Switzerland: Plans for Solar District Heating Pilot System

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 10, 2017
“Why is there no solar district heating in Switzerland?” Swiss scientists were asking after their visit to Denmark. They had been investigating the feasibility of solar heat in district heating networks in the St Gallen canton and published a 50-page study this March (see the attached document in German). As it turns out, solar heat could be produced in several networks for 60 to 160 CHF/MWh (50 to 140 EUR/MWh). Assuming plant owners or operators could get an incentive similar to the one for small-scale solar heat systems, it would make several larger ones economically viable. Now, the Swiss-based SPF – Institute of Solar Technology has begun to work with a district heating company on giving the country its first pilot plant.
 

IEA SHC Task 56: Cooperation on Energy Balance and Building Design Tools

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 5, 2017
Task 56 meetingFacades of residential and tertiary buildings offer enough space for daylight control and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. Active envelope solutions include facade-integrated solar thermal collectors, PV panels, daylight control systems or panels containing ventilation units with heat recovery and/or a heat pump with all necessary connectors. Optimising their performance and building integration has been one of the main objectives of an international research programme called Building Integrated Solar Envelope Systems for HVAC and Lighting, also known as Task 56 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. The photo shows the around 20 task experts who met at Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, on 21–22 September.
Photo: EURAC
 

Switzerland: Strong Heat Pump and PV Competition

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 3, 2017
Switzerland market statisticsThere couldn’t be a starker contrast between the market development of two renewable heat segments: Whereas Swiss heat pump sales remained at around 18,400 units per year from 2014 to 2016, collector sales dropped significantly from 117,634 m² in 2014 to 66,699 m² last year. Market volume is now below where it was ten years ago and solar water heaters are facing strong competition from heat pumps and photovoltaics (see attached market report in German and French). The annual solar thermal symposium on 8 November in Dübendorf near Zurich will provide an opportunity to discuss alternative applications and technologies.
Source: Swissolar
 

Slovenia: On the Path to Renewable District Heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 2, 2017
Rok SunkoDistrict heating networks supplied by renewable energy sources (RES) are widely recognised today as one of the most effective ways to decarbonise the heating sector. The EU’s CoolHeating project has been supporting the implementation of small, modular renewable heating and cooling grids for towns in southeastern Europe by transferring knowledge from leading countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany to newcomers, for example, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. It has also led to the publication of a handbook – Small modular renewable heating and cooling grids – available in seven languages (see the attached PDFs). Solarthermalworld.org talked to Rok Sunko (see photo) from one of the project partners, Skupina Fabrika about current developments and the outlook of RES district heating in Slovenia. The company is a Slovenian-based R&D business focusing on renewables, IT solutions and branding.
Photo: Skupina Fabrika
 

IEA SHC Task 52: Solar Thermal’s Role in 2050 Energy Mix

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 29, 2017
Collector Installation in HamburgWhat role solar thermal will play in the energy sector in 2050 is one of the principal questions that the international Task 52 research project Solar Heat and Energy Economics in Urban Environments intends to answer. As part of this IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme task, Denmark’s Aalborg University chose four major solar thermal countries in Europe – Austria, Denmark, Germany and Italy – to model their 2050 solar share in national heat production. The university’s estimates range from 3 to 12 % based on country and scenario, which would require 4 to 175 million m² of collector area in each of the four nations. The solar share of all four was rather similar in high penetration scenarios, although climate, energy demand and network design vary significantly. That’s why the researchers from Aalborg concluded that “the findings can be applied to a variety of energy systems, including in countries that are not directly part of this study.” They also underlined the importance solar thermal could have in reducing pressure on scarce resources such as biomass.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Russia: 25 Years of Sustainable Architecture

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 28, 2017
FEFU design study 1Professor Pavel Kazantsev is an enthusiastic teacher of solar and sustainable architecture at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in Vladivostok, Russia. He encourages his students during the 3-year course on the Fundamentals of Sustainable Architecture to create eco-friendly designs for residential and commercial buildings. The photo above shows the FEFU campus model created by Natalia Bakaeva; several other design studies are presented in the document attached to this news article. The first course was offered 25 years ago, in 1992, at the Far Eastern National Technical University, which became part of FEFU in 2011.
Source: FEFU
 

IEA SHC: Most Effective Solar Cooling Storage Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 27, 2017
Scientists from IEA SHC Task 53, New Generation Solar Cooling & Heating Systems, have compared the cost, efficiency and adaptability of solar cooling storage solutions and are now creating a report about the technologies most suitable for a given application. The researchers examined both thermal and electricity storage systems. But whereas the report can soon be used as guidance for choosing the most apt solution to heat and cool buildings, it will not provide a recommendation in favour of storing electricity or thermal energy. 
Photo: Consolar
 

IEA SHC Solar Academy: Solar Planning in Times of Rapid City Growth

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 26, 2017
Royal Seaport StockholmJust as on Stockholm’s coastline shown in the photo, cities are seeing new neighbourhoods develop or old ones restored and expanded at a rapid pace. Urban planning is a highly complex issue, especially if it involves low-carbon living solutions and environmental regulations. The main objective of the international group of researchers working in Task 51, Solar Energy in Urban Planning, has been to “support planners, architects, and local and national authorities in creating urban areas with architecturally integrated solar solutions in mind.” In mid-September, task coordinator Maria Wall, Professor at the Energy and Building Design department of Sweden’s Lund University, and other researchers presented successful case studies and suitable planning and design tools during a webinar. A recording and the presentations from it are available at the IEA SHC Solar Academy page.
 

Concentrating Solar Thermal for High-Temperature Solar Process Heat

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 23, 2017
CNRSEven energy-intensive, high-temperature industrial processes can be supplied by solar thermal systems if concentrating solar technologies are used. The EU-supported Solpart project, coordinated by the French-based CNRS public research organisation, is investigating the deployment of high-temperature solar-heated reactors for the industrial production of calcium oxide or quicklime, a major cement ingredient. A 30 kWth pilot reactor, including storage, is planned to be constructed and analysed in CRNS’s solar furnace (see the photo above). A mirror field will heat up the reactor particles placed in the receiver tower to between 900 and 950 °C for calcination. Solpart was launched in early 2016 and will end in December 2019.
Photo: CNRS
 

Moldova: Vacuum Tube Collector Assembly Line Inaugurated

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 22, 2017
Inauguration MoldavaMoldova saw the commissioning of an assembly line for vacuum tube collectors in what used to be the large halls of a manufacturing plant. The owner of the premises is Raut, based in the city of Balti, who repurposed the location after succeeding in the government’s tender invitation at the end of 2016. The line, funded by the Polish government and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), was implemented based on a technology partnership with Makroterm, a vacuum tube collector assembler from Cracow, Poland. The photo shows Dragos Pidleac, the then Director of Moldova’s Energy Efficiency Agency, and Manuel Mattiat from UNIDO (left and right, respectively, with an interpreter in the middle) during the inauguration. 
Photo: UNIDO
 

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