There has been growing demand for Aspiration Energy’s (AE) business of delivering systems that provide solar heat for industrial processes (SHIP). In January 2017, the turnkey SHIP supplier based in India completed a second solar field with 600 m² (180 kWth) of vacuum tube collectors for Harita Seating, which is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of automotive seating systems and part of the USD 7 billion TVS group. The first 600 m² system was commissioned in January 2015. Both fields combined meet around 50 % of the heat demand for degreasing and phosphating processes in Harita’s factory. The photo shows the solar thermal control panel in the production facility; the 3,000-litre solar thermal storage tank can be found on the right.
Industrial solar heat is far from being a standard yet, but it is more widespread than you might think. The first World Map of Solar Process Heat Specialists shows 71 companies in 22 countries which reported almost 400 reference systems. Together with additional plants included in the online portal ship-plants.info, the world market for industrial process heat comprises at a minimum 525 plants with an collector or mirror area of at least 416,414 m².
Amul Fed Dairy based in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat is one of the country’s biggest milk-processing plants and is owned by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation. In October 2016, it had a 560 m² parabolic trough collector field installed to allow for the feed-in of solar steam into the factory grid. The INR 15.7 million (around EUR 220,000) system was set up by Thermax, an Indian manufacturer of solar heating and cooling technology. It was designed to reduce gas consumption by about 50,000 m³ each year – which barely meets 0.59 % of the energy demand for the entire facility. India is one of the world’s largest producers of milk, with an annual output of 140 million tonnes, a figure that will probably rise to 200 million by 2022.
The new Union Budget that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented on 1 February 2017 proved the country’s commitment to renewable energy deployment. The funds available to the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) will increase by 9 % from INR 50.36 billion (around EUR 720 million) in 2016-2017 to INR 54.73 billion (about EUR 782 million). There have also been new tax regulations on solar-tempered glass, and the minister announced the creation of a development fund for the dairy processing industry and infrastructure development. The photo shows the inside of the solar-tempered glass factory of Gujarat Borosil Glass Works.
The Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI) and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) have teamed up for the international Solar Payback project, which aims to increase the use of solar thermal energy in industrial processes. The photo shows the partners during the Kick-Off Meeting in Mumbai, India, on 16 December 2016. Supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry funded by the International Climate Initiative, the three-year project will be implemented in India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. It is coordinated by the German Solar Association BSW-Solar and eleven partner organisations: three German companies, plus each target country’s national solar industry association and German chamber of commerce.
India has been witnessing renewed interest in solar thermal in the wake of some successful installations. Dish-type concentrating systems have the potential to generate hot water above 100 °C. But in many places, insufficient space or unsuitable roof structures are roadblocks to increased deployment. Several Indian start-ups have used evacuated tube collectors (ETC) with compound parabolic concentrators (CPC), popularly known as non-imaging collectors in India, for solar process heat applications which require medium-pressure steam at around 150 °C. These collectors consist of evacuated double-glass tubes with bent aluminium mirrors underneath. The CPC mirror guarantees that fewer tubes are required per unit area and over 90 % of the gross collector area is used optically. So far, the aluminium sheets for the systems have been imported, but one local manufacturer will start operations soon.
The IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report or MTRMR 2016 again includes a chapter on renewable heating and cooling – and it’s growing in size. The 282-page document published from Singapore on 25 October analyses on 47 pages the current and future market development of four renewable heating technologies: biomass, solar thermal, geothermal and heat pumps. The IEA began to add a renewable heating chapter to its MTRMR in 2013 – back then, it had only 14 pages. The authors of this year’s edition emphasise the fact that onshore wind and solar PV are the only renewable technologies on track for a 2 °C target.
The new interest subvention scheme for Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) technologies administrated by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is now open for applications. The scheme has been developed in cooperation with the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) during the GEF-UNIDO-MNRE project, which focuses on increasing the deployment of concentrating solar thermal systems for process heat applications in India. “Technology providers or beneficiaries can use a short-term bridge loan at normal interest rates for pre-financing the 30 % capital subsidy that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy grants for CST technologies,” explained Dr Anil Misra, National Project Manager at UNIDO (see photo). IREDA also hands out long-term loans covering up to 45 % of the benchmark system cost at 5 % lower-than-usual interest rates. The remaining 25 % are required as equity by the beneficiary.
The Indian market has started to show signs of recovery in the previous financial year from April 2015 to March 2016. A survey carried out by Indian consultant Jaideep Malaviya found the newly installed collector area to have reached a total of 1.55 million m² (1.085 MWth). The share of vacuum tube based systems had been rising steadily and was almost 90 % of the overall low temperature solar collector market in 2015-2016. Assuming some of the older systems are non-functional, the cumulative market was 8.9 million m² in at the end of March 2016.
Source: MNRE up to and including 2013-2014, market survey by Jaideep Malaviya 2014-2015 and 2015-2016
The Indian Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), a laboratory of the Defence Research Development Organisation, has successfully tested a vacuum tube collector system for space heating at extreme altitudes. The testing site, a troop shelter, was set up last year in the region of Ladakh in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir at the Chang La, a high mountain pass at 5,360 metres above sea level, and the tests were conducted there over the winter. The system stores solar heat harnessed during the day in a phase-change storage tank and uses it to keep the 90 m² shelter warm at night. During the test run, the inside of the shelter showed between 7 and 10 °C while the temperature outside was minus 30 °C.