Arizona: Solar Pre-heating for Sports Drinks

It is one of the world's most efficient solar thermal installations: the solar thermal pre-heating system, which Gatorade, a subsidiary of the US-American soft drink producer PepsiCo, had installed this year in a factory in Arizona, US. The company responsible for designing the Arizonan installation was the Austrian manufacturer S.O.L.I.D. GmbH. “We are confident that the installation will reach a specific annual yield of 1,200 kWh/m2,” Harald Blazek from S.O.L.I.D GmbH's Project Development department announced.

Beverages for athletes produced with solar-heated water: Gatorade, a subsidiary of the US-American soft drink producer PepsiCo, has run a solar thermal pre-heating installation since January 2009. It is predicted to have extremely high yields of 1,200 kWh/m2 and year which could turn out to be the most effective solar thermal installation worldwide.

  • Blazek states three major reasons that would allow such an extraordinary yield prediction:

    • high radiation at the Arizonan site of 5.8 kWh/m2 and day in average (on tilted panel)
    • heating demand at low temperatures with a maximum of 35 °C (95 °F)
    • installation design optimized for the above-mentioned frame conditions

    A total of 85 S.O.L.I.D. flat plate collectors of the type Gluatmugl GS 10.5 with a collector surface of 893 m² (9,605 ft²) pre-heat fresh city water to a maximum temperature of 35 °C (95 °F). “The system has several integrated safety features to guarantee that this temperature will never be exceeded,” explains Blazek. Because right after the solar system, there lies the “Reverse Osmosis” water cleaning facility – higher temperatures could damage it severely.

    The system was set up by S.O.L.I.D’s US-subsidiary S.O.L.I.D USA under the guidance of its CEO, John Ellers. In cooperation with one experienced technician from Austria, the installation was completed within a 3-month period.

    Support from the federal solar tax credits and local support in Arizona in cooperation with Salt River Project (SRP), the local energy provider, allowed the installation of this landmark project which is one of the largest process heat installations worldwide today.

    The systems began to operate at the 31st December 2008. Their respective monitoring device will be implemented this summer, because of final works like insulation which have been installed in spring 2009. This means that measurement results confirming the high yield will be available in summer 2010 at the earliest.

    More information: S.O.L.I.D. GmbH:

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