There is a distinct difference between the make-up of the German solar process heat segment and the country’s solar thermal market in general and it concerns the type of collectors used. One in four collectors used in solar process heat systems is an air collector, although the technology contributes only around 10 % to the total collector area newly installed each year. The same has been true for vacuum tube systems, which showed a 35 % share in solar process heat installations among approved projects in 2016 – despite an overall market share of only 9 % last year. All figures are based on statistics provided by the University of Kassel’s Institute of Thermal Engineering, which has been in charge of the research accompanying the subsidy scheme on solar process heat under the auspices of Germany’s Market Rebate Programme for Renewable Energies or MAP.
Chart: solrico, source: Institute of Thermal Engineering, University of Kassel
Dr Bastian Schmitt can look back at more than ten years of experience in the field of solar process heat. As part of his doctoral thesis, the mechanical engineer developed a classification system for the integration of solar thermal systems providing process heat on industrial premises. Today, he is a member of Task 49 of the IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and heads the working group Process Heat at the Institute of Thermal Engineering (ITE), a department of the University of Kassel, Germany. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with him about the latest research into solar thermal integration and the goals set in last year’s guidance document.
Dr Klaus Vajen is the winner of the Achievement through Action Award of the International Solar Energy Society, ISES. The German professor from the University of Kassel and his research group were presented with the award during the Solar World Congress in South Korea at the beginning of November. The ISES award honours persons who have made significant achievements and contributions toward the advancement of solar energy systems and applications. Vajen joins an illustrious group of previous award recipients from the solar heating and cooling sector, such as Dr Adolf Goetzberger from German Research Institute Fraunhofer ISE (1993), Panos Lamaris, President of Greece collector manufacturer Sole (1999), Werner Weiss, Managing Director of Austrian Research Institute AEE INTEC (2003) and Professor Yin Zhiqiang from Tsinghua University, Beijing (2005). The prize is endowed with USD 1,900.
Over the last two and a half years, the German Market Rebate Programme for Renewable Energies, MAP, has been subsidising half of the net costs associated with solar process heat for industrial and commercial use in Germany. All in all, the administrator of the programme, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control, BAFA, has received applications for 174 systems, of which 88 have so far been set up by the applicant and subsidised by the programme. “The programme started off well, but now the number of applications is stagnating,” Ralph Baller, Head of the MAP division, says. The University of Kassel’s additional publicity measures, which address planners and installers alike, are hoped to increase the popularity of the subsidy scheme again. The pie chart shows the customer groups of solar process heat among the 174 applications which have been submitted since the programme was launched in August 2012.
Solar heat for Industrial Processes (SHIP) has a large potential and is an important, upcoming market for solar thermal – this was the conclusion which Christoph Lauterbach, Research Associate at the German University of Kassel, drew in his presentation at the Intersolar Europe 2012 in Munich. In the case of Germany, Lauterbach identified a potential of 16 TWh/a. This is 3.4% of the country’s total energy consumption and corresponds to 36 million m² of collector area. According to Lauterbach, the overall potential for the 25 EU members amounts to 70 TWh/a – approximately four times as much.