FROM GREEN DEAL TO GREEN RECOVERY: A JOINT INITIATIVE OF THE EU SOLAR INDUSTRY

View Full Statement  in PDF 

In early 2020, the proposal of the European Commission to launch a “Green Deal” set an ambitious double objective for the sake of European citizens’ wealth and health : increasing the European contribution to fight climate change while boosting the European economy.

Within a few months, the COVID-19 crisis added a dramatic level of urgency to act – beyond single national interests. What is needed is no longer a “boost”, but an unprecedented cooperation to “recover” the severely hit European economy under the unchanged or even increasing threat of climate change. European leaders are called to act and transform this urgency into an opportunity, without delay. This is also what the European Solar Industry is committed to.

In this context, the role of the European Solar Industry remains primarily to support the fight against climate change. It brings immediately available solutions to decarbonise energy systems while opening wide business opportunities and creating sustainable jobs – which are at the heart of a Green Recovery for the European continent.

The decarbonisation challenge applies to three sectors: electricity, heating and cooling and transport. Electricity appears today as the relatively easier-to-reach target, while heat and even more transport, are facing complex challenges and will need more time and effort. However, a smart integration of Concentrated Solar Thermal Technologies (CST) in energy policies will result in innovative multi-technologies solutions impacting not just one, but the three above-mentioned sectors.

ONE SOLAR INDUSTRY FOR EUROPE

The times of industries competing for the deployment of single technologies is over. Solar PV and wind hold and will keep the larger share of installed capacity. The least cost substitution of fossil-based energies comes usually first when countries go through the initial first phase of their energy transition. Unfortunately, this shifted key know-how and essential industrial production capacities of components to non-EU competitors. This should not happen again. A smart integration of the best blend of European technologies will avoid this technological drain and provide sustainable solutions, i.e. adapted to real needs – at real costs.

Therefore, the European “solar industry” can no longer be addressed only as the PV sector, discarding the considerable assets of CST. Today, markets and regulations frame a competition between companies and economies, not between technologies. Presenting the “solar industry” as reduced to PV does not reflect the business reality: not only large corporations, but also many SMEs and research entities in many European countries are working in parallel on sustainable answers using solar technologies. This demonstrates that CST is not a competitor, but a driver for the further deployment of solar electricity generation in and outside Europe proving its competitiveness versus CCGT and even more, versus coal.

WHAT CAN CST DELIVER TO THE ELECTRICITY SECTOR?

The European solar thermal industry can provide power on demand at utility scale without further delay, at lower costs than renewable electricity stored in batteries or hydrogen. This is the timely answer to the challenge of intermittency of PV and wind at sustainable costs. This is possible via:

  • Complementing PV generation after sunset which will contribute to achieve a more ambitious overall deployment of renewables with a higher impact on decarbonisation and prevent overinvestments in non-dispatchable technologies.
  • Constructing new innovative CSP plants with large thermal storage capacity in Southern Europe and EU neighbouring countries with the best solar resources.
  • Revamping not only existing CSP plants, but also fossil-fired installations with thermal storage facilities allowing a further use of existing generation and grid connection infrastructures.
  • Using all cooperation mechanisms provided by the European Commission between Member States and even with the EU Neighbourhood (Southern/ Eastern).
  • All this will result in substantially reduced PV curtailments, with an optimised use of natural resources across the continent, allowing shared benefits of bulk storage capacities and new strategic reserves among more Member States.

WHAT CAN CST DELIVER TO THE DECARBONISATION OF THE INDUSTRY SECTOR?

The decarbonisation of the industrial sector is lagging behind. Major contributions by renewable energy must be achieved through high temperature process heat, sustainable fuels and reducing agents. This goes far beyond the potential that can be covered by biomass alone. This role and potential of CST is particularly important for Southern Europe.

