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Europe: Conference Season in First Half of 2016

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 1, 2016

The calendar of events on solarthermalworld.org shows around 60 events relevant to the solar heating and cooling sector. This article will highlight some of the upcoming conferences dedicated to the sector in the first half of 2016. If not mentioned otherwise, the conference language of the listed events will be English.
Photo: Stephanie Banse


Germany: Two National Awards for Solar Thermal Specialists

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 27, 2016

Within only two months, the German Federal Environment Minister, Barbara Hendriks, awarded two solar thermal companies with a high-level prize. On 23 November 2015, Austrian polymer collector developer Sunlumo received the German Federal Ecodesign Award in the category Product (left). On 21 January 2016, German Fresnel collector system supplier Industrial Solar was awarded with the German Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment (IKU) in the category Technology Transfer (right). These honours show the high innovative potential of the solar thermal industry even in times of crisis as is happening currently, with the German and Austrian solar thermal market shrinking year after year.
Photos: Sunlumo, Christian Kruppa for Industrial Solar

SHC 2015: 14 Expert Interviews on Research Highlights and Technology Trends on Tape

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 13, 2016
Videos SHC2015
From 2 to 4 December 2015, the SHC2015 conference in Istanbul brought together 233 researchers, industry specialists and other experts on solar heating and cooling. With 14 video interviews filmed at the conference, solarthermalworld.org highlighted the trends and pinpointed the crucial issues of today's global solar heating and cooling sector. The videos were jointly financed by the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme and the European Copper Association. They are available for download on the solarthermalworld.org YouTube channel.
 

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: One World Solar Collector Receives Solar Keymark

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 20, 2015
SunlumoThe One World Solar Collector developed by Austrian company Sunlumo finally received a Solar Keymark certificate in October 2015 (see the attached PDF). This is a milestone in the long design and development process, which started in 2009. “We designed a completely new collector model optimising weight, performance, logistics and raw materials,” Robert Buchinger (left), Managing Director of Sunlumo, says about the long term R&D project. The photo, which was taken at machinery supplier Fill’s booth at the 2014 edition of Fakuma, the international trade fair for plastics processing, in Germany, shows Buchinger and Wilhelm Rupertsberger, Head of Competence Center Polymer Technology at FilI, holding up the pilot collector with a gross collector area of 0.95 m² and a weight of only 8.1 kg. Sunlumo is looking for investors who want to purchase a complete production line as well as the license and produce the polymer collector locally. The One World Solar Collector is the third 100 % polymer collector with a Solar Keymark certificate. The other two are Eco Flare 3M by Israeli manufacturer Magen Eco Energy and a collector from Norway’s Aventa. 
Photo: Sunlumo
 

Europe: Market Decline Claims Four Victims in Collector Industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 17, 2015
WattOvercapacities in the collector industry, declining demand and the associated drop in collector prices have given European manufacturers a hard time. Over the last 12 months, four well-known collector manufacturers in four different countries have had serious financial troubles: Watt in Poland, Astersa in Spain, Solvis in Germany and Clipsol in France all followed fairly different approaches to cope with their financial problems. Only one, Astersa, has disappeared from the market – the other three manufacturers are still in business. The photo shows the inauguration of Watt´s production unit in Poland in 2011 which is put on hold at the moment.
Photo: Watt
 

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