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District Heating

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.

Sweden: Pioneer of solar district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 13, 2018
Chart: Sven WernerWhen it comes to district heating, Sweden has made the switch from fossil fuels to biomass and waste heat (see chart). As early as 2015, biomass provided 46 % of the energy in district heating networks across the country, followed by 24 % from waste incineration and 8 % from industrial excess heat. Fossil fuels came only to about 7 % of the around 175 petajoules, or PJ, produced in Sweden in 2015 (latest data available). These percentages, and the chart, were taken from a 2017 paper titled District heating and cooling in Sweden, written by Sven Werner, Professor Emeritus at the Swedish Halmstad University. Sweden is one of the participating countries of Task 55 Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into DHC Networks of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling programme. The researchers plan to publish a report with country portraits of selected solar district heating markets in 2019. 
Chart: Sven Werner

Second winter for 75,000 m² SDH heating system in Inner Mongolia

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 11, 2018
Photo: Sohu.comSince October 2016, a 75,000 m² parabolic trough collector field for district heat seems to have been operating in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in China. Ruicheng Zheng from the China Academy of Building Research and Hongzhi Cheng said that they had heard about the system, but that all the information on it was only available online. On 28 December 2017, a news article appeared on sohu.com, one of China’s largest online media companies, stating that the system supplied a shopping centre and a development project known as ZhongCheng International City in the village of HongQing De, near Baotou. The journalist who interviewed the owners of the residential buildings and the shopping centre found customers satisfied with the solar space heating that the system provides. 
Photo: Sohu.com

Big Solar Germany: Utility-scale solar heat at record-low 36 EUR/MWh

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 3, 2018
Christian HolterOperators of several gas-driven combined cycle power plants, or CCPPs, have notified the German Federal Network Agency of their systems’ final shutdown. These plants are no longer economically viable, as they have been running ever fewer hours because of a high proportion of cost-effective renewable grid electricity. Their shutdown will create a shortage of supply in district heating networks providing thermal energy to German municipalities. Utility-scale solar thermal plants equipped with seasonal storage could help close the gap at heat prices of around 36 EUR/MWh, Christian Holter said. Holter is the Managing Director of Austrian turnkey system supplier S.O.L.I.D., which has carried out feasibility studies on behalf of several European cities.

Tibet´s highly subsidised solar heating market

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 2, 2018
Tibet is currently in the focus of the Chinese central government’s efforts to improve the heating situation of the population. The lack of space heating in many buildings in the region, which is subject to a continental climate marked by cold winters, has prompted China’s government to support the installation of solar district heating systems. In addition to Chinese-Danish joint venture Arcon-Sunmark Large-Scale Solar Systems Integration, Chinese parabolic trough collector manufacturer Vicot Solar Technology has signed a contract with the local government to install a solar district heating system in the autonomous region of Tibet. The photo, taken in November 2017, shows one-third of the field’s substructure. The entire installation will have 18,000 m2 of aperture area which is defined as the flat, rectangular area specified by the outer perimeter of the mirrors.
Photo: Vicot Solar Technology
 

NPV, IRR and DDP: The language of bankers and investors

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 27, 2018
Chart: Patrick ReiterIndustry professionals often do not use the same language as bankers and investors when they present solar thermal projects. We have asked Patrick Reiter, who has just finished his master’s thesis, titled Solar District Heating – Economic feasibility of large-scale solar thermal systems in municipal district heating networks – a case from Austria, to explain the most important words and key performance indicators, or KPIs, for the financial feasibility assessment of large-scale solar thermal plants. He studied for his master’s degree at the University of Graz’s Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research. 
Chart: Patrick Reiter

Solar thermal and biomass – a winning solution for district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 18, 2018
Photo: Riccardo BattistiBiomass may be cheap and carbon-neutral, but a solar upgrade of biomass-fired district heating could further improve efficiency and reduce local emissions. For example, solar heat helps avoid having to start up and shut down wood-chip boilers or operate them at partial load. It can even replace backup fossil fuel systems, which provide district heating networks with energy in summer. During a December 2017 webinar, held as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…From Policy to Market, experts from Sweden and Austria showed promising case studies for a clever combination of biomass and solar thermal in district heating.
Photo: Riccardo Battisti
 

Solar district heating on the Roof of the World

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 27, 2018
Photo: Task 55A contract to set up a solar district heating network in Langkazi county in Tibet has been awarded to Arcon-Sunmark Large-Scale Solar Systems. The Chinese-Danish joint venture signed an agreement with the local government of the autonomous region of Tibet. The system should provide solar district heating for 82,600 m² of floor area and meet 90 % of the yearly space heating demand in Langkazi, the town sharing its name with the county. The system, planned to be set up by November, will consist of a 22,000 m² collector field, 15,000 m³ of pit storage and a 3-MW electric boiler. The sponsor of the pilot project is China’s central government.
Photo: Task 55

Solar to replace coal in Polish district heating networks

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 7, 2018
NFOŚiGWZbigniew Kamieński, adviser to the president of NFOŚiGW’s board, has recently made some encouraging statements. During the conference Use of renewable energy sources and seasonal heat storage in district heating in Warsaw on 17 January, he said that the proposal of a new subsidy programme for renewable district heating deserved attention and implementation. The conference with nearly 130 attendees was organised jointly by NFOŚiGW, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, and IEO, the Institute for Renewable Energy, and was supported by the SDHp2m project
All three photos: NFOŚiGW 
 

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