  • CST can provide and store high temperature heat (up to 900°C) at costs clearly below renewable fuels or electricity-based options.
  • CST can provide power and high temperature heat with a very high capacity factor (7000h/year) to enable the decarbonisation of industrial processes.
  • Due to these characteristics, it also allows an efficient operation of renewable fuel production facilities at constant load and at high capacity factors – both essential to reduce the fuel costs.
  • It has the potential to decarbonise heat grids, as it can provide and store heat more efficiently at suitable temperature levels (120°C), compared to non-concentrating collectors, even in central European climate zones.

WHY?

  • Because CST is the cheapest renewable technology to avoid fossil energy backup, making the energy transition easier in Southern European countries.
  • To reap the benefits of the complementarity between PV and CST especially, but also between wind and CST, to make a larger penetration of renewables into the EU electricity sector possible.
  • To reflect the currently non-considered value of storage in upcoming auctions for new renewable capacities and the full system costs.
  • To release the macroeconomic benefits of renewables for Europe.
  • To foster European innovation and keep the European technological leadership in the field of CST, which is just at the beginning of its learning curve. Substantial cost reductions are expected, if backed by strong R&I resources and a proven track record for industrial implementation.

WHEN?

  • CST can make a sustainable energy transition happen right now, without waiting for “hoped-for-viability” of other solutions. It will help match the upcoming bulk storage needs in the electricity and process heat sectors that could be used for harder-to-decarbonise industries.
  • CST is a mature solar technology with a track record of over more than three decades and has already ‘pulled’ the development phase of a “solar industry” in Europe.

WHAT IS THE REAL COST/BENEFIT RATIO OF A LARGER USE OF CST?

When confronting the two-fold objective of a “Green recovery”, the use of LCOEs as only metric for investment decisions is no longer suitable for guiding investments, since CST technologies are just at the beginning of the learning curve with significant further cost reductions expected.

The real ratio between incurred costs and benefits must include a correct valuation of:

  • the added flexibility to the electricity systems via thermal storage;
  • the environmental impact for each sector (reduction of CO2 and GHG);
  • the part of hidden or externalised costs of single technology choices in the total system costs;
  • geopolitical effects on world markets and support to the European Union’s Neighbourhood Instrument policies;
  • societal and macroeconomic impacts on national economies due to new business cases for European companies with more sustainable jobs (local engineering, construction, and component supply chain as well as related services) that can not only substitute but also create jobs in the fossil energy sector;
  • the recognised excellency of European research that brought to Europe a still undisputed technology and innovation leadership in CST.

CALL FOR ACTION

  • Include CST and its characteristics into national regulatory framework conditions and tendering schemes for renewables electricity projects. The design of future auctions should include a market-based valuation of the flexibility added to the system by new capacity – under consideration of shifted or hidden costs of other generation sources (“cost channelling”).
  • Adapt the current “least cost” system planning model that was supportive to the deployment of fossil energy sources in the past; but this is no longer adequate for planning systems with a high share of renewables.
  • Provide access to comparable financial conditions – as available to non-EU competitors on world markets.
  • Finalise the features of currently prepared new financial support mechanisms (CEF, IF) to allow CST to fairly compete for eligibility.
  • Extend the concept of a “sector coupling” that should be understood as a coupling of all assets and resources of all renewables where there is a win in efficiency or costs compared to the use of “decarbonised gas” or biogas.
  • Support large scale CST demonstration projects for high temperature process heat and industrial decarbonisation projects within a more ambitious European innovation ecosystem.
  • Improve funding to the R&I initiatives along the full CST value chain to defend and consolidate the unique worldwide technology leadership of European companies.

 View Full Statement  in PDF

176 signatories from European companies, research entities and associations.

Recuperado de: https://www.estelasolar.org/20200528_joint-initiative-of-the-eu-solar-industry/

Absolicon gets grant for solar thermal plant in Sweden

The Swedish Energy Agency has made a EUR-800,000 (USD 877,000) grant to Absolicon Solar Collector AB for what the latter says will be Europe’s largest solar thermal field for district heating with small concentrated parabolic troughs.

