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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
 

Austria: Mysolar Offers to Replace Old Solar Thermal Collectors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 9, 2015
DünhofenIn a country with a high market penetration of solar water heaters and a decline in new installations, companies have to look for new business opportunities elsewhere. For example, Austrian installation company Mysolar specialises in replacing old solar water heaters which have been losing efficiency because of aging collectors. At a fixed price, the company will replace old collectors by new ones. 
Photo: Mysolar
 

Germany: Debate about Voluntary Collector Output Label Solergy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 4, 2015
Supporters SolergyThe new collector label Solergy has just been created and has already sparked a lot of debate in Germany. On the one hand, there is a growing number of collector manufacturers, associations and also the certification body DIN Certco – which are supporting the implementation of the label (see the list of logos at the beginning of November). On the other hand, there are the European bodies relevant to the solar thermal sector, such as the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) and the Solar Keymark Network (SKN), which are not in favour of Solergy, although they do fancy the idea behind such a collector energy output label. To understand the reasons for the controversy, one has to look at the evolution of the label. 
Source: solar-heating-initiative.com

 

 

IEA SHC Task 51: Urban Planners Know Little about Solar Energy Potential

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 3, 2015
IEA SHC Task 51During IEA SHC Task 51, Solar Energy in Urban Planning, the project partners evaluated the legal, process and education issues of solar in urban planning across the twelve member countries. What they found was: Planners and architects know little about the opportunities of solar energy usage. Solar energy in urban planning is also rarely a topic during university courses for architects or urban planners. The photo shows participants of the latest Task 51 meeting visiting a big PV installation. The meeting was held on the French island of Réunion from 28 September to 2 October. The task is about all types of solar energy. 
Photo: Maria Wall
 

IEA SHC: Start of International Research Network on GW-Sized Solar Thermal Plants

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 23, 2015
The IEA’s solar heating and cooling programme has begun its research activities on solar thermal systems of gigawatt size. Scientists, industry representatives and utilities have been invited to participate in a definition workshop for a new task in the Austrian city of Graz on 5 November 2015. Sabine Putz, COO and R&D Manager at S.O.L.I.D., an Austrian large-scale turnkey system supplier, has proposed a four-year research programme entitled Large Scale Solar District Heating and Cooling Systems, which aims at studying economic, engineering and quality factors influencing solar district heating and cooling systems above 3.5 MW and up to GW size. 
 

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
 

Solar Cooling: From Research to Market Competitiveness

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 6, 2015
Otti SAC 2015Diligent research on small scale low-temperature chillers, the launch of a new generation of compact solar cooling units and large-scale plants able to compete economically with conventional cooling solutions: These are just some of the main trends which were discussed during the 6th International Conference on Solar Air-Conditioning organised by German company East-Bavarian Institute for Technology Transfer, OTTI, Rome, Italy, on 24/25 September. The photo shows Conference Chairwoman Prof Ursula Eicker from the University of Applied Sciences, Stuttgart, Germany (forth from left in first row) together with the international scientific committee consisting of researchers from Germany, Spain, Greece, Italy, France, China, Austria and Cyprus.
Photo: OTTI
 

South Africa: Roadmap Sets 21 GWth target for 2030

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 17, 2015
Roadmap South AfricaAround 21 GWth (30 million m² of collector area) are to be installed in South Africa by 2030 – half a square metre per inhabitant. More than 200,000 additional jobs could be created by then. These are the ambitious targets of the South African Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap, SA-STTRM. It is a challenging target when compared with the only around 2.3 million m² which were installed in the country by 2014, but a realistic one when compared with the current deployment rates of countries such as Cyprus with 0.6 m²/head or Israel with 0.54 m²/head at the end of 2013. The chart shows the projected total solar thermal collector area between 2014 and 2030 based on the aim of reaching 0.5 m² of installed collector area per inhabitant by 2030. 
Chart: Roadmap draft from March 2015
 

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