Interview with Philippe Papillon from INES, made during ESTEC 2011 conference in Marseille. Philippe speaks of his organisation's work on solar thermal energy. 30% of the 15-strong team's time is spent on system design and testing, with a main focus on auxiliary consumption and the reduction of cost of solar energy. They also work on component design, specifically targetting preliminary components as an effective way to reduce costs. After identifying chillers in solar cooling technology as a weakpoint, they have prioritised accordingly, and have also highlighted thermochemical storage as the most effective technology for energy storage.
In the future, Philippe sees huge potential for the solar thermal industry, but reemphasises that efforts should focus on raising quality and lowering cost. At present, solar heat is too expensive to have good dissemination and efforts should increase to improve the training of workers and regulatory environment that will enable industry growth.