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District heating: “The industry is very optimistic about its future prospects”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 23, 2016

Ralf Roman SchmidtDistrict heating has a long history in Scandinavia: The international symposium on district heating was launched there in 1987. In the meantime, the technology has reached the global stage and the 15th International Symposium on District Heating and Cooling was the first one supported by the IEA District Heating and Cooling programme (IEA DHC). Dr Ralf Roman Schmidt had been invited to speak at this two-day conference held in South Korea in September and attended by more than 200 people. The research engineer from the AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology, is about to become Austria’s alternate country representative within the IEA DHC.

Austria: Prefabricated Roofboxes Create New Living Space on Multi-Storey Building Roofs

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 19, 2016
Haas Fertigbau ModulhausRenovating multi-storey buildings can be used to create new living space with an additional top floor. That’s where an Austrian consortium led by AEE INTEC comes in: It has developed the Roofbox, an entirely prefabricated modular living space. A Roofbox consists of a bathroom, a kitchen, a separate toilet or living room and bedrooms, and it can be ordered with an active solar water heater system already installed on its roof. Every Roofbox can be transported by an articulated lorry and is rigid enough to be lifted by crane for roof mounting. On 16 September, Austrian Haas Fertigbau showcased in its Großwilfersdorf factory a flat made up of two Roofbox prototypes – which, however, is still missing the solar thermal unit on top (see photo).
Photo: Haas Fertigbau
 

South Africa: Solar Green Beer Production Creates High IRR

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 14, 2016
CBC Installation South AfricaSouth Africa’s solar process heat installations remain profitable when they have to compete against other heat sources, such as diesel, paraffin, petrol or gas, the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, has concluded in a recently published paper. The researchers at the CRSES conducted a feasibility study of a 120.7 m² collector field that was to cover 60 % of the existing hot water requirements of Cape Brewing Company (CBC) based in Suider-Paarl, Western Cape, and analysed ten proposals submitted after the company’s invitation to tender in January 2015. South African E3 Energy won by offering an installation with a levelised cost of energy of 7.9 EUR cents/kWh, an internal rate of return of 16.7 % and a payback period of 9.3 years. CBC´s daily hot water demand is estimated to be 7,000 litres at 85 °C during 245 days a year, i.e., during a full year except for weekends, public holidays and two weeks of summer holidays. The system went into operation in November 2015 and the COO of CBC, Andy Kung, seems satisfied with the performance and the energy saving it offers. 
Still image taken from the short film
 

IEA SHC: Cost Reduction Analysis Workshops at German University of Stuttgart

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 8, 2016
Task54 Brussels WorkshopSystem 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.
Photo: Fraunhofer ISE
 

IEA SHC: Coordinating Thermal Energy Storage Research Worldwide

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 30, 2016
The key to the decarbonisation of the energy sector is new compact storage technology: It will require much R&D to develop market-ready products based on new storage designs with phase change and thermochemical materials (PCMs and TCMs). One strategy is to combine resources within international research programmes – to create platforms unhindered by national borders or scientific disciplines, such as the joint task Material and Component Development for Thermal Energy Storage planned within the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes. Its two future operating agents, Wim van Helden (left) from Austrian AEE INTEC for the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and Andreas Hauer from the German Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE Bayern) for the IEA Energy Conservation through Energy Storage (ECES) programme, invite all interested researchers to Vienna, Austria, to attend the second Task Definition Meeting on 15 and 16 September 2016. 
 

TASK 45 / 55: Guidelines on How to Design Seasonal Storage

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 1, 2016
Bore Hole StorageSeasonal storage is a key component in the transformation of today’s energy industry. Besides storing energy in summer for heating in winter, it can also be used to save waste heat from the industry and to increase the electricity production from biomass CHP plants. Experiences gathered with the technology during case studies were summarised as part of the study Seasonal thermal energy storage – Report on state of the art and necessary further R+D, which was published by Task 45, Large Scale Solar Heating and Cooling Systems, of the IEA SHC programme. Together with the Guidelines for Materials & Construction on the two most common storage types, borehole (see the chart) and water pit, it provides a good overview of the current advancements in this field (all three documents attached). Additional research into the design of seasonal storage will be carried out in follow-up Task 55, Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into District Heating and Cooling (DHC) Network. Interested stakeholders have been invited to join the kick-off meeting of Task 55 in Graz, Austria, between 19 and 21 October (see contact details below).
Chart: TASK 45
 

Global Job Statistics: Improved Methodology Results in 730,000 Jobs Worldwide

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 5, 2016
Job Chart IRENATypically, the number of jobs in the global solar heating and cooling industry is based on general assumptions and fragmentary extrapolations. The authors who publish the two annual studies on these job numbers have tried each year to improve upon the database – with success, although they still end up with different figures. The Solar Heat Worldwide Edition 2016 published by Austrian institute AEE INTEC estimated that 730,000 people had a job related to the manufacturing, installation or maintenance of solar thermal systems in 2014. The study Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2016 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) put the figure at 939,000 in the global solar heating and cooling industry in 2015 – 12 % of the world’s 8.1 million jobs in the renewable sector (find both studies attached).
Chart: IRENA
 

ESCO Project Funding: Search for Attractive Case Studies to Fill Project Pipeline

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 5, 2016
Energy Contracting FundSolar heating and cooling has not been bankable yet despite various systems confirming expected performance and O&M costs. Project budgets are usually too small and the technology suppliers do not pass the stringent requirements of creditworthiness, which leaves the financial provider with a high-risk scenario. Accordingly, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) have faced severe financing issues, which slow down the expansion of their business. It is good news to them that two recently launched projects also focus on facilitating the creation of an investment fund for solar thermal ESCO projects: First, there is the Feasibility Study - Energy Contracting Fund, which is jointly coordinated by the German Investment and Development Corporation Bank (DEG) and German SHC turnkey provider Industrial Solar; the second project, TrustEE – enhancing investment conditions for industrial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, is from the EU and has been coordinated by Austrian institute AEE INTEC.
 

Austria: Decision on Operating Company for Big Solar Graz Expected Soon

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 17, 2016
Gleisdorf Solar 2016“Large-scale solar thermal systems in the GW range – an insignificant niche market or the future for solar thermal?” was the official title of a panel discussion at the Gleisdorf Solar conference in Austria in early May. The most important question was: What will be next for the planned 350 MWth solar district heating system called Big Solar in the Austrian city of Graz? “The challenge was to adapt the Danish district heating solutions to Austrian conditions,” emphasised the project’s initiator, Christian Holter (right), Managing Director of S.O.L.I.D. Meanwhile, Christian Stadler (left), Managing Director of one of Arcon-Sunmark’s subsidiaries, Arcon-Sunmark Germany & Austria, represented the company that has stated his own interest in realising Big Solar.
Photo: AEE INTEC
 

Austria: Green Brewery Göss Receives IEA SHC Award

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 15, 2016
Gleisdorf Solar 2016At the international conference Gleisdorf Solar in Austria, Austrian brewery Göss was presented with the SHC Solar Award, the "Oscar" of the solar heating and cooling industry. The IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) created this award to recognise outstanding achievements by suppliers or users of solar thermal technology. The photo shows master brewer Andreas Werner (right), who received the prize from the hands of Doug McClenahan, Chair of the SHC Solar Award committee (second from right), and Ken Guthrie, Chair of IEA SHC (second from left). 
Photo: AEE INTEC
 

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