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So far Carlo Winterscheid has created 20 blog entries.

How to identify suitable areas for SDH

2018-10-02T10:15:25+02:00 Sep 14th, 2018|

Though the availability of areas for large solar district heating plants remains a major point of contention, there are ways to expand the market. They include detailed local heat plans, the use of unconventional, e.g., polluted or contaminated, areas, and awareness raising among public and private stakeholders. A webinar organised as part of the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m…from Policy to Market puts a spotlight on these topics. A recording of the session is available online.

Denmark: area is not an issue

“We don’t have a space problem,” PlanEnergi’s Per Alex Sørensen said, emphatically. “There is enough suitable land for solar district heating.” Denmark aims at 8 million m² of solar district heating, or SDH, in 2030, which would require 2,800 hectares for collector installations. “That could not be an issue, since we have around 62 million hectares of farmland,” Sørensen said. To provide a vivid comparison, he added: “Even today, golf courses require about 10,000 hectares.” Likewise, he said: “Solar thermal acts as a corridor between green areas. It is much better than farming in terms of preserving biodiversity.”

During his presentation, he offered some best practice guidelines on land management, as part of an eight-step approach based on the lessons learned in Denmark. First, he said, it was more beneficial to evaluate multiple sites to stimulate competition between landowners, so the price for leasing or acquiring land would not be too high.

Additionally, it was crucial to inform neighbours of any installation in advance to receive feedback concerning its visual impact and its effects on the landscape. And it avoids complaints if solar fields were protected by fences and three rows of trees.

Possible sites would then be evaluated according to local planning rules and project approval granted in compliance with heat network regulations.

Germany: protecting the landscape is a challenge

“Germany’s network of gas pipelines means there is no awareness that you need land for heat supply,” said Christian Maaß, Hamburg Institut Consulting, Germany, who also underlined that the solar energy industry and farmers had been fighting over land for several years because of the development of large ground-mounted PV systems. Germany required a case-by-base assessment of suitable SDH sites, he said, as there was no top-down planning at regional level, in strong contrast to the wind energy where privileged areas for wind parks were identified in local planning. The situation was made even more complicated by the fact that landscape planners were usually reluctant to accept ground-mounted solar plants and 30 % of Germany’s territory had been designated as protected landscape.

To install SDH on farmland, Maaß suggested not going the route via privileged land use, as in the case of power lines, for which one typically obtains building permission. Since it was uncertain whether SDH could become part of that category, it would be more promising to look for areas zoned for specific purposes.

France: more than one approach

Mathieu Eberhardt, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Énergie Environnement, the energy agency for the namesake region, said that the rules to govern ground-mounted SDH in France should be derived from the ones on photovoltaic systems. Anyone intending to build a plant measuring above 1,500 m² and 1.8 m in height should apply for a building permit and agree to an environmental impact assessment and a public consultation. Since agricultural land could not be used for energy production, installing an SDH plant on an area like that should require a permit for land use change, unless the collectors would be installed on a structure such as a greenhouse.

Jan-Olof Dalenbäck, who works at Chalmers University of Technology and heads CIT Energy Management, shared with the audience an interesting rule of thumb regarding the distance from the solar array to the district heating connection: A 1-km line for each 10,000 m² of solar was always economically feasible, he said. He explained: “The extra costs and losses incurred for 1 km compared to, say, 0.3 km of pipe connection to a 10,000 m² collector array are a small, acceptable addition to the solar heat price.”

Simona Weisleder, Hamburg Institut Consulting, emphasised that – besides agricultural land – there were several unconventional areas for a collector installation. They included the large roofs of shopping centres and parking garages, polluted or contaminated land, patches along traffic routes, as on acoustic barriers, or other large infrastructure components, such as sewage treatment basins. Of course, the installation itself could be more expensive than on a green meadow.

Text: Riccardo Battisti,  Ambiente Italia (Rome, Italy)
Chart: Hamburg Institut
Webinar video

SDH prefeasibility studies in Bosnia and Croatia

2018-10-02T10:01:21+02:00 Sep 14th, 2018|

In early 2016, the EU-funded CoolHeating project began using the know-how acquired during best practice projects in Austria, Denmark and Germany to help with the implementation of small modular renewable heating and cooling grids in southeastern Europe. In mid-March, the CoolHeating partners published seven prefeasibility studies of district heating and cooling across five municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. Because of geographical features, most projects favoured biomass, but solar thermal does play a crucial role in the proposals created for the Bosnian town of Visoko (see map) and the Croatian city of Ozalj. 

