At Conico we have developed a new type of actuation technology for valves; Thermo-Differential actuation technology, which allows us to create unique valves - Thermo-Differential Valves – that, without the use of electronics, switch and regulate based on observed temperature differences. These unique valves not only replace existing electronically controlled systems that respond to temperature difference, but also open up various new applications, for which electronic systems are prohibitively expensive, unreliable and/or inaccurate.
The patented Thermo-Differential actuation technology is based on mass-transfer inside the valve’s actuator, which always consists of two connected sections, each exposed to a different temperature in the system, and which is filled with a working fluid, that will always flow to the coolest section of the actuator, driven by the higher vapour pressure in the warmer section. The mass-transfer creates the actuation by shifting the center of gravity of the actuator, usually through a pivoting mechanism, typically using some degree of leverage. As this actuation principle observes temperature difference directly (not by comparing two temperature sensors, as in electronic systems), it is intrinsically 100% accurate, not relying on calibration.
In broad terms, the application field of this breakthrough actuation technology is energy efficiency, since having valves that can switch and regulate based on temperature difference allows temperature differences between flows to be minimized when they combine, and creates the possibility to bypass heat-exchangers based on whether they act as a heat sink or a heat source, effectively acting as a one-way valve for heat flow. The valves can thus reduce thermal mixing (minimizing Entropy increases), and also prevent heat from flowing in an unwanted direction, which ultimately results in higher efficiency of the heating (or cooling) device used in the system, particularly when using a heat pump or a solar thermal heat source (but also when using a condensing boiler for burning fossil fuels or biomass). Various valves are currently being developed, to fulfill various applications, if you have an application in mind which is not mentioned on this website, please contact us and we can see how we can fulfill the requirements of your specific application.
This video demonstrates the world's first one-way valve for heat flow, or 'heat diode'; the Thermo-Differential Bypass Valve. Check out the amazing speed and accuracy of this self-actuating 'mechanical' valve, beating even very sophisticated electronic systems, while this simple valve uses no electronics at all! The experimental set-up simulates a solar system operating without a controller, where the solar system would simple operate when the sun shines, for example by using a DC pump powered by a small PV panel.