Monday, January 6, 2014

Building Large Cylindrical Tanks for Solar Heat Storage

Alan Rushforth of Rushforth Solar provides detailed information on building large cylindrical water tanks for storing heat. These tanks are commonly used to store heat generated by an array of solar collectors in space and water heating applications.

One of Alan's tanks
The tanks that Alan makes typically range from a thousand gallons up 4000+ gallons, but the design could certainly be used for smaller tanks that would be typical of residential solar applications.

This design is very structurally efficient, light weight, and material efficient.

The tanks consist of aluminum  sheet wrapped into a cylinder, which is then lined with rigid foam board insulation.  
The outer aluminum sheet wall with layers of insulation inside.

An EPDM liner is then installed to contain the water.

The EPDM tank liner being installed

Alan also includes some very helpful material on building heat exchangers for these large tanks.
Thanks very much to Alan for providing this material!

Stainless steel pipe coil heat exchanger.



  1. Although I salute you on your tank, I have had an EPDM tank before! It leaked as it aged. I am trying to build a high temp fiberglass tank liner. We don't put boiling water into these tanks, and high temp resin is good to just over boiling temps.

  2. Hi Jon,
    How long did the tank last before you had a leak?
    Seems like most people get 10+ years out of them between linings.

    This is a project that uses a homemade fiberglass tank:
    Its a rectangular tank.

    If you build an FG tank, please let us know how it comes out.

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