Hydro has captured its first aluminium tube orders for solar collectors, and taken the lead in Europe in the introduction of aluminium tubes to the solar thermal industry as a replacement for traditional copper tubes.
Hydro won the supply contracts from Solarbayer GmbH in Germany and the Polish company Hewalex, which ordered round-tube solutions for their respective solar thermal systems. These tubes are typically used in flat-plate collectors on rooftops, for residential and industrial utilization.
Hydro is manufacturing the aluminium tubes at its precision tubing plant in Denmark.
Flat-plate collectors are the dominating solar thermal technology in Europe. While aluminium has begun to replace copper as the preferred material for absorber sheet, the first absorbers made with aluminium tubes are now entering the market.
“We offer aluminium alloys that can withstand corrosion over the lifetime expectancy of the systems,” says Salvador Biosca, who is responsible for Hydro’s aluminium precision tubing activities.
In December, Hydro received the results from some of the toughest high-temperature corrosion tests ever performed, together with Solartechnik Prüfung Forschung (SPF) in Switzerland. The tests, which simulated 20 years of use, confirmed that aluminium tubes manufactured in Hydro’s HyLife™ Solar alloy are fit for use in solar thermal systems. This is twice as long as the 10-year standard industry warranty.
Focus on applications, development
Biosca adds that the aluminium alloy is only part of the company’s offer to the solar thermal industry. “We are global with focus on applications and development,” he says.
“We work with customers and potential customers on products and solutions that can be considered innovative, and this is something customers find attractive. With these orders, we hope the solar thermal industry takes a closer look at the potential in aluminium.”
Solarbayer GmbH is active in the supply of renewable energy systems for residential and industrial use, mainly in Germany, the company’s home market. Its product range includes a high-performance flat plate collector that is considered one of the most efficient collectors on the market.
The main product of the Polish company Hewalex is its solar collector KS2000. Several European institutes, including SPF in Switzerland, have tested repeatedly the efficiency and energy performance of the collector, with positive results.