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Process Heat

Clariant: Heat carriers for high stagnation temperatures

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 14, 2008

At the beginning of August the Swiss company Clariant brought a new heat transfer medium for solar thermal systems out onto the market under the name Antifrogen Sol HT. The antifreeze has been designed to survive stagnation temperatures of over 270 °C unscathed.

MTS: International Player from Italy

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 27, 2008

MTS factory in ItalySolar thermal factory in Italy: Flat-plate collectors for the MTS Group’s business are produced at this new site in central Italy.
Photo: MTS Group

Energy Company Bosch Buys Cell Manufacturer Ersol

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 27, 2008

Robert Bosch GmbH has taken over the Thuringian solar cell manufacturer Ersol Solar Energy AG, Germany. In August the world’s largest automotive supplier and electronics company bought up 44.76 % of the shares from the previous majority shareholder Ventizz Capital Partners Advisory AG. Since announcing the takeover in June Bosch has bought up a further 29.34 %.

Front-runners of solar district heating

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 5, 2008

Solar Thermal District Heating
Feeding directly into the district heating system of the Austrian city of Graz: The collector fields are mounted on four different hall roofs belonging to the AEVG, a municipal waste disposal company.

Photo: S.O.L.I.D. / Oberländer

Process Heat: the Solar Thermal Challenge of the Future

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 15, 2008

So far solar thermal technology is mostly used for domestic hot water, pool heating and room heating. It´s often forgotten that there is a huge demand for heat below 250 °C in industry, which can easily be reached with solar thermal collectors.

An international team of researchers working on behalf of the International Energy Agency estimated the realisable potential of solar process heat in the European Union at 100 GWth, which corresponds to 140 million m2 of collector area. T

Today, however, a solar thermal capacity of only 13.5 GWth is in operation across Europe. Task 33 of the International Energy Agency reported 85 solar process heat plants worldwide with a capacity of 27 MWth. However, this market segment seems to be waking up. Just recently, news about huge solar process heat installations did the rounds. There is the 13,000 m2 plant in Hangzhou, China, on the roof of the textile dyeing factory Daly Ltd., which is most probably the biggest installation for solar process heat in the world. The total investment adds up to RMB 12 million (€ 1.11 million) including the tanks and mounting system. According to the project developer, the Chinese company Shenzhen Quir Solar Technology Co., Ltd, the solar collectors will save RMB 3.38 million (€ 0.31 million) per year, so that the investment will pay off within 3 years. The hot water is provided at a low temperature of 55 °C. Secondly, this summer the German brewery Hofmühl GmbH in Eichstätt will start operating a pilot plant with 1,389 m2 of vacuum tube collectors, which will supply process heat between 90 and 140 °C to the brewing and cleaning processes. The owner of the system estimates a reduction of 20 % in the annual energy demand of the factory. The company is convinced that the investment will pay off and has plans for subsequent upsizing to 3,000 m2. The project is being subsidised by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

What are the main topics for the future to open this new market sector?

What are solar thermal systems made of?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

Flat plat collectors are made of metal, glass, insulating and joining materials. Typically copper, steel or aluminium is used for the absorber configuration. The sides and bottom of the collector are usually metal and insulated with mineral wool to minimize heat loss. The glass top is made of special glass to resist facture and maximise transmission of energy. In the future, a variety of materials and combinations of materials including plastics may be used to improve cost benefits ratios, higher temperature ranges and systems performance.

What can solar thermal technology be used for?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

There is a wide variety of applications for solar thermal technology. The most common application is the heating of pool water, the heating of domestic hot water and space heating. Not very wide spread yet are solar cooling systems, because of the complexity of the technology and the high initial investment costs.

Which are the major solar thermal markets worldwide?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

By far the largest solar thermal market in the world according to newly installed solar thermal capacity per year is China. In 2008, around 21 GWth (30 million m2) were sold in China, which was around 80 % of the world global solar thermal market.

Is solar thermal technology still a niche market?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on May 9, 2008

There are a number of mature markets like Israel, Austria, Barbados, China or Cyprus where solar thermal is used by a wide majority of people for heating the domestic hot water and sometimes for room heating.

Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap up to 2020

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 30, 2008

Published in January 2007, by EREC (European Renewable Energy Council), the document shows the ambitions of the European Renewable Energy Industry to reach the EU targets for 2020 for different sectors, including electricity, heating & cooling, and biofuels.
It provides roadmaps for each sector, predicting its development and the conditions under which progress can be made.

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