Recycled Concentrated Solar Heater

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An old water heater was donated to my high school's pre-engineering class. After watching an episode of "The Cosmos," in which a farm of parabolic solar concentrators were used to heat water in order to power a steam engine that irrigated water, I was inspired to recycle the old water heater and turn it into a concentrated solar water heater.

Project goal

Recycle an old household water heater and an old school chair and turn it into a solar water heater

Project steps:

  1. Research solar heater designs
  2. Model full scale design
  3. Model and build a 3-D printed small scale prototype
  4. Test effectiveness of design based on prototype
  5. Build full scale solar concentrator


Before starting to design my concentrated solar water heater I researched what some other people hade made.

There were two main designs I found:

  • Parabolic concentrator
    • Commercially available parabolic concentrated solar food cooker for camping
    • DIY parabolic concentrated solar water heater[1]
    • Industrial parabolic concentrator farms to power steam engines (like the one I saw on "the Cosmos")
  • Flat plate collector
    • DIY flat plate solar collector [1]
    • Commercially available flat plate solar collector for home use


My original plan was to cut the end off of the water heater and the cut it down its length opposite of a flat spot it had.


Final Design

Describe your design here.

Next level heading

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Item Cost
plastic filament free
3" pvc pipe free
water heater free
chair legs free
smaller glass tube $7.20
larger glass tube $8.30
reflective mylar film $11.00

Results and Discussion

Your discussion.

Next steps

The next steps.

Contact details

Pierce Mayville