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Thermosiphon Systems from New Caledonia

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 12, 2008

Sun Ray at Intersolar 2008Williams Danger and Caroline Hubert of Sun Ray, a manufacturer of thermosiphon systems, came to Intersolar from New Caledonia, east of Australia, making them the solar thermal exhibitor farthest from home. Photo: Bärbel Epp

ArcelorMittal Launches Solar Copper Coating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 26, 2008

ArcelorMittal at IntersolarThe Belgium ArcelorMittal presented its new coating at the booth of European Solar Engineering SA (ESE) at the fair Intersolar 2008 in June. Photo: Bärbel Epp


 

IEA Study "Solar Heat Worldwide": Global Market Growth of 22 % in 2006

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 18, 2008

2006 was an extremely satisfying year for the global solar thermal industry. According to the new study “Solar Heat Worldwide. Markets and contribution to the Energy Supply 2006” on behalf of IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme the new installations grew 22 % in 2006. The authors from the Austrian research institute AEE Intec surveyed 48 countries and added up the newly installed collector area to 18.3 GWth (26.1 million m2).

9th Solarpraxis Forum, Berlin

Submitted by Nigel Cotton on June 9, 2008

Established as an inter-disciplinary cooperation exchange, the Solarpraxis Forum will again this year bring the players from the solar industry in contact with representatives from the political and financial worlds and with the press.

The Solarpraxis Forum offers up to date and practical lectures on all non-technical issues. The emphasis in the presentations is always on the practical applicability of the information and real project experiences.

Front-runners of solar district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 5, 2008

Solar Thermal District Heating
Feeding directly into the district heating system of the Austrian city of Graz: The collector fields are mounted on four different hall roofs belonging to the AEVG, a municipal waste disposal company.

Photo: S.O.L.I.D. / Oberländer

Process Heat: the Solar Thermal Challenge of the Future

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 15, 2008

So far solar thermal technology is mostly used for domestic hot water, pool heating and room heating. It´s often forgotten that there is a huge demand for heat below 250 °C in industry, which can easily be reached with solar thermal collectors.

An international team of researchers working on behalf of the International Energy Agency estimated the realisable potential of solar process heat in the European Union at 100 GWth, which corresponds to 140 million m2 of collector area. T

Today, however, a solar thermal capacity of only 13.5 GWth is in operation across Europe. Task 33 of the International Energy Agency reported 85 solar process heat plants worldwide with a capacity of 27 MWth. However, this market segment seems to be waking up. Just recently, news about huge solar process heat installations did the rounds. There is the 13,000 m2 plant in Hangzhou, China, on the roof of the textile dyeing factory Daly Ltd., which is most probably the biggest installation for solar process heat in the world. The total investment adds up to RMB 12 million (€ 1.11 million) including the tanks and mounting system. According to the project developer, the Chinese company Shenzhen Quir Solar Technology Co., Ltd, the solar collectors will save RMB 3.38 million (€ 0.31 million) per year, so that the investment will pay off within 3 years. The hot water is provided at a low temperature of 55 °C. Secondly, this summer the German brewery Hofmühl GmbH in Eichstätt will start operating a pilot plant with 1,389 m2 of vacuum tube collectors, which will supply process heat between 90 and 140 °C to the brewing and cleaning processes. The owner of the system estimates a reduction of 20 % in the annual energy demand of the factory. The company is convinced that the investment will pay off and has plans for subsequent upsizing to 3,000 m2. The project is being subsidised by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

What are the main topics for the future to open this new market sector?

Is there enough sunshine in all regions?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Solar thermal systems produce hot water whether the system is installed in Sweden, Germany, India, Tunisia or South America. The annual yield depends on the application (domestic hot water, pool heating, space heating), the local climatic conditions and system dimensioning (high or low solar fraction).

What can solar thermal technology be used for?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

There is a wide variety of applications for solar thermal technology. The most common application is the heating of pool water, the heating of domestic hot water and space heating. Not very wide spread yet are solar cooling systems, because of the complexity of the technology and the high initial investment costs.

What are the advantages of solar thermal technology at a national level?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

“Replacing imported fuels with local jobs”, this slogan of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) sums up perfectly the advantages of solar thermal technology for a national economy. The six biggest solar thermal markets in Europe – Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Greece and France – already exceeded 34,000 full time jobs in 2007 (check related article here). With an annual average growth rate of 20 % that is 6,800 jobs more each year. In the boom year 2008 in Europe this calculation results in 116,000 full-time jobs.

Which are the big players of the industry?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

You have fast-growing independent producers here which focus on the production of solar thermal components only. Some of these companies are more than 30 years old, like the German Wagner & Co, the Israeli Chromagen and the US-American Sun-Earth. But the global market leaders today are newer firms like Greenonetec in Austria, the biggest flat-plate collector manufacturer in the world, which was founded in 1991 (turnover 2008: 117 million Euro). Find the ranking of the biggest flat-plate collector manufacturers here.

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