Solar Water Heater Design PBL Project
Instead of consuming fossil fuels such as natural gas or fuel oil to heat water, which is something we need in day to day life (from taking showers to cooking our food), we can use free, limitless energy of the sun to heat our water. A solar hot water system is a zero-emissions, zero-waste solution to the problem of environmentally destructive water-heating methods.
In this project, students will work on developing a solar water heater which they will design and build and test. Their goal is to reach the highest possible temperature of the water within the bottle contained within the solar water heater. They will then make changes to their solar water heater and record the changes each modification had, either it raised the temperature of reduced it.
Project Learning Outcomes:
• Learn how pressures, temperatures, and flow rate affect a solar-heated circulating hot water heating systems while it is in operation.
• Build a model "real world" solar-heated hot water heating systems.
• Analyze different solar hot water systems under different conditions.
Lesson 1 - Introduction to Solar Gain Systems : In this lesson students will learn about the two types of solar water heating systems, related design principals in sustainability and strategies, and current technology and systems in industry today which focus on reducing our dependency on conventional methods in heating water.
Lesson 2 - Elements of Passive Solar Design: In this lesson students will learn about the factors and design considerations which must be taken into account to create maximum efficiency with respect to passive solar (direct gain) systems, in this case specifically solar water heating.
Lesson 3 - Building A Solar Water Heater : In this lesson students will identify the characteristics of solar heated water design and installation process by constructing one in small groups. They will better understand the components necessary for efficient solar water heating systems.
Lesson 4 - Solar Water Heater Experiment: In this lesson students will be able to critically think through the process of passive solar water heating and offer up their own insightful suggestions on how to alter elements of the system to create a more efficient system with respect to solar gain. Students audit and analyze their solar water heaters and put together a presentation to identify the characteristics of successful solar heated water design and installation.
This unit is brought to you by Mina Greas with support from the CTE Online curriculum leadership team and detailed coordination provided by Team Lead Laura Gallardo.