Absolicon’s founder Joakim Byström. Photographer: Lars Wahlström

The project in question will be realised at a site in the city of Harnosand at a total cost of about EUR 1.6 million. It is the result of a study called Future District Heating that was co-financed by Region Vasternorrland, certain firms and by the municipalities of Harnosand, Kramfors and Solleftea.

The demo plant is expected to be finalised next year and if the project is deemed successful, the city could eventually accommodate a larger system of this type, the announcement says.

“In Harnosand, a solar collector plant ten times as large as this demonstration plant and a seasonal warehouse that can store solar heat from summer to winter means that you will be able to completely stop burning fuels in the heating plant during the summer,” said Joakim Bystrom, CEO of Absolicon.

Concentrated Solar Power in Cyprus

Homeowners and businesses in Cyprus showed growing interest in solar thermal technology over the last two years. Collector area additions on the island increased by 5 % in 2018 and by 24 % in 2019 after a small decline in 2017. The growth in collector capacity was the result of an overall good economy and the grants that the government offered for residential solar thermal systems. The photo shows one of the most recently added industrial solar heat systems, designed and installed by German supplier Protarget in 2018. This field of parabolic trough collectors has an aperture area of 288 m2 and provides high-temperature steam for Kean Soft Drinks’ juice factory in Limassol.

“The growth in the construction sector and the government’s campaign to get more energy-efficient installations, including solar systems, up and running have had a positive impact on the solar thermal market,” said Panayiotis Kastanias, of the Cyprus Employers and Business Owners Federation, known as OEB. The campaign included flyers, TV adverts, hoardings and social media outreach. Furthermore, Kastanias added, the country’s solar thermal manufacturers have steadily improved their products and have invested in research and development as well. In all, they produced between 60 % and 70 % of the annual collector additions in the last years, with the remainder being imported mostly from Greece and China.

The country’s grant scheme for solar water heaters has been in place since 2006, although the budget for incentives is approved on an annual basis. In 2019, the government made EUR 300,000 available to fund about 1,000 systems. Replacing an entire system is supported with EUR 350; exchanging only the collector panels will net applicants EUR 175. Because of Covid-19, this year’s grants will reportedly be distributed no earlier than June.

The data on the growth of Cyprus’s solar thermal market originates from annual surveys conducted by the Cyprus Association of Solar Thermal Business Owners (EBHEK). The figures for the flat plate collector area were estimated based on data supplied by the country’s statistical office.

The currently largest SHIP plant on the island is a 760 m² pilot system that was installed at a copper mine in 2013. Put up by Jordan-based Millennium Energy Industries, this field of flat plate collectors uses three solar loops to deliver heat at temperatures ranging from 20 °C to 50 °C to the copper plating baths on site.

The SHIP system put up at Kean Soft Drinks, one of Cyprus’s largest fruit juice producers, is also used for demonstration purposes and has a number of distinctive features. Highly efficient vacuum receiver tubes incorporated into the parabolic trough collectors of the system and a silicone-based thermal oil make it possible to generate steam at up to 425 °C. This steam is used to pasteurise and preserve the fruit juice produced in the factory and reduce the consumption of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by about 15 % annually. The thermal oil was developed by Wacker Chemie, Germany, in collaboration with Protarget, which aimed to create a heat transfer fluid that would not break down even at 400 °C to 450 °C.

“By integrating the SolidTES thermal storage system, steam can be generated around the clock, since it is an essential component of most industrial processes,” said Martin Scheuerer, Managing Director of Protarget, a German-based technology supplier and project developer. SolidTES was developed by Spanish-based CADE Engineered Technologies and consists of modules that allow solid-state storage at up to 500 °C. The modules are composed of solid blocks filled with a mineral composite that shows high thermal performance, with steel tube heat exchangers running across them (see photo below). At Kean Soft Drinks, thermal oil is used as the fluid transferring heat between the parabolic trough collectors and the storage system, but SolidTES can also be charged and discharged by using molten salt, air, pressurised water or steam.

