Belgian chemical firm Solvay and Inaventa Solar, an innovator in solar thermal collector technology, joined forces in the development of the partner’s new BI70 solar collector. The product leverages Solvay’s Ryton PPS (polyphenylene sulphide) to replace metal, which provides benefits from design flexibility and automated manufacturing to simplified handling, better aesthetic facility integration and a lower carbon footprint, adds Solvay.
“The main reason for replacing metals with polymers in our business is linked to the goal of making solar collectors with a lower carbon footprint,” explains John Rekstad, CEO of Inaventa Solar. “The smooth and efficient collaboration with Solvay has resulted in a material solution that meets all key design and manufacturing requirements of our new solar collector and has accelerated the time-to-market of this sustainable innovation.”
The combination of long-term heat resistance up to 160°C, excellent hydrolytic resistance and processability makes this new impact modified Ryton PPS compound the preferred solution for the solar collector’s thermal absorber sheet, according to Els De Meersman, Solvay Customer Technical Development Engineer. Compared to metals, it facilitates a more flexible and efficient, automated manufacturing process for lightweight solar panels that save energy even before they are installed, by simplifying transport as well as handling on the construction site. The polymer also helps architects achieve a more seamless and aesthetic integration of the solar collectors into the roofs and façades of buildings, where they can replace other cladding components as active energy providers.
“Our partnership with Inaventa Solar is a great example of how we are supporting a more sustainable economy by enabling a lower carbon footprint along the value chain through material solutions that enable weight reduction and more efficient large-volume production,” says Joachim Vercauteren, Key Account Manager for Solvay’s Materials segment. “The result of this strong and focused collaboration is a custom-tailored extrusion blend of Ryton PPS combining high-performance in-use characteristics with cost-effective processability for large structured solar panels.”
Following initial installations at farms, schools, commercial and residential buildings in Norway and other Nordic countries, the new Inaventa Solar collector BI70 will be available worldwide.