“In the Balkans, renewable energy projects have yet to become as commonplace as in central and western Europe,” said Dominik Rutz, Project Manager of CoolHeating at Munich-based WIP Renewable Energies. In Austria, Denmark and Germany, several operators have already integrated solar thermal or wood chips, or both, into their DHC networks while the market in southeastern Europe is still in its infancy. “In cooperation with local CoolHeating partners, we’ve tailored the systems to the geographical, meteorological, technical and economic potential of each site,” Rutz explained. It was for this reason that the studies of all seven sites in the five communities were drafted individually, resulting in distinctly different installations.

Visoko: Average heat price of 45 EUR/MWh, no connection charges

In Visoko, in Bosnia, the SDH system would consist of a 5,000 m² collector field and 13,500 m³ of seasonal pit storage. Along with 6.3 MW of water-to-water heat pumps, this system would meet the baseload of a new network. A 3.1 MW gas boiler would provide backup at peak demand and an 800 kWp PV generator would supply solar-sourced electricity. The authors of the prefeasibility study based their calculations on a connection rate of 100 % regarding public buildings and 80 % in the case of single-family houses.

Turnover would come from the sale of thermal energy and solar electricity, with the former contributing 88 % and the latter 12 % to the overall amount. The base price proposed for heat supply was 45 EUR/MWh. There would be no charge for connecting to the network, but it has been suggested that each customer should be required by contract to buy at least 3,500 kWh per year. Implementing the idea would mean that, over a maximum of 10 years, heat consumers would have to pay 51.13 EUR/MWh for each year they fail to fulfil the requirement.

Ozalj: EUR 21.6 million for biomass-solar DH system

In Ozalj, amidst a sea of trees, the global horizontal irradiation exceeds 1,200 kWh/m²/a, making the town particularly suitable for a system combining biomass and solar. The study’s authors suggested a 10 MWth biomass-fired CHP unit, an 18,000 m² collector field and 20,000 m³ of seasonal pit heat storage, plus a 26 MW gas boiler for peak loads. There was enough space to set up the installation close to the city’s industrial area, they stated.

The EUR 21.6 million system would be feasible if calculated at consumer prices of 70 EUR/MWh for heat and power. The business plan put the internal rate of return at 12 % and the payback period at 9.7 years, based on a 15-year simulation.

Until the end of this year, the preliminary project proposals need to be finalised, after which it will be up to the mayors and city councils to implement them. Provided they have or can get a solid funding base to invite tenders, those projects could also be of interest to solar thermal companies in western Europe. Rutz is hoping for many to be realised, as each implemented project could serve as a showcase to promote small, modular renewable heating and cooling grids in the Balkans.

Source: CoolHeating
Text: Frank Stier, Sofia

On-site collector testing: new standard in development

2018-10-02T10:02:51+02:00 Sep 14th, 2018|

Once a large solar field is set up at its designated location, what tests can be conducted to show that it performs as expected? Soon, the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme may have an answer to this question, as it is working on internationalising Denmark’s testing procedure. No decision has been made on whether the procedure will become part of a full-fledged standard or be turned into a technical specification.

Two tasks of the IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme have been involved in drafting a proposal for a new ISO standard to cover solar energy, collector fields and performance testing: Task 55 ,Towards the Integration of Large SHC Systems into District Heating and Cooling Networks, and Task 57, Solar Standards and Certification.

Jan Erik Nielsen, who works at PlanEnergi, a Danish consultancy, and has his own firm called SolarKey, has been in charge of exploring the possibility of designing a new standard, mainly based on three sources:

  • The collector test methods described in the recently published ISO 9806:2017
  • Performance guarantee – Collector field power output, a fact sheet created by Task 45, Large Systems: Large Solar Heating and Cooling Systems, Seasonal Storage, Heat Pumps
  • Yield data from the long-term operation of large solar thermal fields in Denmark (see http://www.solvarmedata.dk)

Is a new standard coming? In October and December 2017, basic ideas for a new standard were presented during ISO and CEN technical committee meetings. The CEN committee’s subsequent vote on a rough draft showed that the proposal should not be viewed as a guarantee but rather a performance test and that it will be turned into a technical specification and not a full-blown standard. In regard to ISO, it has yet to be made clear whether it will become a technical specification or a standard. The ISO committee is awaiting a new draft and will come to a decision at its next meeting in September 2018.