SolidTES module installed inside a container at Kean. The module has a storage capacity of 300 kWh. Depending on requirements, the solar system switches fully automatically between the supply of heat to the steam boiler or to the storage tank.

“Feeding solar thermal energy directly into the existing steam infrastructure of our factory lowers the fuel consumption and the carbon footprint of our conventional fuel boilers significantly,” said Stelios Constantinou, Technical Manager at Kean. The thermal oil is heated to 425 °C to generate steam in a heat exchanger that has the required operating temperature of 185 °C, as used in the factory’s steam grid.

“The concentration solar thermal system has been running for two years and has proved itself to be a reliable and cost-effective source of thermal energy. It also requires very little maintenance,” said Constantinou. “As a result, we have decided to expand our existing solar facility to further reduce Kean’s dependence on fossil fuel and lower CO2 emissions.”

As part of Kean’s strategy to improve energy efficiency, Protarget has designed and commissioned a 220 m² CPC vacuum tube solar field that runs at over 100 °C to preheat boiler feed water to 85 °C. Since being commissioned in early 2020, the system has contributed a great deal to the company’s cost-cutting efforts, as it has lowered fuel consumption by 10 % a year.

Scheuerer sees great potential for more industrial solar heat plants in Cyprus, considering the island is blessed with enormous amounts of sunlight. Other factors in favour of solar are the country’s high fuel prices and a lack of natural gas resources. Even without financial support, which is only provided for residential systems, industrial solar heat plants have payback periods of three to four years.

solarthermalworld

La termosolar Cerro Dominador, la primera de Chile y Latinoamérica, iza e instala su receptor solar a 220 metros de altura

Se trata de uno de los últimos hitos de la construcción del proyecto termosolar que ejecutan Acciona y Abengoa en el desierto de Atacama (Chile) y que es propiedad de EIG Global Energy Partners.
Con un peso de 2.300 toneladas, esta pieza de alta complejidad concentrará la radiación solar proyectada desde los 10.600 heliostatos que rodean la torre
Es la primera vez que se realiza esta maniobra en un proyecto de este tipo a nivel mundial.

El proyecto termosolar Cerro Dominador, propiedad de EIG Global Energy Partners y que construyen ACCIONA y Abengoa en el desierto de Atacama en Chile, ha protagonizado, en las últimas semanas, uno de los hitos clave antes de su próxima entrada en operación: el izado e instalación de su receptor solar a 220 metros de altura. El mismo se ubicó en la parte más alta de la torre central del complejo, que está rodeada por 10.600 heliostatos.

En concreto, la maniobra se completó en las últimas semanas, con el posicionamiento del receptor (pieza de alta complejidad que pesa 2.300 toneladas) en el octógono de cimentación, ubicado en a 220 metros de altura en la torre central de la planta termosolar. La función del receptor es concentrar la radiación solar reflejada desde los heliostatos que se ubican alrededor de la torre de 250 metros y, así, calentar las sales que se almacenarán para generar electricidad.

La maniobra completa duró una semana desde el ingreso del receptor en una cavidad ubicada en la base de la torre. Una vez en su interior, con 16 gatos industriales hidráulicos, se realizó el proceso de izado del mismo hasta la parte superior de la construcción. La velocidad de ascenso no superó los 5 metros por hora, por exigencias de seguridad y dada la complejidad técnica de todo el procedimiento.

“Estamos muy orgullosos de haber logrado este hito. Continuamos avanzando sin pausa en la construcción de este proyecto icónico para la región”, sostuvo Fernando González, Ceo de Cerro Dominador.

“Es la primera vez que se realiza esta maniobra a nivel mundial en este tipo de proyectos”, tal y como ha explicado el director de proyecto por parte de Abengoa en Cerro Dominador, Héctor Berlangieri, quien, además, explicó que la idea conceptual e ingeniería de la operación surgen de la compañía española.

