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Brussels: Travel Where Politics and Funding Meet

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 13, 2016
TASK 54The organiser of the two day conference Solar Thermal Energy for Europe 2020 is inviting stakeholders from the industry and solar heating and cooling researchers to Brussels, Belgium, on 24 and 25 May to offer them first-hand information on Horizon 2020 calls, an exchange of ideas and experiences and a venue for finding soon-to-be project partners. The European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP) of the Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC) concludes with a workshop on the Price Reduction of Solar Thermal Systems. The one-and-a-half hour session will be organised by the researchers of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme’s Task 54, which goes by the same name as the workshop.
 

Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe: Solar Thermal Policies under Development

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 10, 2016
University ZimbabweA growing number of countries in Southern Africa follow the example of South Africa and Namibia to set targets and discuss regulations for an increased deployment of solar water heaters. The reasons are the acute power shortages and the fact that residential households spend 60 % of their electricity on hot water preparation when they use an electric geyser. Lesotho and Zimbabwe launched national strategies in September 2015 to ban electric geysers and Mozambique’s Minister of Science, Technology, Higher Education and Professional Training, Professor Jorge Olívio Nhambiu, confirmed the target of installing 0.1 m² collector area per capita by 2030, as had been defined in the Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap for Zimbabwe in November 2015. The photo shows the Solar Energy Mobile Training Unit showcased during an open day at the University of Zimbabwe.
Photo: SOLTRAIN Zimbabwe/2015

SOLTRAIN: 2,150 Technicians Trained and 187 Demonstration Systems Installed in SADC Region

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 1, 2016
SOLTRAIN ConferenceThe Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) presented the project’s remarkable progress since 2009 during a conference in Midrand, South Africa, on 11 February 2016. “Between 2009 and 2015, about 2,150 people have been trained in 80 courses, and nearly 187 solar thermal systems ranging from 2 to 250 m² collector area per system have been installed in the five target countries South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe,” Project Coordinator Werner Weiss, Managing Director of Austrian institute AEE INTEC, summed up the results. The photo shows the presentation of Dr Thembakazi Mali, Senior Manager Clean Energy Solutions at the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) on 11 February. The one-day conference was attended by 63 stakeholders from the SADC region. 
Photos (2): Monika Spörk-Dür

Solar Process Heat: „It all depends on the conventional heating equipment”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 25, 2016
Bastian SchmittDr Bastian Schmitt can look back at more than ten years of experience in the field of solar process heat. As part of his doctoral thesis, the mechanical engineer developed a classification system for the integration of solar thermal systems providing process heat on industrial premises. Today, he is a member of Task 49 of the IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and heads the working group Process Heat at the Institute of Thermal Engineering (ITE), a department of the University of Kassel, Germany. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with him about the latest research into solar thermal integration and the goals set in last year’s guidance document. 

Austria: Optimising of Large-scale Collector Fields

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 6, 2016
Hydraulic SchemesOne key aspect of the energy and cost optimisation of large-scale collector fields (called arrays in this news) is collector array hydraulics. Optimal connection is achieved when (1) the costs and length of the connecting pipes is small, (2) the pressure drop over the entire array is low and (3) there is homogeneous mass flow distribution across the entire field. “Homogeneous mass flow reduces power losses in the circuit, avoids inefficient pump operation and prevents local stagnation,” explains Philip Ohnewein. The researcher at Austrian institute AEE INTEC managed the four-year project ParaSol (2011 to 2014), which – among other things – analysed the advantages and disadvantages of different hydraulic designs of large collector arrays of several hundreds to several thousands of panels. The results were also discussed and published as part of Task 45, Large Systems: Large Solar Heating/Cooling Systems, Seasonal Storage, Heat Pumps, of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme in a two-page info leaflet and a 44-page technical document (attached to this article). 
 

ISES Award for Professor Klaus Vajen: “A great honour and motivation for future endeavours”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 15, 2015
Dr Klaus VajenDr Klaus Vajen is the winner of the Achievement through Action Award of the International Solar Energy Society, ISES. The German professor from the University of Kassel and his research group were presented with the award during the Solar World Congress in South Korea at the beginning of November. The ISES award honours persons who have made significant achievements and contributions toward the advancement of solar energy systems and applications. Vajen joins an illustrious group of previous award recipients from the solar heating and cooling sector, such as Dr Adolf Goetzberger from German Research Institute Fraunhofer ISE (1993), Panos Lamaris, President of Greece collector manufacturer Sole (1999), Werner Weiss, Managing Director of Austrian Research Institute AEE INTEC (2003) and Professor Yin Zhiqiang from Tsinghua University, Beijing (2005). The prize is endowed with USD 1,900.
 

Canada: Collector Manufacturers Have High Expectations of New Government

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 28, 2015
Since October, a new government has been at the helm in Canada under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau's conservative predecessor, Stephen Harper, who had been in office for nine years, had encountered increasing criticism by the Canadian population because of his climate-damaging policies and his close ties to the oil and gas industry. According to the study Solar Heat Worldwide by Austrian research institute AEE INTEC, the newly installed collector area in Canada declined between 2011 and 2013 from 127,412 m² to 58,067 m². Accordingly high are now expectations of the new government regarding climate change and the environment. Canadian collector manufacturers are hoping for the return of solar thermal-friendly policies. solarthermalworld.org has talked with them about their wishes and expectations.
 

Turkey: Market Development 2015 and Forecast 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 26, 2015
Turkey Market DevelopmentWith 1.9 million m² of collector area newly installed in 2014 (1.33 GWth), Turkey was again the second-largest solar thermal market after China last year. The share of vacuum tube collectors had increased significantly over the years, but stagnated in 2014 at 44 % of total market volume. The annual market statistic in the chart has been provided by Kutay Ülke, Export Manager of Ezinç Metal, one of the largest solar water heater manufacturers in Turkey. The annual study Solar Heat Worldwide from Austrian research institute AEE INTEC uses these industry-based figures for Turkey in all of its latest issues. There are no regular official statistics – neither by the government, nor by GÜNDER, the Turkish Section of the International Solar Energy Society, whose members make up a big part of the national solar thermal industry. In its current publications on the Turkish solar thermal market, GÜNDER uses a more general estimate of “at least 1.5 million m² of collector area” being produced and installed per year.
Source: Ezinç
 

Austria: Promising Results from Test Facility with Solid Zeolite Storage Tank

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 24, 2015
InaugurationTanks 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. 
Photo: AEE INTEC
 

Austria: Hope for Market Decline Slowdown

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 9, 2015
Austria market developmentThe market report Innovative Energy Technologies in Austria. Market Development 2014 published by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) shows that in 2014, the national solar thermal industry had to deal with declining sales for the fifth time in a row. The solar thermal market in Austria dropped by 15 % from 2013 to 2014, resulting in a total annual volume of 108.6 MWth (155,170 m²) last year. The pie chart shows the share of different segments in the collector area newly installed in 2014 [2013]. Multi-family buildings have significantly increased in importance. According to recent data by the industry association Austria Solar on the first two quarters of 2015, the decline seems to be slowing down, partly because of a new federal incentive programme. 
Source: Market development report 2014
 

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