With Procter & Gamble and Siemens subsidiary Trench, Vicot Solar Technology has two prominent references in China to showcase the successful integration of solar heat into industrial processes. The plant at Trench High Voltage Products (THVP) in Shenyang (see photo) came online in November 2014 and has since been operated by THVP itself. Backed up by an oil heating unit, the system’s parabolic trough collectors with 3,255 m² of aperture area provide heat at 150 °C for processes in the electronics factory and supply the heating systems of the 33,000 m² office and the production facilities in winter.
Amul Fed Dairy based in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat is one of the country’s biggest milk-processing plants and is owned by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation. In October 2016, it had a 560 m² parabolic trough collector field installed to allow for the feed-in of solar steam into the factory grid. The INR 15.7 million (around EUR 220,000) system was set up by Thermax, an Indian manufacturer of solar heating and cooling technology. It was designed to reduce gas consumption by about 50,000 m³ each year – which barely meets 0.59 % of the energy demand for the entire facility. India is one of the world’s largest producers of milk, with an annual output of 140 million tonnes, a figure that will probably rise to 200 million by 2022.
On 28 July, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded grants to six research projects which aim to reduce the costs of concentrating solar collectors. The initiative is called COLLECTS, which is short for Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs, and focuses on the most expensive component of a CSP plant: the collectors / the reflector. One of the beneficiaries of the COLLECTS budget of nearly USD 9 million is California-based, early-stage technology provider Sunvapor, which is planning to supply the industry with solar steam solutions more cost-effective than natural gas-based steam boilers. COLLECT is part of the DOE’s SunShot initiative started in 2011.
At present, the Danish turnkey supplier of concentrating solar systems, Aalborg CSP, has two more large projects under construction. Both installations – one for Danish district heating company Brønderslev Forsyning and one for Australian vegetables producer Sundrop Farms – cover electricity and heat demand at their sites. Yet another first-of-its-kind project was inaugurated in August 2015 in the Danish village of Tårs (see photo), 30 km north of Aalborg. It entailed 4,039 m² of parabolic trough collectors and a preheating flat plate collector field of 5,972 m². Simulations have pointed to a 31 % coverage of annual heat demand even without seasonal storage, since overheating in summer can be avoided by moving the parabolic trough collectors out of focus. Aalborg CSP is an experienced planner of steam and boiler systems and has been offering concentrating solar solutions since 2007.
7 January 2015 was the starting date for the construction of a unique solar heat plant for district heating in the Danish village of Tårs, 30 km north of Aalborg. It combines parabolic trough collectors and flat plate collectors in order to cover 30 % of the heat demand by the village’s district heating network, without the need for seasonal storage. The system is expected to come into operation during the second quarter of 2015.
ewz’s latest solar project as an energy service company (ESCO) is the solar plant at dairy company Lataria Engiadinaisa SA (LESA), which is located at an altitude of 1,700 m in the Swiss Alps. With its 115 m² of parabolic trough collectors by NEP Solar, the solar plant heats thermo-oil up to a temperature of 180 °C in order to provide heat for steam production. The investment of Swiss Franc (CHF) 500,000 was jointly financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and ewz. The heat is sold to LESA at the same full cost as steam production by the dairy´s installed oil boiler. The project won the Swiss Solar Prize in 2012.