Por su parte, Luis Pérez, site manager de ACCIONA en el proyecto, explicó la gran complejidad técnica de esta maniobra de izado: “Se necesita un control total sobre la velocidad de ascenso del receptor, limitada aproximadamente a unos 6 metros por hora. Estamos realmente orgullosos de participar en un proyecto tan singular como este y del compromiso que todos estamos demostrando para que salga adelante.”

IIT-M researchers develop low cost Solar Parabolic Trough Collector for use in desalination, space heating, space cooling

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have developed a low cost Solar ‘Parabolic Trough Collector’ (PTC) system for concentrating solar energy with industrial applications in areas such as desalination, space heating and space cooling, among others. This indigenously designed and developed system was lightweight with high energy efficiency under Indian various climatic and load conditions.

«The system can be integrated effectively with various process heat applications and help manufacturers and researchers in solar energy make devices with higher efficiency», a release from the IIT-M said today. The National Solar Mission was launched with the target of providing 20,000 MW through solar power by 2022. However, lower rate of energy generation through solar power was a major roadblock in achieving this target.

Technologies such as this one developed by IIT-M researchers could help meet this target. Prof K Srinivas Reddy, Heat Transfer and Thermal Power Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT-M, who led the research, said solar energy technology was the most propitious technology for clinching sustainability in the energy domain. Particularly, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology could meet thermal and electrical energy demands due to its high dispatchability and reliability.

States such as Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, among others, have great potential to harness this energy, which could reduce the combustion of non-renewable and polluting sources of energy such as coal and petroleum, the release said. The research team tested the efficiency of this installed system in terms of optical efficiency and thermal efficiency. Optical efficiency is the amount of energy, which is absorbed by the tube over the total energy received by the collector.

Thermal efficiency, on the other hand, was the heat collected over the heat gain by the system. They found that the optical efficiency of the evacuated system is 72 per cent and non-evacuated system is 68 per cent when the heat loss is minimised, it said.

Researchers, industry partner to trial solar thermal energy to enhance comminution

The Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC), a global non-profit funded by mining companies, have partnered with the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources (IMER) to trial the use of solar thermal energy to enhance comminution.

Comminution is the process by which solid materials are reduced to smaller average particle size by crushing, grinding, cutting, vibrating, or other processes.

In a press release, the Institute’s manager Chris Matthews said that solar thermal heat can weaken rocks, reducing the need for fossil fuel-derived mechanical energy traditionally used to crush and grind rocks, making it a more environmentally sustainable alternative.

“IMER has developed a process where heat is provided by concentrated solar thermal, which data has shown could reduce comminution energy by up to 50%,” Mathews said. “The potential to improve energy efficiency in this project is just one example of the alignment between IMER’s research on low cost, low emissions energy and CEEC’s vision.”

In the view of the institutions involved, innovation in the processing and comminution of the raw materials required for renewable electricity generation and transmission has the potential to revolutionize the mineral and energy resources sector.

Tecnología Fresnel para abaratar los costes en la industria del corcho

Un equipo de ingenieros del Instituto del Corcho, la Madera y el Carbón Vegetal de Cicytex (Centro de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas de Extremadura) está trabajando en la validación de un prototipo basado en la tecnología Fresnel de media temperatura para optimizar energéticamente el proceso de cocción de corcho en la industria preparadora. Con la incorporación de este prototipoo, los investigadores de Cicytex esperan minimizar los costes del proceso.

Tecnología Fresnel para abaratar los costes en la industria del corcho

Este trabajo se desarrolla en el marco del proyecto Idercexa (Investigación, desarrollo y energías renovables para la mejora del tejido empresarial en Centro, Extremadura y Alentejo) e incluye el diseño, instalación, puesta en marcha y ensayos para un primer análisis de viabilidad. El prototipo está integrado en el proceso industrial de cocido del corcho, con la finalidad de que sirva de apoyo a la operación de calentamiento del agua utilizada. A día de hoy, la mayor parte de las industrias utilizan un quemador de pellets de madera para alcanzar y mantener la temperatura del agua entre 95 y 100 °C.

