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Comment Heat Transfer

Bio-based heat-transfer fluid for solar-thermal applications

By Scott Jenkins |

A recently introduced heat-transfer fluid is made from corn sugar, rather than from petroleum. Known as So-Blu, the fluid was developed through a joint effort of Dupont Tate & Lyle BioProducts (Loudon, Tenn.; www.duponttateandlyle.com) and SolarUS Inc. (Branford, Conn.; www.solarus.com), a producer of solar thermal energy equipment. The fluid is based on DuPont Tate & Lyle’s bio-based 1,3 propanediol, known as Susterra, as opposed to petroleum-derived propylene glycol, which is used in conventional solar thermal systems. According to Steve Elkin, CEO of SolarUS, the So-Blu product was designed specifically for the extreme temperature variations observed in modern solar-thermal energy systems. “So-Blu can withstand temperatures up to 350°F without breaking down, but also shows improved performance as an antifreeze,” he says. Regular glycols start to form slush at –10°F, whereas So-Blu doesn’t form slush until –30°F, Elkin notes. Also, Elkin says that while glycol products require stainless-steel and copper equipment, the So-Blu fluid can be used safely with aluminum and other alloys The new bio-based heat-transfer fluid formulation also includes corrosion inhibitors and additives to decrease friction, thereby…
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