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SPF Institute for Solar Technology

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: New Task to Use Solar Energy for Water Treatment

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 5, 2017
AEE INTECOn 18 September, there will be a definition meeting for a new task called Solar Energy in Industrial Water Management in Gleisdorf, Austria. The initiator of this international research project within the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme is Christoph Brunner from Austrian organisation AEE INTEC. The aim will be to investigate and improve solar-powered water separation and purification in industrial settings. Researchers and industry representatives are invited to attend the one-day workshop to discuss the agenda and the structure of the global initiative. The photo shows AEE INTEC’s laboratory-size membrane distillation system.
Photo: AEE INTEC
 

Switzerland: Rising Interest in PVT Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 1, 2017
PVT CaotecThe Swiss-based SPF - Institute of Solar Technology has recently published a report on behalf of EnergieSchweiz, a programme by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, about the market situation of PV-thermal technologies (PVT) in Switzerland and across all of Europe (see attached document in German). The researchers from SPF have found that there are various market-ready and proven products available. They counted around 300 PVT installations in Switzerland alone. A particularly good example is shown on the photo: a PVT installation integrated into the facade of an office building. 
Photo: Caotec
 

Europe: Collector Field Is Main Cost Driver of Industrial Solar Heat Plants

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 31, 2017
Otti SymposiumScientists from Germany and Switzerland have recently analysed the cost structures of systems producing solar process heat. They presented their findings in mid-May at the Solar Thermal Energy Symposium, where they said they had identified great potential for cost-cutting and discovered a large spread of installation prices. Planning SHIP systems involved more work than doing the same for domestic applications, but it was the collectors that made up the lion’s share of the investment. The three-day symposium attracted around 230 experts from research and industry. As Germany’s major annual conference on solar heating and cooling, it focused this year on turnkey heating solutions, including solar ones for the housing market and industrial processes. It was the 27th symposium and, at the same time, the last one organised by the East-Bavarian Institute for Technology Transfer, OTTI, which filed for bankruptcy in February 2017. The symposium’s board of advisers has taken over sponsorship until a new conference organiser is found for 2018 (see attached flyer in German). 
Photo: OTTI
 

Switzerland: PVT System Output Reaches 330 kWhth/m² on Top of 163 kWhel/m²

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 29, 2016
PVT OberfeldCrystalline PV modules utilise only 12 to 15 % of the incoming sunlight, while the rest is usually treated as waste heat. Hybrid solar panels, also called PVT elements, will channel this unused low-temperature heat, as shown by a large-scale demonstration plant in Switzerland. The PVT system’s 1,300 m² are used to regenerate a borehole field in a Swiss multi-family housing area. Monitoring data of the system’s first year in operation between August 2014 and July 2015 resulted in an annual thermal yield of 330 kWh/m² in addition to the 163 kWh/m² of electricity produced by the PV modules, according to a statement made by researchers from the Swiss SPF – Institute of Solar Technology earlier this year. The borehole field serves as the energy source for the heat pumps, which supply hot water all-the-year and space heating in winter. Most probably, the recommendations that the SPF researchers made to optimise the system in a paper published in May 2016 will even lead to a higher thermal yield during the installation’s second year. 
Photo: SPF Rapperswil
 

Austria: Task 42 Meeting on Compact Thermal Energy Storage Systems

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 3, 2015
Task 42 MeetingIEA-SHC Task 42, entitled Compact Thermal Energy Storage, has entered into its final year and will end in December 2015. In February 2015, 44 scientists met for the 13th Experts Task Meeting in Vienna, Austria, to discuss the characterisation and development of materials for latent heat storage systems. This included phase change materials (PCM) like paraffin and thermo-chemical materials (TCM), such as sodium hydroxide solutions or zeolites. During the three-day meeting, the task members also visited the cogeneration plant Simmering in Vienna. The photo shows them in front of two pressurised water tanks with a total volume of 11,000 m3. The tanks are charged and discharged with 145 GWh annually and are operated to decouple heat energy production from demand in the district heating network of Vienna.
Photo: Institute for Solar Technology SPF 
 

Switzerland: Process Heat Collector Performance Testing

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 1, 2014

Elimar Frank 1Process heat collectors in the range of 100 to 250 °C represent a rather new type of technology, and test institutes are facing some challenges when trying to test these collectors. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with Dr Elimar Frank, Research Director at the Swiss Institute for Solar Technology, SPF, in Rapperswil. Frank is also Subtask Leader for Process Heat Collector Development and Process Heat Collector Testing in Task 49 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. The chart shows the efficiency curves of different collector types.
Charts: SPF

Germany: Almeco Solar Presents Absorber Tube for Process Heat Collectors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 25, 2013

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

Solar Process Heat: European Commission Advocates More Research

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 2, 2013

In March, almost 40 scientists, engineers and solar process heat specialists met for the 1st workshop of the European InSun project, called "Exchange of experience made with the design and installation of solar process heat systems", which was hosted at the Institute for Solar Technology SPF in Rapperswil, Switzerland. The workshop focused on the experiences with the planning and installation of roof- or ground-mounted solar process heat systems - lead times, project schedule, as well as standards, guidelines and regulations in the different European countries. The photo shows a process heat project in Italy with 1.3 MW Fresnel collectors for the brick industry.
Photo: Soltigua

Australia: Vacuum Tube Collector with Overheating Protection

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 30, 2011

 Oz Hejia Solar Team Chinese company Hejia Solar Energy presented a new collector type at the All-Energy Australia 2011 trade fair in Melbourne in October 2011. The collector’s automated coverage prevents the system from overheating during daily operation. The participation in the fair was organised jointly by the Chinese manufacturer of the new collector type, Heijia Solar, represented by Chief Engineer Pan Kexue, as well as CEO and owner of Hejia Solar, Wu Guosheng, and the Australian Sales Office OZ Hejia Solar, represented by Director Frank Witowski (middle).
Photo: Oz Hejia Solar

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