Experimental study of a small-size vacuum insulated water tank for building applications
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Insulation of thermal energy storage tanks is fundamental to reduce heat losses and to achieve high energy storage efficiency. Although water tanks were extensively studied in the literature, the enhancement of the insulation quality is often overlooked. The use of vacuum insulation has the potential to significantly reduce heat losses without affecting the dimension of the storage system. This paper shows for the first time the results of the heat losses tests done for a 0.535 m3 water tank for residential building applications built with a double wall vacuum insulation. The different tests show that the rate of heat losses strictly depends on the temperature distribution inside the tank at the beginning of the experiment. Compared to a conventional water tank insulated with conventional materials, the U-value of the lateral surface was reduced by almost three times (from 1.05 W/K·m2 to 0.38 W/K·m2) using vacuum insulation. However, the bottom part, which is usually used to place the support parts and the piping, is the critical design part of those tanks acting as a thermal bridge with the ambient and enhancing heat losses.