The 4th International Solar District Heating (SDH) Conference, which had been organised under the auspices of Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…from Policy to Market on 21/22 September 2016 in Denmark, showed the importance of analysing real-life monitoring data from European SDH plants, with one conference session (Advanced SDH systems II) dedicated exclusively to the topic. These kinds of comparisons enable an understanding of the actual performance of such large collector fields and offer an opportunity for optimising power output and for creating best-practice examples of new plants. For example, the chart displays ten years’ worth of monitoring data from the German plant in Crailsheim, which has met solar yield expectations.
Source: Attached SDH conference presentation from ITW
System cost reduction is one of the most urgent challenges of the solar thermal sector, especially in central Europe. The aim of Task 54 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme, Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems, is to lower solar heat prices by up to 40 %. Germany’s main scientific contributions to the task have come from the two research projects KoST and TEWIsol, which have been co-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The corresponding Task 54 meeting will take place in Stuttgart on 6/7 October (see the attached programme) in conjunction with a workshop on 5 October to present and discuss KoST and TEWIsol (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; held in German). The photo shows the Task 54 workshop organised in collaboration with the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation in Brussels in May 2016.
The Solar Keymark Network has decided to establish a working group in order to revise and improve the complaint procedures and put them into one document, as they have so far been described in several different papers and various articles: The Solar Keymark Scheme Rules, Article 2.2, includes instructions on how to handle complaints and there is Article 6.3. Special Test, whereas the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations Part 4, Article 7.4, describes the appeal procedures (see the attached documents). This move is deemed necessary because at the end of 2015 – for the first time since the Solar Keymark label was launched – several complaints were submitted to one of the empowered certification bodies. “In our network meeting, we informed the members about the first big complaint and discussed the need for putting the complaint procedures into one document, to make it clearer for the solar thermal industry how to use them,” said Jaime Fernández González-Granda, Chairman of the Solar Keymark Network and Product Officer at the Spanish certification and standardisation body, AENOR.
Between 8 and 11 March, Berlin will be the venue of choice for standard and certification experts from all corners of the globe. Then, the city will host three international meetings to discuss standard and certification issues at European and global level: First, there is the meeting of the Solar Keymark Network (SKN), which will be held on 8 and 9 March and will be headed by Jaime Fernández González-Granda (left); second, there is the one of the Global Solar Certification Network on 10 March led by Harald Drück (middle). The third event that will take place in the same week is the kick-off meeting of the newly created Task 57, Solar Standards and Certification, which will be held on 10 and 11 March and will be headed by Jan Erik Nielsen (right).
Tanks with high storage capacity and reduced losses are key to an increased solar heat share in households. Austrian research institute AEE INTEC has recently inaugurated a pilot research facility which promises exactly that: greater storage capacity than water and almost zero energy losses even in seasonal mode. The heart of the test facility are two low-pressure vessels filled with 750 kg of zeolite beads or spheres each. “Our first measurements since the beginning of October were very promising,” confirms Wim van Helden, head of the research project at AEE INTEC. “We reached a storage density of 180 kWh/m³, which has never been achieved before in a device of this size.” The research is part of an EU-funded project called COMTES – Combined Development of Compact Thermal Energy Storage Technologies and was co-financed by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. Theresia Vogel (second from left), Managing Director of said fund, joined the official starting ceremony on 11 November 2015.
According to the German solar industry association, BSW Solar, and the German heating industry association, BDH, the country saw an 11 % decrease in newly installed solar collector area in 2013, bringing market volume down to 735 MWth (1.05 million m²). The analysis presented by BSW Solar Managing Director, Jörg Mayer, at the Solar Thermal Energy Symposium in Bad Staffelstein pointed most of all to a slump in the German market segment of solar combi systems for domestic hot water and space heating in existing buildings. The symposium, which took place at the end of May, is now in its 24th year and gathered 333 scientists and solar thermal industry representatives from the German-speaking region.
Photo: East-Bavarian Institute for Technology Transfer, OTTI
Two international conferences on solar heating and cooling will take place in Germany at the beginning of June: the Intersolar Europe Conference in Munich from 2 to 4 June 2014 and the Solar District Heating Conference in Hamburg on 3 and 4 June 2014. Both event organisers have now published the complete programme.
Large storage capacity, modular design, high storage density and low heat losses: These are the current requirements for solar thermal heat storage. The result is that hot water storage products are often stretched to their limits. Alternatives could be phase change materials (PCMs) or thermo-chemical materials (TCMs). During the SMEThermal 2014 conference in Berlin, Dr Henner Kerskes, Research Associate at the Research and Testing Centre for Thermal Solar Systems, TZS, of the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and Monte C Magill, Business Development Director at US company Entropy Solutions, explained the design, operation and possibilities of latent heat and thermo-chemical energy storage solutions (see the attached documents).
After Iran’s elections in June and the new government taking over in August, hopes are that solar thermal could become an increasingly important technology in the Mideast country. Hossein Riyahi Dehkordi, Managing Director of Iranian solar company Polar Mehr Iranian - POMAco, expects the new government to improve the existing incentive schemes for solar thermal. “New investments and more support for green energy are in reach,” he says. But there has not yet been any specific announcement on how the improvement would look like. The photo shows the solar thermal installation in a public bath, the most common application for solar water heaters in Iran. The following article relies mainly on information from Mr Dehkordi, who gave an exclusive interview to solarthermalworld.org. POMAco is a joint-venture of Iranian company Solar Polar, a subsidiary of heating system specialist Polar Industrial Group and a collector manufacturer since 1999, and solar thermal system importer Taban Mehr Taksa, which is part of the Iranian Taksa Trade Development Group.
Photo: ITW/University of Stuttgart
German coating manufacturer Almeco Solar has designed a new absorber tube: Small in size with a working temperature around 200 °C and no vacuum. The company wants to beat both the performance and the current price of black chrome absorber tubes. The solution is called Tinox tube 2.0 and has been designed for temperatures around 200 °C. Almeco Solar presented the non-evacuated tube at the Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany, in the middle of June.
Photo: Eva Augsten