Fluid Solar will bring renewable solar thermal energy and low impact living spaces to one third of the worlds population in thirty years.

 

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Fluid Solar House

Fluid Solar House is a multi-use off-grid office building; housing the Innovation Grid, a smart tech and renewable energy coworking and incubator space as well as Fluid Solars' remarkable proof of concept technology. 

For more information about coworking, industry mentorship and start-up support, please visit Innovation Grid

For more information about tenancies, please download the following documents or contact us enquiries@fluidsolarthermal.com

Tenancies available        Expression of interest

Proof of concept: A solar thermal powered building 

Fluid Solar House, a large commercial custom designed office building across 4 floors, has been completed with a range of Fluid Solar technologies, including a large under carpark thermal bank, renewable energy-powered heating, cooling and ventilation system and innovative solar thermal panel collectors. Its total off the grid capacity makes it the first of its kind in the world.

Technical Specifications

Fluid Solar technology will supply around 70 percent of demand for the building energy demand using a 150kW rooftop concentrating solar thermal collector array and a 4200kWh thermal energy storage system. Detailed energy modelling predicts that the remaining electrical energy demand (30 percent) can be met by a 70kW rooftop PV and a 120kWh (effective discharge capacity) battery pack together with a 10 by 2kW (peak @8 m/s) wind turbine. 

Passive design features ensure Fluid Solar House is comfortable, efficient and healthy - this building specifically incorporates a variety of smart building technologies managing and reducing energy demand. If there is any energy shortfall, the final few hours of energy demand each year can be met by winding back in-building electrical energy use by means of the Smart Building energy consumption controls, or commissioning an 8kW gas powered co-generation system (600cc, ~60c/kWh equivalent). This gas co-generation unit, while very modest in size, will guarantee 100% uptime for the building regardless of extended cloudy windless periods that might occur occasionally.

Depending on any increases in grid electrical cost payback in estimated at 5-7 years. Where connections to the grid by PV and battery backup systems are penalised by electricity retailers (as in SA) by very large standing connection charges, payback is even quicker and can be zero payback time in some instances – the system is cheaper to run from the first year, after depreciation and STC rebates.

System life is estimated at 18-20 years before a substantial capital refresh is required. The off-grid electrical technology is all industry standard, tried and true, deep cycle lead batteries, standard PV array, standard off grid inverter technology with autostart for backup co-generation.

The key to success is the massive thermal battery capacity of the building – around 4200kWh, permitting building heating and cooling systems to run for days or even weeks during adverse conditions, largely on stored thermal energy. Latent heat rejection is by evaporation of stored rainwater, with no demand for town water to meet cooling requirements.

While modern alternative battery technologies all hold promise, none has a track record long enough to remove risk from the investment equation and each has significant drawbacks. Lithium technology while trending strongly, has substantial fire control and safety considerations that add to the total install cost, the estimated life may be 60% after 3000 cycles (ten years) meaning payback may only just be achieved before battery replacement is required.

Lithium batteries will be utilised as part of the overall energy system. During sunny periods, excess energy will be available for electric car charging. It is estimated that over the 20+ year life cycle of the energy system, in excess of 7,000,000 kilometres of surplus power could be stored and utilised in electric vehicles parked at the site and charged during the day. Two Tesla car charging points have already been installed. 

Saltwater battery storage technology appears attractive from a safety point of view but where high charge and discharge rates are required, the effective storage capacity can be as little as 50% of rated capacity (a similar but less important effect is seen with lead acid batteries).

If you would like to visit Fluid Solar House for a tour, please contact enquiries@fluidsolarthermal.com .