The Fluent Pillar is a solar thermal collector that offers an independent vertical form, in order to overcome many of the siting limitations that are associated with panels The vertical form extends solar system siting potential in general. The vertical form gives extra versatility for physical and visual integration. It’s versatile sculptural form offers both a dramatic architectural statements and sensitive integration.
Fluent Pillars have an omni-directional, volumetric absorber element. This method of absorption means that the collector’s orientation is not critical to its output, meaning that it can be mounted in a number of different ways. e.g. On a roof, or on plinths near to the host building, or it can be mounted on posts high above the ground.
The Fluent Pillar is ideally suited to low temperature high thermal mass applications such as domestic water/space heating, pool heating, and under floor heating.
The working principles are simple, Fluent Pillars comprise two glass containers, mounted concentrically into a base, which, in turn, can be mounted onto a plinth or a pole. The chamber formed between the two glass components and the base, is evacuated to form a partial vacuum, this acts as insulation.
The inner glass chamber contains a fluid, which acts concurrently as the absorbing element and heat transfer medium; this is plumbed through a heat exchange system in a closed loop. Circulation is achieved by PV powered pumps which provide variable flow.
The fluid can be pigmented with a variety of colours and optionally with micaceous powder, which creates a billowing effect. This acts as a visual indicator of the amount of energy being absorbed by the collector. Giving the appearance of a calm billowing effect at low energy levels and a vigorous flaming effect at high energy levels.
The design also gives many opportunities for multi-purpose uses. The omni-directional energy pick-up opens the potential for using landscape features such as hard groundworks and structures to act as light concentrators, The output of the collectors can be boosted by over 200% in this way. This aspect of the Fluent Pillar allows new creative applications for designers and architects. For example use of large sweeping parabolic structures, or the potential for seating that also acts as a light concentrator; Or even placement amidst a water feature. The possibilities are endless.
Each collector can be altered in the vertical dimension giving further versatility. The output capacity and the visual character can be finely adjusted by altering the height, proportions and quantity.
The Fluent Pillar of particular value to people who live in conservation areas and to those who live in buildings of historical interest and/or architectural significance. It is also ideal for use in dual function scenarios where it can be combined with outdoor lighting. Another major usage will be heating swimming pools where concern for aesthetics and the desire to maximise ground space are high priorities.