Using Sunlight to Dry Clothes – Indoors

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Solar energy is a common method of clothes-drying in many parts of the world. However, hanging clothes on a line costs time, rather than money, and depends on the weather. The German company Miele has removed the weather and the extra time from the equation altogether by designing the world’s first solar-heated dryer.

A conventional heat or air dryer uses quite a bit of energy, but, in exchange, it’s quick and super convenient. The Miele system reduces energy use by at least half, according to a study undertaken jointly with the solar heating system manufacturer Solvis, with a corresponding reduction in cost. The results – and the dryer – will be presented at the IFA 2011, and the dryer is available next fall.

The solar dryer can be installed directly into the SolvisMax solar heating system, which places the solar cylinder in the center (as opposed to having the furnace there). Solar energy always takes precedence, with the furnace kicking in only when solar energy is insufficient.

The clothes-drying process is a little more complicated than just letting the heat from the sun evaporate water from clothing, and it is applicable to not only dryers, but other household appliances, including washers and dishwashers.

First, water runs through pipes in solar panels and is heated by the sun. The hot water then flows through a perpendicular pipe with dispenser valves to the solar cylinder. The hot water stays at the top, warm water in the middle, and cool water is at the bottom. Heat for the dryer is supplied directly from the hot water in the top later, and as the water cools it sinks to the bottom.

The low temperature necessary to condense the moisture sucked out of the clothing is present thanks to the cool water at the bottom of the cylinder – which is then pumped back through the solar array and reheated.

So – using the sun to dry clothes regardless of weather? Yes, please!

Source | Picture: Sonnenseite


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