Solar.fin systems

solar fin SMART Energy

Steve Bourne has invented and patented a new solar wall heating and cooling system called Solar.fin. This is for use on facades and roofs with the intention of collecting heat and storing it to heat the building , or radiating heat out to cool it.

The system uses two principles:

  1. the greenhouse effect where heat is trapped behind a glass outer wall to heat the building, and
  2. radiation to the night sky where this process cools the building.

At all times the building remains fully insulated. Furthermore, and critically the storage mass is insulated from the building and only used when needed by moving connectors to the metal reinforcement there by transferring heat or cold to the building.

There are only two moving parts to the system.

  1. a semi circle of insulation that rotates around the storage mass. 
  2. the metal connector

Solar.fin can be combined with most other solar collection systems providing an fully integrated system to give a zero carbon foot print. Pay back is estimated at under 5 years.

The patented connection system also allows existing buildings to be retrofitted so that they can harness the energy hitting existing curtain wall panels either for heating or cooling.

Solar.fin makes the building like a flower opening and closing to suit the weather conditions both in the short and long term.

Smart Energy Solar Fin

Plan of a typical panel

On the left the cores have been heated and are transferring the heat to the interior. The insulation is on the outside of the building.The inner wall controls the heat flow either by fans (convection) or louvers (radiation)
On the right hand side the insulation is on the inner side exposing the heat cores either to the sun to collect heat or to the night sky to radiate heat away and cool the building.

This diagram shows the heat collection process when the cores are exposed to the sun through the glass. The building is totally insulated against the sun and the depth of the façade allows the windows to be set well back limiting solar gain. The outer façade will reach temperatures of over 60 degrees centigrade even on a cold day.

The system allows this excess heat to be vented away if not required. It is also possible to use insulated panels instead of curtains to make the building even more “heat proof”.
At night the core panels can radiate heat to the night sky which on a clear night is really efficient: this is exemplified in deserts where temperatures can drop below freezing. Glass does to some effect reduce this process and so vents can be opened also to allow cool air into the façade and vented out. The nett effect of this process will reduce the temperature of the structure by 3-4 degrees overnight so that by the morning it will be close to normal operating temperatures even if it was hot the day before.


Overall as there are so few operating parts the system is very efficient, making the building react to different conditions either on a diurnal basis or to store energy for several weeks. Linked with other solar and wind technology it will minimize the buildings carbon foot print.


Solar Fin Investors BuildingINVESTORS WELCOME

Solar.fin is looking for investors to help bring this patented system and the proprietary windmill and solar voltaic systems described below to the market.

Example of a solar.fin building with particular site planning that maximizes the use of solar energy. In particular the facades face south-east and south west so more horizontal rays will hit the vertical façade. This building also has integrated solar.fin windmills so that power is harnessed and directly transferred into the buildings electrical power system and possibly sold to local power companies.

Solar Voltaic and wind power

Solar.fin together with Jackson Alternate Energy Technologies have made and bench tested new proprietary solar voltaic and windmill systems that are 4 times more efficient than current systems. What we have concentrated on is the variable power available caused by the sun moving, cloud cover and variable wind speed and looked at the electronics of producing constant power requirements of going into the grid. So much power is simply wasted in achieving this status and this is now solved.

Current issues

Solar voltaics are inherently inefficient as the production process takes sometimes more energy to produce than they can ever make. They are also using silicone which is a finite resource. Typical payback is 20 years and so it is not really that viable, despite all of the hype. Efficiency is only 17-20%. Whilst they have come a long way in recent years until now no-one has solved the inverter conversion.

Windmill farms are in an even worse state and recently farms have been closed in Wales, UK. They are seen as an eyesore and appear not to be rotating that often. So the general public has reacted strongly against them and now planning permissions are really hard to obtain.

The basic issue is that the windmill is currently geared to rotate at a specific speed, so that the energy converts in to a grid friendly wave. This reduces efficiency by 60% on its own. Windmills are currently working at about 20% efficiency overall and their payback is even worse than solar voltaics.

The solution

Modern energy conversion embodies two distinct components. The first is the energy converter which may be either a generator, such as those found in a windmill, or a solar panel. The generators are generally of the permanent magnet type being typically the most efficient. The second is the inverter which transforms the unconditioned raw energy into a controlled form suitable for power grid feeds. These two aspects of energy conversion together form an energy conversion system producing electricity in a form compatible with the power grid. Key considerations are power conversion efficiency and cost benefit.

Jackson Research generators offer the ultimate in performance utilizing the most advanced slotless magnetics technology exhibiting features just slightly ahead of their time.

* All “Slotless” design for the ultimate performance
* Frameless construction
* Impervious to water and condensation
* 3-Phase windings typical

* Rated power from 1 kW up to 10 kW depending on size and rated speeds
* Rated speeds from 80 RPM up to 1500 RPM
* Six overall diameters from 190 mm up to 300 mm
* Internal diameter from 72 mm up to 190 mm
* Voltages available up to 500 Vac
* Zero cogging torque
* No speed multiplier, no gear
* Highest power-to-weight ratio in Direct Drive

Jackson Research Inverters accommodate the variable output of a windmill generator and solar panels. The AC pure sinewave output voltage is regulated and the frequency is constant regardless of the input voltage or frequency.

* Regulated Output from 33% to 100% VDC Input
* Very low third harmonic distortion output
* Switch Selectable Frequency 50/60 Hz
* Network options – RS485/232, CAN

Both the energy converters and the inverters are matched to each other. To get overall system performance, the basic energy converters and the inverters must be designed specifically as matching pairs. How to get this to happen is part of the proprietary technology. We typically achieve +80% system efficiency at the rated operating power range.

Protection of intellectual property

These systems are best characterized as “Bodies of Know How” rather than several gadget patents. Intellectual property in the form of “Trade Secrets” and “Proprietary Know How” is the only viable mechanism capable of protecting intellectual property in a global market. The competition does not have the benefit of years of Research and Development to design and build replicas of our systems. The only remaining option is duplication. The use of embedded systems is one form of protection against this.

Pay back

These solutions are marginally more expensive when in mass production however as they are 4 times more efficient we believe that payback periods of 5-7 years are perfectly achievable making them far more viable.

Innovative Windmill design

DCi has made a new windmill design that integrates totally into any building. They are included in our hotel design but did you see them?

Our approach is to locate the windmills on the edges where wind speeds are at a maximum, pressures highest. The blades are slim and efficient and are concealed, and can be retrofitted on any existing building. This DCi and solar.fin ingenious solution means that wind power can be easily available to everyone directly; most importantly this avoids the massive 50% power loss associated with going into the grid.

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