Chile: Consistent Electrolytic Bath Temperature Control Increases Copper Cathode Quality

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 28, 2016
Ian NelsonPampa Elvira Solar (PES) operates the largest solar process heat installation worldwide, a 27.5 MWth collector field at the Gabriela Mistral mine in Chile. “It´s an every-day, every-hour struggle to harvest the sun and earn our wages, so we may continue the very humble – and much too often neglected – business of running a solar heat-delivering system in the middle of the desert,” said Ian Nelson, General Manager of Pampa Elvira Solar. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with him about dust problems, the opportunities of concentrating collectors, the challenges of ESCO operation and improved copper cathodes. Five-and-a-half years ago, the engineer started at Energía Llaima, an independent producer of hydro and solar thermal solutions. PES, which was founded in 2012, is a consortium of Danish company Arcon-Sunmark and Energía Llaima. 
Photo: Pampa Elvira Solar
 

New Zealand: Prized School Air Heating Project

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 26, 2016
Solarventi New ZealandA New Zealand research project which deployed solar air collectors in schools to improve pupils’ health while reducing heat costs has garnered an award by the New Zealand Institute of Building this year. Robyn Phipps, Professor in Construction at Massey University’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, won the award for her research project conducted in cooperation with the Australian subsidiary of Danish air collector manufacturer Solarventi. The project led to the installation of solar air heating systems in ten classrooms of five primary schools in wintertime in 2013 and to the implementation of another batch of systems in 12 classrooms of six primary schools the following winter. Monitoring data showed that attaining similar temperatures in the control classrooms required 2.5 times the thermal energy used in the solar-heated ones. 
Photo: Solarventi 
 

Qatar: Gulf Region’s Sustainability Experts Meet IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Specialists

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 23, 2016
Green Expo ForumAbout 400 industry stakeholders met in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Doha in early November to attend the first Green Expo Forum organised by the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD). The three-day conference offered presentations by experts from Gulf countries and the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC), which held its biannual Executive Committee meeting at around the same time. “The GORD conference was a great forum for presenting the research work from the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme,” said Ken Guthrie, Chairman of the IEA SHC. GORD had organised the Green Expo Forum in collaboration with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment. The first-day event was titled The Carbon & Climate Change Summit. The second and third day featured the Sustainable Built Environment Conference.
Photos: GORD
 

IEA SHC Task 56: “Facade-integrated HVAC components pose a Challenge for all parties involved”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 22, 2016
Eurac ResearchThe integration of solar facade solutions into the HVAC and lighting system of a building can only be successful if it is coordinated with architects and building engineers. A good forum to get in touch with architecture professionals is the annual Advanced Building Skins Conference (ABS) in Switzerland. The 2016 edition, which took place from 11 to 13 October, also included a session by the researchers of Building Integrated Solar Envelope Systems for HVAC and Lighting, which is the name of Task 56 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. Swiss Advanced Building Skins, the organiser of the event, reported that 520 experts attended this year’s global forum to listen to presentations during six parallel session blocks.
Photo: Eurac Research
 

Solar Process Heat in Chile: “It is essential to use the ESCO model”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 21, 2016
Roberto RomanThe world’s largest process heat installation has recently completed its third year of operation. The 39,000 m² collector field, which went online in October 2013 at Codelco´s Gabriela Mistral mine, is located 100 kilometres south of the town of Calama in Chile´s high central desert. Planning, delivery and installation of the solar field were done by Chilean-Danish joint-venture Pampa Elvira Solar, which has since been the operator of the system as well. The plant provides around 80 % of the energy required for the last step in copper production, the electrolytic refining of the metal in an acid bath. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Roberto Roman, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile. Roman has been part of a university team advising Codelco, Chile´s state-owned mining company, on solar mining from the very beginning.
Photo: Taken from the video interview at the Eurosun 2016
 

USA: Californian Solar Process Heat Potential and Gas Price Competitiveness

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 19, 2016
Researchers at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have observed a renewed interest in solar process heat applications in recent years, mainly thanks to “the improvement and proliferation of solar collectors for electricity generation and the development of sophisticated solar collector modelling tools.” Last year, two of those researchers – Parthiv Kurup and Craig Turchi – conducted a study on the potential of solar process heat provided by concentrating collector technologies in California (see the attached document). This study, entitled Initial Investigation into the Potential of CSP Industrial Process Heat for the Southwest United States, was supported by the US Department of Energy and was published in November 2015. The chart taken from it shows the annual energy use of steam in industry segments which utilise the largest amount of gas. The study’s authors found the temperature range from about 120 to 220 °C to be of great interest, as it enables the use of concentrating optics and of water as the heat transfer fluid. 
Chart: Page 22 of the attached study
 

India: Growing Demand for Vacuum Tube Technology

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 16, 2016
India Market DevelopmentThe Indian market has started to show signs of recovery in the previous financial year from April 2015 to March 2016. A survey carried out by Indian consultant Jaideep Malaviya found the newly installed collector area to have reached a total of 1.55 million m² (1.085 MWth). The share of vacuum tube based systems had been rising steadily and was almost 90 % of the overall low temperature solar collector market in 2015-2016. Assuming some of the older systems are non-functional, the cumulative market was 8.9 million m² in at the end of March 2016. 
Source: MNRE up to and including 2013-2014, market survey by Jaideep Malaviya 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 
 

Germany: “Performance-based incentives for all solar thermal plants”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 11, 2016
In spring 2015, Germany´s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) introduced a performance-based incentive for solar heating as an alternative to the scheme offering incentives based on collector area. Recently published statistics have shown the new programme to grant higher financial support for about one-third of the currently funded projects. The others still receive funding from the previously established scheme. 
 

Webinar: Think Big – Design Rules and Monitoring Results of Solar District Heating Systems

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 3, 2016
SmartreflexIn cooperation with EU project SmartReFlex, solarthermalworld.org will soon hold the webinar Think big – Design rules and monitoring results of solar district heating systems. We invite every stakeholder to join the event scheduled online for 1.5 hours on Tuesday, 6 December 2016, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Central European Time (time zone includes Berlin, Brussels, and Copenhagen). The webinar will be free of charge and will be open to anyone interested in the topic. You can register for it online.
 

Denmark/Germany: Consumer-Owned Utilities Spearhead Energy Market Transformation

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 2, 2016
Webinar SpeakersSolar district heating is becoming increasingly attractive to small towns and municipalities which are looking for energy independence and stable heat prices, a trend which was discussed at length during the October webinar by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). Entitled Renewable district heating – Small local grids and cooperative utilities, it offered an opportunity for German and Danish experts to present successful case studies, underline the political frame conditions which foster renewable integration into district heating and explain the advantages of cooperatives (recording available online). The photo shows the experts participating in this first webinar of a three-part series coordinated by Riccardo Battisti, Head of EU Project SmartReFlex: Per Alex Sørensen and Per Kristensen from Denmark as well as Oliver Miedaner from German Solites (from left). The second webinar – Think big: Design rules and monitoring results of solar district heating systems – will be organised in cooperation with solarthermalworld.org and is scheduled for 6 December (online registration). 
 

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