Tunisia is venturing into another completely new solar thermal application area: solar process heat. After having started the national support programme Prosol first in 2005 for residential solar water heaters, then in 2009 for hotels, hamams (Turkish baths), academic houses and hospitals, Prosol Industry is now already the third scheme supporting solar thermal in the country. The National Fund for Energy Management, FNME, provides 30 % of the investment costs for a solar thermal process heat system, up to 75 Tunisian Dinar (TND) per m². The first step in the process was carrying out a market study, which identified 84 industrial premises and investigated their degree of commitment to using solar technology. The photo shows a successful FNME-supported installation at the Djerba Beach Hotel with 312 m² of collector area and a 15 m³ storage volume.
“Of the 84 industrial estates, 38 (45 %) were very interested and another 8 were interested in using the sun to reduce their energy bill,” Abdelkader Baccouche of Tunisia's National Agency for Energy Conservation, ANME, said in his presentation at the SHC 2013 in Germany in the middle of September (see the attached document). On the recommendations of the first feasibility studies, he added: “We decided to choose production plants supplied by LPG and fuel oil to decrease payback time. We also decided to first focus on process temperature below 90 °C, in order to reduce the complexity and to install mature technologies. In a second step, we will focus on processes with a temperature range between 90 and 250 °C.”
The ANME carried out 40 pre-studies, resulting in 10 detailed feasibility studies. The objective has been to realise at least one demonstration plant with a monitoring device until the end of the year. The implementation of this pilot project will be supported by the Italian Ministry for the Environment and it will take place in a textile factory with an installation size of almost 1,000 m² of flat plate collectors.
The next phase of the implementation of the PROSOL Industry scheme will be supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry, BMU, within the frame of a 5-year project translated as “Distribution of innovative solar thermal applications throughout the Tunisian industrial sector”- or DASTII -between 2012 and 2017. Project partners entail the ANME, the GIZ and German research institute Fraunhofer ISE. The project will focus on temperatures between 90 and 250°C.
Baccouche also presented the latest statistics for PROSOL Tertiary, the support scheme started in 2009 to increase the number of solar water heaters mainly in hotels. By the end of 2012, 14,000 m² of collector area were installed – a great increase from the yearly average of 4,000 m² in 2009 and the 90 m² in 2007. According to Baccouche, 60 hotels are involved in the programme, of which 30 have already installed asolar water heating system.