Good news from Germany for Canadian air collector manufacturer Enerconcept: The company has completed its collector tests for the Lubi wall and the roof-mounted Luba GL at the Fraunhofer ISE institute in Freiburg. The collectors meet all of the requirements by the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) and are now eligible for grants. Enerconcept’s German partner, GoGaS Goch, which will sell the air collectors together with its energy-efficient solutions for heating and process heat, is delighted with the success of the combined systems. Solarthermalworld.org met François Brizard, Development Engineer at Enerconcept (left), and Heiko Schneider, Managing Director of GoGaS Goch, at the ISH fair in Frankfurt, Germany.
"With the BAFA subsidy of 180 EUR/m², we are in a very good market position," Schneider said in Frankfurt. "We have several projects in the pipeline, which we will now start." In 2012, GoGaS extended its product range to include the Lubi collectors produced by Canadian manufacturer Enerconcept. GoGaS sells these collectors in Germany together with its gas-driven heaters, which work based on infrared radiation to warm up locations in- and outdoors.
To heat the inside of a factory hall, GoGaS uses low intensity tube heaters. Their steel tubing contains an air-gas mix, which is ignited to provide a relatively low surface temperature of around 350 °C. Low intensity tube heaters direct long-wave infrared energy into the room through the tubes and the radiation-efficient reflectors. Because the combustion process consumes air, it is necessary to ventilate the hall. The Lubi collectors will already preheat the incoming fresh air, increasing the system’s overall efficiency by a wide margin.
Schneider sees an even higher overall efficiency of the system when air collectors preheat industrial processes. "Process heat is needed throughout the year, whereas a factory building must only be heated during the cold season," said Schneider.
Fraunhofer’s test results - which show that the air-collector meets the requirements of the Solar Keymark label and the demands of the BAFA - have been available since 11 March. There has not yet been a Solar Keymark label for air collectors: This certification will only be possible with the introduction of the revised EN 12975 in 2014.
Photo: Stephanie Banse
Brizard is very optimistic about the market prospects of Lubi collectors in Germany. He also expects a positive effect for the Canadian home market in the near future. “At home in Quebec, there are some promising times ahead as the provincial government has announced a new energy saving scheme including solar thermal, which is supposed to run until 2020,” said Brizard. “The US is another very good – because rapidly increasing - market for us right now.”
This text was written by Stephanie Banse, a German journalist specialised in solar thermal technology (banse(@)solrico.com).