Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Tankless Solar Water Heating System

Technology #cu16342

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Researchers
Julian Chengjun Chen
Managed By
Richard Nguyen

This technology is a tankless solar water heating system that uses bottomless glass vacuum tubes to generate hot water for residential and commercial use.

Unmet Need: Solar water heating without a large, bulky storage tank

Solar water heating is a promising alternative to traditional water heating systems that use electricity or fossil fuels to heat water. Driven by a need for environmentally-friendly energy solutions, solar water heating systems are gaining popularity, particularly in emerging markets like China. However, most systems require cumbersome insulating storage tanks that are difficult to store, aesthetically unattractive, and can require tedious maintenance. As such, there is a need for a solar water heating system with a tankless design.

The Technology: Tankless solar water heater efficiently generates hot water in a compact design

This solar water heater uses bottomless glass vacuum tubes as both solar radiation collectors and thermal energy storage devices. The vacuum tubes act as excellent insulators for periods of low solar radiation, such as after sunset or on rainy days. These tubes also act as tankless water storage, and when hot water is needed, cold water is sent to the vacuum tubes to acquire heat from the energy storage medium inside the vacuum tubes, and water of the desired temperature is delivered. As this technology relies on the simple physics of heat exchange in water, no electricity is required. Additionally, the lightweight, low-profile design is inexpensive to produce, easy to install, and requires less maintenance than tank storage systems. In sum, this technology provides an efficient tankless solar water heating system for eco-friendly generation of hot water.

Applications:

  • Water heating
  • Solar energy storage
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial water systems

Advantages:

  • Tankless water storage
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Does not require additional electricity for operation
  • Scalable to commercial and industrial uses

Lead Inventor:

C. Julian Chen, Ph.D.

Patent Information:

Patent Pending (US 20160146509)

Related Publications:

Tech Ventures Reference:

  • IR CU16060, IR CU16327, IR CU16342

  • Licensing Contact: Richard Nguyen