KEY INNOVATIONS

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SEAMLESS INTEGRATION OF SOLAR POWER WITH EXISTING HYDRONIC DISTRIBUTION

The VoltAir® system converts the FREE electricity generated by the solar panels (PV) into thermal energy by using air-to-water heat pumps.

The hot or cold water from the heat pumps flows into buffer storage tanks. These water tanks act as the systems’ batteries, storing solar energy for use after sundown.

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AIR-TO-WATER HEAT PUMP

I​n the simplest terms, a heat pump is an all-in-one heating and cooling unit. ​It extract​s​ warmth from the air, then moves it inside (to heat the home's interior) or outside (to cool the home's interior). That requires a lot less energy than traditional heating systems — like boilers​ or furnaces  — ​making​ air-to-​w​ater ​heat ​pumps highly efficient​.​

 

​In a heating mode IN WINTER: An air-to-water heat pump ​uses a refrigerant to convert the ambient cold air outside the building ​to make hot water to heat spaces using radiators, forced-air systems, or hydronic floor boards.


​In a cooling mode IN SUMMER: An air-to-water heat pump ​uses a refrigerant to convert the ambient hot air outside the building ​to make chilled water to cool spaces using forced-air systems.

 

BUFFER WATER STORAGE TANKS ARE THE SYSTEM'S BATTERIES 

The solar panels transform sunlight to electricity. The air-to-water heat pumps transform the electrical energy to thermal energy in the form of heated or chilled water. That water is then stored in high-efficiency water storage tanks, ready to respond to the heating or cooling needs of the residents. In essence, the storage tanks are the solar batteries.

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24/7
SOLAR-POWERED HEATING OR COOLING

Since sunlight is available only during daytime, we design the solar panel array to produce plenty of  heated or chilled water during the day. The water that is stored in the buffer tanks will comfortably serve the building's needs overnight.

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HEATING SYSTEM: HOT WATER OR STEAM RADIATORS

The VoltAir supplies hot water to hydronic systems featuring radiators, or to a steam boiler when a building is heated with steam.  

1 -   Solar panels power the air-to-water (ATW) heat pump.

2 -   That heat pump heats refrigerant fluid and sends it to the heat exchanger.

3 -   The heat exchanger transfers the high-temperature heat to the water.

4 -   The hot water is stored in high-efficiency buffer tanks. Multiple tank storage ensures that plenty of hot water is available at night, when the solar power is unavailable.

5 -  The heat is distributed through radiators or baseboard heaters.

6 -  A separate, dedicated piping circuit serves the domestic hot water needs of the building. This portion of the system operates year-round, while the space-heating elements are operational only during cold months.

Considerations for steam systems:

The VoltAir does not produce steam. Rather, it raises the temperature of the steam system’s return condensate water.

 
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WINTER OPERATION:​

FORCED-AIR SYSTEM

Central air systems (sometimes called forced-air) are often found in newer residential buildings, hotels and office buildings. They are designed to heat and cool interiors.

1 -   Solar panels power the air-to-water (ATW) heat pump.

2 -   That heat pump heats refrigerant fluid and sends it to the heat exchanger.

3 -   The heat exchanger transfers the heat to the circulating water.

4 -   The hot water is stored in high-efficiency buffer tanks. Multiple storage tanks  ensure that plenty of hot water is available at night, when the solar power is unavailable.

5 -  A heat exchanger uses the stored hot water to transfer heat to the refrigerant in the air-conditioning system's coils prior to venting the heated air via the ducts and vents.

6 -  A separate, dedicated piping circuit serves the domestic hot water needs of the building. This portion of the system operates year-round, while the space-heating elements are operational only during cold months.

 
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SUMMER OPERATION:​

CENTRAL-AIR SYSTEM

Central air systems (sometimes called forced-air) are often found in newer residential buildings, hotels and office buildings. They are designed to heat and cool interiors.

1 -   Solar panels power the air-to-water (ATW) heat pump.

2 -   That heat pump chills refrigerant fluid and sends it to the heat exchanger.

3 -   The heat exchanger cools the circulating water.

4 -   The cold water is stored in high-efficiency buffer tanks acting as a cold water storage battery.

5 -  A heat exchanger uses the stored cold water to chill the refrigerant in the central air conditioning system coils prior to venting the cool air via the ducts and vents.

6 -  A separate, dedicated piping circuit serves the domestic hot water needs of the building. This portion of the system operates year-round, while the space-heating elements are operational only during cold months.

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EFFICIENT
FLEXIBLE SCALABLE

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MODULAR DESIGN

 

Because buildings vary widely, we designed the system to be highly modular and very flexible. It consists of multiple smaller components that can be easily configured into a variety of available spaces, and will not require complex construction. 

Moreover, by using multiple components, the system can follow demand for heating or cooling very accurately, resulting in lower energy use. For example, we use multiple water tanks for water storage instead of just one or two very large units (most older buildings use one boiler). This way, during times when there’s low demand, only a couple of small tanks are called upon in response, instead of a huge boiler. During hours when demand rises, additional tanks come online.