently in production at external suppliers‘ locations in Italy, Austria and Germany; a pre-production run will be assembled in Austria.
To minimize production costs SUNLUMO is developing an approach to automating collector fabrication – from processing the plastic granulate via fabricating the components all the way to assembling the complete solar collector. In future SUNLUMO aims to provide turnkey production facilities for fabricating the new collector. To match the individual customer‘s requirements, facilities with production capacities between 100 and 350 MWth can be supplied. SUNLUMO supervises production from facility startup to the final product, including training, functional testing and quality control.
Research for other plastic components
Research is currently in progress on components for all-plastic pump subassemblies. The aim here is to make low-cost all-plastic solar systems feasible.