Solar Hot Air – Project #2

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Here is the second project in my renewable energy ‘series’. I enjoy making mini scalable examples of how one can harness nature, the sun, wind, etc to power or otherwise provide conveniences to life that we would otherwise get / power from the electrical grid or by burning fossil fuels.

This particular project is solar hot air. Its basically a cardboard box, lined with aluminum foil, stacked with pop cans that have had their bottoms cut off (for airflow vertically), spray painted flat black with high temp bbq paint. In direct sunlight, the cans heat up, transferring the suns energy to the air inside them. I then put a solar panel on top ($10 to $20 from Canadian tire, 10 if you can find them on sale) that powers a 1 watt fan (this was expensive, $16 from Radio Shack, or for those younger ones, ‘The Source CC’). The fan next time will be scavenged from old computer towers though, no need to spend money on this stuff, I just didn’t have anything small enough for my 1 watt panel to run it. The fan is plugged into a bulk head (not seen in this video as I added it later) which concentrates  / draws hot air from all 3 can columns in the box. So the fan provides the forced flow pulling cold air through the bottom, up through the cans.

When the sun is out, the cans heat up and the panel powers the fan creating FREE solar heat. When the sun is not strong enough, and less to no heat is being produced anyways, the fan shuts off because of lack of solar power. Its a great little automated example of how one can harness the earths energy with little maintenance and materials.

The plan here is to scale this up to two 4ft by 8 ft solar panels that I obtained free from a guy who had no use for them, they were old, and originally for hot water so they have a pipe running through them. The solar box though is all i need. Once these two boxes are up and running, I should be able to tangible reduce our heating bill, by how much, I’m not sure yet. Regardless, every little bit helps and this is free heat. I’m fascinated with the FREE stuff you can get from the earth with little work. It just takes doing, scrounging, and some learning through youtube vids and websites. So there ya go, watch, enjoy.

Not sure what project #3 will be yet… maybe a micro hydro turbine? đŸ˜€ I’d love to try that!

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