The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Prior-art large scale photovoltaic power converters essentially use three types of heat removal systems, forced air convection, liquid cooling or a combination of the two. In the forced convection case, fans are required to move ambient air across power converter heat producing or heat-sinking components such as semiconductor devices coupled to heatsinks, magnetic components and power capacitors. In the case of prior-art liquid cooling, fans are used to remove heat from a liquid-to-air heat exchanger. In all cases, the ambient air carries particulate contamination that over time decreases the efficiency of the power converter heat-removal systems. Air filters are not a viable option because of maintenance costs as filters cannot be replaced after every dust storm. Cooling fans are typically the least reliable component in a power conversion system and fan replacement is categorically the highest maintenance cost item over the life of the power converter.
"The present invention is a liquid cooled photovoltaic power converter with a liquid-to-earth heat exchanger. With the invention, removal of heat from primary power converter heat sources is accomplished without cooling fans or ambient air exchange in order to eliminate associated particulate contamination and maintenance issues."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The preferred embodiment of the invention is a liquid cooled photovoltaic power converter with a liquid-to-earth heat exchanger. A number of closely related invention variants are disclosed including heat removal from heat producing components within the power converter using; liquid cooled chill plates for primary, conducted heat removal, liquid-to-air heat exchangers for secondary heat removal by forced convection and combinations of both. In the case of liquid-to-air heat exchangers, two sub-variants are disclosed, (i) an open system where a fan is used to draw ambient air through a geo-cooled, liquid-to-air heat exchanger to pre-cool ambient air before directing this air over secondary, less contaminate sensitive heat producing power converter components, like filter chokes and transformers and (ii) a closed system where a fan is used to circulate air inside the power converter enclosure through a geo-cooled, liquid-to-air heat exchanger and over secondary heat producing power converter components to reduce component and interior enclosure temperatures. In the case of the closed system, an opportunity exists to thermally insulate the skin of the power converter from radiant solar gain.
"The preferred embodiment of the invention uses a large coolant reservoir to provide mass thermal storage wherein the temperature of the coolant is raised during the solar day when the power converter is producing power and then lowered during the night by heat exchange though a sub-grade heat exchanger.
"The geo-cooling solution is a natural fit for large solar power plants where a large land area is available for the sub-grade heat exchanger and where piping for the heat exchanger can be place in the same trenches as the photovoltaic system wiring conduits. In addition, metallic heat exchanger piping can serve double-duty as the photovoltaic system ground grid.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of the most basic form of the invention as a geo-cooled solar photovoltaic power conversion apparatus.
"FIG. 2 shows a geo-cooled solar photovoltaic power conversion apparatus with two closed liquid cooling loops and a liquid coolant reservoir.
"FIG. 3 shows a geo-cooled solar photovoltaic power conversion apparatus with three closed liquid cooling loops, a liquid coolant reservoir and a supplemental closed forced-convection cooling subsystem within the power converter enclosure.
"FIG. 4 shows a geo-cooled solar photovoltaic power conversion apparatus with three cooling liquid cooling loops, a liquid coolant reservoir where coolants in the three loops and the reservoir mix freely and a supplemental closed forced-convection cooling subsystem within the power converter enclosure.
"FIG. 5 shows a geo-cooled solar photovoltaic power conversion apparatus with three closed liquid cooling loops, a liquid coolant reservoir and a supplemental open forced-convection cooling subsystem within the power converter enclosure."
For additional information on this patent application, see: West,
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Photovoltaic,
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