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Solar and biomass – a winning solution for district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 18, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiBiomass may be cheap and carbon-neutral, but a solar upgrade of biomass-fired district heating could further improve efficiency and reduce local emissions. For example, solar heat helps avoid having to start up and shut down wood-chip boilers or operate them at partial load. It can even replace backup fossil fuel systems, which provide district heating networks with energy in summer. During a December 2017 webinar, held as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, experts from Sweden and Austria showed promising case studies for a clever combination of biomass and solar thermal in district heating.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti

Daylight and electric lighting: new research initiative

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 14, 2018
Task 61The IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme has approved Task 61, a new research initiative concentrating on integrated daylight and electric lighting solutions. The task will tackle unresolved issues and challenges of a growing market which meets 19 % of the total electricity demand around the world. It will launch with a 3-day workshop from 28 February to 2 March 2018 in Lund, Sweden. Experts with a background in R&D or manufacturing are welcome to join the initiative. 
Source: Task 61, IEA SHC

Solar to replace coal in Polish district heating networks

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 7, 2018
NFOŚiGWZbigniew Kamieński, adviser to the president of NFOŚiGW’s board, has recently made some encouraging statements. During the conference Use of renewable energy sources and seasonal heat storage in district heating in Warsaw on 17 January, he said that the proposal of a new subsidy programme for renewable district heating deserved attention and implementation. The conference with nearly 130 attendees was organised jointly by NFOŚiGW, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, and IEO, the Institute for Renewable Energy, and was supported by the SDHp2m project
All three photos: NFOŚiGW 

Solar Is UK's Best District Heating Option

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 24, 2017
The UK government has clear and ambitious plans to raise the share of district heating (DH) in total heat consumption. GBP (Pound Sterling) 320 million is said to be made available for increasing the number of households connected to DH from 220,000 to 8 million by 2030, or to 30 % of today’s 27 million households in the country. These impressive figures are part of a report called Winning Hearts and Minds – Scenario-Driven Stakeholder Analysis on How to Make District Heating Successful in the UK, a combination of scenarios and online surveys developed jointly by German-based Communication Works and the Stockholm School of Economics on behalf of the UK’s Association for Decentralised Energy. The aim is to find suitable avenues for popularising DH among heat users in the country.

Sweden’s Solar Heat Market on Hold

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 20, 2017
The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) programme has recently updated its country report on Sweden’s solar thermal industry, pointing out the increasing competition with other energy technologies and the factors exacerbating the decline in sales. It seems as if not even the rather high national carbon tax can reinvigorate the country’s solar heat market. Especially in the residential segment, fossil fuels have already been phased out and biomass boilers plus district heating have become the standard in cities, while heat pumps dominate in rural areas. The photo shows a solar facade with vacuum tube collectors in the Swedish city of Malmö. 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti

IEA SHC Solar Academy: Solar Planning in Times of Rapid City Growth

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 26, 2017
Royal Seaport StockholmJust as on Stockholm’s coastline shown in the photo, cities are seeing new neighbourhoods develop or old ones restored and expanded at a rapid pace. Urban planning is a highly complex issue, especially if it involves low-carbon living solutions and environmental regulations. The main objective of the international group of researchers working in Task 51, Solar Energy in Urban Planning, has been to “support planners, architects, and local and national authorities in creating urban areas with architecturally integrated solar solutions in mind.” In mid-September, task coordinator Maria Wall, Professor at the Energy and Building Design department of Sweden’s Lund University, and other researchers presented successful case studies and suitable planning and design tools during a webinar. A recording and the presentations from it are available at the IEA SHC Solar Academy page.

Solar Thermal Shows Highest Energy Yield Per Square Metre

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 31, 2017
Area Yield ComparisonThe annual energy yield per square metre is much higher for solar collectors than for other renewable technologies, as the figure on the left shows. Compared to PV, solar collectors produce, on average, three times as many kilowatt-hours. Compared to biomass or bioethanol, output is in average as much as 43 times their yield. The chart shows end energy production and compares directly thermal and electric kilowatt-hours. The grey part of each bar marks the deviation in yield based on different estimates. The absolute values can be found in a table at the bottom of this article.
Source: Fraunhofer ISE, PlanEnergi and Chalmers University

IEA Task 51: Challenges in Urban Planner Education

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 27, 2017
Task 51 MapCities and large municipalities all around the world have taken the lead in sustainability, and urban planners find themselves in the important position of having to devise solutions for integrating renewable and energy efficiency measures at local level. Each city has its own unique set of resources and pattern of energy use. But as solar energy is available everywhere to some extent, there will be an urgent need to develop the expertise and skills of solar industry stakeholders in urban planning. Researchers from the IEA’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme’s Task 51, Solar Energy in Urban Planning, have examined the educational offerings of universities and colleges in nine partner countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland), identified gaps in knowledge and designed solutions to overcome them. 

Egypt and Jordan: SHAMCI to Give New Impetus to Arab Markets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 13, 2017
SHAMCI Workshop May 2017The implementation of SHAMCI, the Solar Heating Arab Mark and Certification Initiative, could help expand the solar thermal market in both Egypt and Jordan. On 15 and 16 May 2017, a workshop held at the headquarters of RCREEE (Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) and on the premises of NREA (New and Renewable Energy Authority of Egypt) in Cairo offered experts, market observers and stakeholders from both countries a platform to discuss requirements for implementing SHAMCI at national level. spoke to Lotus Shaheen, who works at SHAMCI’s secretariat, about the results of the workshop and the next steps by the regional initiative.

IEA SHC: How to Turn Historic Structures into Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 17, 2017
Villa CastelliMore than one-fourth of all residential buildings in Europe date from before 1945. Over the past decade, preservationists have taken to the idea of renovating historic structures in an energy-efficient manner. The planned IEA SHC task titled Deep Renovation of Historic Buildings Towards Lowest Possible Energy Demand and CO2 Emission intends to find the best solutions to this challenge. The photo shows the Villa Castelli at Lake Como in Italy. The energy requirements of the building have been reduced and the remaining demand has been met by a heat pump and PV-generated electricity. 
Photo: Oscar Stuffer, Solarraum


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