Con la incorporación del prototipo, los investigadores de Cicytex esperan minimizar los costes de producción al disminuir el consumo de combustible del quemador, y aumentar la productividad de la industria, puesto que los tiempos de espera entre los ciclos de cocción se acortan, debido a que el descenso de la temperatura del agua no es tan drástico. Si lo habitual es realizar 7 u 8 cocciones diarias con un intervalo de unos 10 o 15 minutos entre ellas, hasta que el agua recupera la temperatura óptima de cocción,  con la instalación solar buscan aumentar el número de cocciones, reduciendo este intervalo. De igual forma se pretende reducir el tiempo y coste de calentamiento del agua de renovación los días que se realiza la limpieza de la caldera, que suele hacerse una o dos veces a la semana.

Fases previas
El proyecto se apoya en la experiencia adquirida en otros trabajos de investigación previos como el proyecto Riteca II (Red de Investigación Transfronteriza entre Extremadura, Centro y Alentejo), en el que se testó un prototipo de media temperatura a escala piloto en las instalaciones del Instituto del Corcho, la Madera y el Carbón Vegetal. El diseño del sistema de validación está basado en datos preliminares obtenidos a lo largo del proyecto Idercexa.

Cicytex ha publicado en su canal de YouTube un vídeo resumen del proyecto, dentro de la serie Diario de Cicytex: la I+D que hacemos. Esta iniciativa da a conocer, durante la crisis del COVID 19, el trabajo que desarrolla el centro, a través de vídeos cortos que graban los propios investigadores.

La Agencia Extremeña de la Energía (Agenezx) lidera este proyecto en el que también participan la Universidad de Extremadura y de Évora, Ciemat, asociaciones empresariales portuguesas y el  Cluster de la Energía de Extremadura, entre otros organismos.  El  proyecto está cofinanciado por el Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional FEDER a través del Programa Interreg V-A España-Portugal (POCTEP) 2014-2020 y cuenta con un presupuesto de casi 4 millones de euros.

Fuente: Energías Renovables. Recuperado de: https://www.energias-renovables.com/termosolar/tecnologia-fresnel-para-abaratar-los-costes-en-20200511

II Encuentro CCPTE en Madrid

Próximamente se celebrará en Madrid el II Encuentro del Comité de Coordinación de Plataformas Tecnológicas del ámbito de la Energía, coordinado por la PTEHPC.
Si estáis interesados en conocer el papel del tejido nacional de Ciencia-Tecnología-Industria de las diferentes tecnologías energéticas en el escenario de transición energética y globalización de la economía en el que nos encontramos, no os podéis perder esta Jornada.

El evento ha sido aplazo debido a las medidas de prevención adoptadas por la Comunidad de Madrid para afrontar el Co-vid-19.

Presentaciones Feria GENERA 2020: Jornada “Las Centrales Termosolares en la planificación energética de España”, por PROTERMOSOLAR y CIEMAT

El pasado 7 de febrero se celebró en el Foro 2 del Pabellón 10 de IFEMA, como actividad de la Feria GENERA 2020, la jornada «Las Centrales Termosolares en la planificación energética de España» organizada por PROTERMOSOLAR y CIEMAT.
A continuación se encuentran las presentaciones que se mostraron durante la jornada:

Presentaciones IV Asamblea General 2019

El pasado 17 de octubre se celebró en el auditorio de CIEMAT la IV Asamblea General de Solar Concentra, donde se contó con la presencia del IDAE, el Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades o la Agencia Estatal de Investigación, entre otros, y a la que asistieron representantes de distintas plataformas, universidades, centros tecnológicos, cooperativas e industrias interesadas en el sector. Además, se complementó con un interesante Workshop del proyecto europeo INSHIP.
A continuación se encuentran las presentaciones que se mostraron durante la jornada:

Presentaciones Workshop INSHIP: