Depending on their location and prevalent climatic condition, solar thermal collectors have to bear high climatic and mechanical stresses. Besides high temperatures, UV-light, wind, snow, humidity or saline and corrosive atmospheres can be causes for a rapid degradation of materials and components.

Despite these well-known obstacles for solar thermal installations in extreme climates, the aging processes with regard to different climatic and operational conditions are only poorly analyzed. To qualify and enhance the durability of solar thermal systems and improve the export opportunities on a world-wide scale, the development of suitable accelerated aging tests is necessary. SpeedColl is dedicated to the work on these issues.

The project’s work programme includes 14 scientific work packages and covers three key areas:

  • Exposition of collectors and components (transparent covers, absorbers, reflectors, sealants) at locations with extreme climates.
  • Accelerated testing of collectors and components (transparent covers, absorbers, reflectors, sealants).
  • Development of accelerated durability tests

With the newly developed aging tests, it should be possible to draw conclusions about the development of the thermal performance during the life-time of a collector and its yield in different climate zones. Further, the detection of possible weaknesses before market launch as well as a differentiation between high-end, long-lasting quality products and inferior “cheap” products can be accomplished. Accelerated aging tests are therefore a valuable tool for further improvements in quality management for both consumer and industry. In addition to the development of aging test procedures for solar collectors, SpeedColl actively supports European standardization activities in the area of thermal solar technologies.