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District Heating

Optimised control strategy for solar district heating in Italy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 20, 2018
Photo: Linea Reti e ImpiantiDespite its small size, the solar district heating system in Lodi, close to Milan, is one of few in Italy to feed surplus heat into a local network. In March 2017, Linea Reti e Impianti, the public utility based in this city of 45,000, started buying heat produced by a 192 m² solar thermal installation. The system is owned by Sporting Lodi, a public-private partnership that operates the local sports centre, which includes a swimming pool (see photo). Marco Calderoni, a researcher working at the Politecnico di Milano, and his colleagues have recently suggested using a new approach to reduce the supply temperature in the solar circuit to increase performance. This article is based on a presentation given by Calderoni during the 5th International Solar District Heating Conference in Graz in April. 
Photo: Linea Reti e Impianti

Rising demand for solar heat in large buildings and industry

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 6, 2018
SHW 1By the end of 2017, the market for solar heating and cooling had grown by 472 GWth, which again made it the largest for solar energy in the world. The one for photovoltaic systems gained 402 GWp to become the second-largest, and 5 GWel was enough for concentrating solar power to rank third, according to the latest Solar Heat Worldwide report. The report also highlights the rising use of megawatt-class solar heating and cooling solutions for large public and residential buildings, as well as factories. It was launched at the end of May by the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC). Lead author is the Austrian research institute AEE INTEC.
Source of all figures: Solar Heat Worldwide

A survey of the global market for concentrating collectors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 1, 2018
Graphic: Solar PaybackConcentrating collector technologies are becoming an increasingly popular choice for customers requiring industrial heat or space heating. This year’s Renewables 2018 Global Status Report includes, for the first time, data regarding new installations of concentrating systems. Published at the beginning of June by the Paris-based REN21 network, it states that a minimum of 143 MWth was set up in 2017. The largest markets were Oman (100 MWth), China (15 MWth), Italy (14 MWth), India (2.8 MWth) and Mexico (2.8 MWth). The image shows the three technologies available for sale. 
Graphic: Solar Payback

SDH prefeasibility studies in Bosnia and Croatia

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 29, 2018
Source: CoolHeatingIn early 2016, EU-funded CoolHeating began using the know-how acquired during best practice projects in Austria, Denmark and Germany to help with the implementation of small modular renewable heating and cooling grids in southeastern Europe. In mid-March, the CoolHeating partners published seven prefeasibility studies of district heating and cooling across five municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. Because of geographical features, most projects favoured biomass, but solar thermal does play a crucial role in the proposals created for the Bosnian town of Visoko (see map) and the Croatian city of Ozalj. 
Source: CoolHeating

On-site collector testing: new standard in development

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 17, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiOnce a large solar field is set up at its designated location, what tests can be conducted to show that it performs as expected? Soon, the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme may have an answer to this question, as it is working on internationalising Denmark’s testing procedure. No decision has been made on whether the procedure will become part of a full-fledged standard or be turned into a technical specification. 
Photo: Riccardo Battisti

How to identify suitable areas for SDH

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2018
Chart: Hamburg InstitutThough the availability of areas for large solar district heating plants remains a major point of contention, there are ways to expand the market. They include detailed local heat plans, the use of unconventional, e.g., polluted or contaminated, areas, and awareness raising among public and private stakeholders. A webinar organised as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…from Policy to Market put a spotlight on these topics in February. A recording of the session is available online.
Chart: Hamburg Institut
 

First Spanish solar district heating system for 12,000 families

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 7, 2018
Source: Ayuntamiento de Alcalá de HenaresIn February, Alcalá Ecoenergías signed a deal to construct a district heating system powered by solar and biomass in Alcalá de Henares, a city in Spain. The agreement between the local company and the municipal government will lead to one of the country’s first-ever large-scale solar district heating systems, intended to provide 12,000 homes with renewable heat. The EUR 38 million investment, of which EUR 32 million have been allocated for biomass and EUR 6 million for solar thermal, near Spain’s capital of Madrid is expected to be completed by late 2019 (see the design study on the left). Several other solar district heating projects are under development. 
Source: Ayuntamiento de Alcalá de Henares

Record participation at SDH 2018 in Graz

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 3, 2018
Photo: Climate and Energy FundThe 5th International Solar District Heating Conference, which took place in Graz, Austria, in mid-April, brought together 350 experts from 33 countries. It had twice as many attendees as the previous one in Billund, Denmark, in 2016 and attracted representatives from several development banks, such as the German KfW, the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank via its group member International Finance Corporation, or IFC. The photo shows the conference’s supporters and its three organisers, namely Christian Fink (second from left), Austrian research institute AEE INTEC; Thomas Pauschinger (fifth from left in the back), German research institute Solites; and  Werner Lutsch, Managing Director of the German Heat & Power Association, or AGFW for short (second from right). 
Photo: Climate and Energy Fund

Parabolic trough collector production line shipped to China

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 24, 2018
Photo: AbsoliconAbsolicon, a Swedish supplier of concentrating solar thermal technology, has recently delivered its first production line to a Chinese company. The equipment to manufacture parabolic trough collectors, which the Swedish business developed in-house, arrived in China in mid-April. The line is now being set up at Heli New Energy Technology, in the country’s southwestern province of Sichuan. The photo, which dates from December 2016, shows the partners involved in the project after they signed the purchase agreement for the system. Heli New Energy is a joint venture between two Chinese companies, namely Xinkun, a family-owned manufacturer, and Jointeam, an energy project developer.
Photo: Absolicon 

“Contract market fluctuates from year to year”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 17, 2018
Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark2017 was a difficult year for solar district heating supplier Arcon-Sunmark based in Denmark. The collector manufacturer’s turnover dropped from Danish Krone (DKK) 457 million, or USD 75 million, to DKK 98 million, or USD 16.2 million, according to a press release published on 21 March 2018. The uncertain country’s energy policy caused a delay in the launch of new SDH projects in the second half of 2016. Consequently, pre-tax profit went from DKK 46 million (USD 7.6 million) in 2016 to minus DKK 99 million (USD 16.3 million) in 2017. “We have made the necessary adjustments. At the same time, we have invested in retaining the clear market leader position that we achieved over the years,” Ole Dalby, CEO of Arcon-Sunmark (see photo), said.

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