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IEA SHC: New Task to Use Solar Energy for Water Treatment

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 5, 2017
AEE INTECOn 18 September, there will be a definition meeting for a new task called Solar Energy in Industrial Water Management in Gleisdorf, Austria. The initiator of this international research project within the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme is Christoph Brunner from Austrian organisation AEE INTEC. The aim will be to investigate and improve solar-powered water separation and purification in industrial settings. Researchers and industry representatives are invited to attend the one-day workshop to discuss the agenda and the structure of the global initiative. The photo shows AEE INTEC’s laboratory-size membrane distillation system.
Photo: AEE INTEC
 

Low-Energy Buildings: Solar Thermal, PV or Heat Pump?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 1, 2017
Woche der SonneWhat is the best way to supply heat and power to low-energy buildings? Although there is no single answer to this question, solarthermalworld.org simulated the installation of a solar thermal unit, a PV system, a heat pump and a gas boiler in a low-energy house in southern Germany. The results show that solar technologies are significantly more profitable than heat pump systems. The largest solar field – consisting of 10 m² each of PV and solar thermal combined with a gas boiler – has by far the lowest cost (EUR 35,876) over 20 years in operation. 
 

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. 
 

Switzerland: Rising Interest in PVT Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 1, 2017
PVT CaotecThe Swiss-based SPF - Institute of Solar Technology has recently published a report on behalf of EnergieSchweiz, a programme by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, about the market situation of PV-thermal technologies (PVT) in Switzerland and across all of Europe (see attached document in German). The researchers from SPF have found that there are various market-ready and proven products available. They counted around 300 PVT installations in Switzerland alone. A particularly good example is shown on the photo: a PVT installation integrated into the facade of an office building. 
Photo: Caotec
 

Europe: Collector Field Is Main Cost Driver of Industrial Solar Heat Plants

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 31, 2017
Otti SymposiumScientists from Germany and Switzerland have recently analysed the cost structures of systems producing solar process heat. They presented their findings in mid-May at the Solar Thermal Energy Symposium, where they said they had identified great potential for cost-cutting and discovered a large spread of installation prices. Planning SHIP systems involved more work than doing the same for domestic applications, but it was the collectors that made up the lion’s share of the investment. The three-day symposium attracted around 230 experts from research and industry. As Germany’s major annual conference on solar heating and cooling, it focused this year on turnkey heating solutions, including solar ones for the housing market and industrial processes. It was the 27th symposium and, at the same time, the last one organised by the East-Bavarian Institute for Technology Transfer, OTTI, which filed for bankruptcy in February 2017. The symposium’s board of advisers has taken over sponsorship until a new conference organiser is found for 2018 (see attached flyer in German). 
Photo: OTTI
 

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
 

IEA SHC: New Task to Push Emerging PVT Industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 15, 2017
Inventors and start-ups have been trying to combine photovoltaic and solar thermal collectors into one product for many years. Finally, a new industry seems to be emerging. The IEA SHC task Application of PVT collectors and new solutions with PVT systems, which is currently being defined, intends to become the go-to platform for the young technology. It is scheduled for approval by the IEA SHC executive committee in November 2017 and is planned to start in January 2018. The first Task Definition Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, in May attracted great interest from the industry.
 

IRENA: Renewable District Heating and Cooling Roadmap to 2030

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 27, 2017
District Heating PotentialThe International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has published an industry roadmap for Renewable Energy in District Heating and Cooling (DHC) as part of its REmap 2030 project. This study analysed the current state of the DHC market in eleven countries – with a focus on district heating in seven and one on district cooling in the other four – and examined the long-term potential of the two technologies in these countries (see the attached PDF). The countries chosen for the study have distinctly different market environments. Two of them are Denmark and Switzerland, which have had the highest share of renewables in their energy supply (around 40 %); a third one is China, the largest market for DHC today, but one on which renewable energy has yet to play a role at all. The chart shows the key factors impacting the potential of renewable DHC. The aim of the renewable energy roadmap (REmap) programme is to show a path towards doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030.
Chart: IRENA
 

6. Nationale Solarwärme-Tagung 2017, Dübendorf

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 13, 2017
The 6th Nationale Solarwärme-Tagung will take place on 8 November at NEST Forschungs- und Innovationsgebäude, Dübendorf, Switzerland. All presentations will be performed in German.
 

Miraah in Oman: “Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 25, 2017
GlasspointReplacing gas with sunshine for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is a cost-effective solution. This is the key message of US-based company Glasspoint, which has mobilised the biggest investment ever in a solar steam-producing unit in Oman. State-owned Petroleum Development Oman is building a concentrating solar thermal collector field called Miraah next to the Amal West oilfield. Once complete, it will generate more than a gigawatt of solar thermal power to drive EOR operations – saving Oman about 5.6 trillion BTUs of natural gas each year. 
Photo: Glasspoint
 

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