Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard Wilk




water, heat, collectors, evacuated, tube


The increased severity and frequency of extreme climate events are major issues that need to be acknowledged. One of the most important problems caused by these events is providing relief for the victims. The goal of this project is to develop, construct and test a portable solar energy conversion system that utilizes solar PV and thermal conversion technology to provide both electricity and clean water. The system is also easily deployed, transportable by pick-up truck, and able to withstand harsh environmental conditions. The system disinfects water by pasteurization and ultraviolet filtration. Water pasteurization is achieved by utilizing a water storage tank, controlled flow water circulation, evacuated tube heat pipe solar thermal collectors, and a heat exchanging manifold to heat water to 70̊C. The system also uses two 100W photovoltaic modules to charge an 18 Ah battery to power the system and provide emergency electricity, to power pumps, lights, and other small electrical loads. The heat output of the evacuated tube collectors was experimentally determined using a scaled model system. With this heat output value, the final system was designed and constructed. The demo system determined the heat transfer rate through a manifold containing four 16” evacuated tube collectors as well as the effectiveness of insulation on a water storage tank. From the results of the demo system experiments it was found that a manifold containing four 16” evacuated tube collectors could produce about 100W of heat and a 10̊C temperature increase over a heating period of three hours. It was also found that the insulation reduced heat loss significantly. The findings from the initial experiments led to the conclusion that the final design must incorporate a larger manifold with four 78” evacuated tube collectors and more thorough insulation throughout the system in order to achieve the desired final temperature of 70̊C. The final system was not able to pasteurize water but was able to achieve a water storage tank temperature of 61°C and hold this temperature for one hour.