Full article on Solarthermalworld
Text and Foto: Riccardo Battisti

First Spanish solar district heating system for 12,000 families

2018-10-02T09:27:38+02:00 Sep 14th, 2018|

In February 2018, Alcalá Ecoenergías signed a deal to construct a district heating system powered by solar and biomass in Alcalá de Henares, a city in Spain. The agreement between the local company and the municipal government will lead to one of the country’s first-ever large-scale solar district heating systems for supplying 12,000 homes with renewable heat.

The 38 million Euro investment, of which 32 million Euro have been allocated for biomass and 6 million Euro for solar thermal, near Spain’s capital of Madrid is expected to be completed by late 2019. Several other solar district heating projects are under development.

Full article on Solarthermalworld
Text: Alejandro Diego Rosell

Successful training session for Solar District Heating in France

2018-10-02T09:12:21+02:00 Jul 6th, 2018|

An expert training session has been organized on the 5th and 6th of June 2018 at the French National Institute for Solar Energy. More than 30 participants working in engineering offices, district heating operators, city technical services or project developers took part in this event. Regarding the success of this training, a second session is planned for the end of 2018.

The development of solar district heating is currently experiencing a strong dynamic that continues to accelerate. In Europe, this strong progression was until now carried by Sweden, Germany, Austria, and the inevitable Denmark … but it begins to spread in France!

Commissioned in 2014 in Balma, the first French solar district heating plant has since then been joined by four other installations, which should be followed by three new projects in 2018. With many other projects being considered, France seems to be at the beginning of a strong development of solar district heating.

In order to support this dynamic, the French National Institute for Solar Energy, AURA-Energy Environment and ADEME organized on June 5th and 6th 2018 a training entirely dedicated to solar district heating. This exceptional training brought together international experts with decades of experience, as well as French actors on the initiative of the first national projects. Designed for engineering offices and project developers wishing to build skills on solar heating networks, these two days addressed the theme with a high level of technicality, maintaining a very operational approach.
The seminar addressed technical, administrative and economic issues at different stages of a project: pre-study, sizing, design, implementation, commissioning, operation and maintenance. It has been punctuated with feedback from the Danish, Austrian and French experts and case studies with implementation on a calculation tool.

This training was conducted with the participation of ADEME, AURA-EE, CEA, INES INDDIGO, PlanEnergi, SOLID and Tecsol. It was supported by ADEME and the Horizon 2020 project SDHp2m.

Author: Cédric Paulus, CEA tech/ INES – French National Solar Energy Institute

Arcon-Sunmark built a solar thermal field for Vattenfall in Berlin

2018-10-02T08:59:22+02:00 Jun 15th, 2018|

The world market leader for solar district heating systems, Arcon-Sunmark, has now installed its first solar thermal system for a German district heating system in Berlin-Köpenick.

The solar plant, which has 78 large collectors has a total gross collector area of 1,058 m², is ground mounted on the premises of the combined heat and power plant of the energy company Vattenfall in Berlin-Köpenick. The collectors feed its energy into the return pipe of the Köpenick district heating system throughout the year using a heat exchanger without a storage tank. With this method the highest solar yield can be fed into the grid, explains Christian Stadler, Managing Director of Arcon-Sunmark’s German representation. Vattenfall had checked a solar feed-in into the supply pipe for the summer months by simulation, but finally rejected, as also the return feed-in had no effects on the efficiency of the connected CHP plant. This is mainly due to the size ratio between the huge district heating system of Berlin-Köpenick and the collector system, which is rather small for the Danish manufacturer’s standards, Stadler reports.

In this way, the system makes a considerable contribution to the district heating demand, especially in the summer, says Stadler: “For us, this system is important because it shows that solar thermal energy also works in the urban district heating of large cities in Germany. And by the way, in 90 percent of the cases – as in this example – we also find a solution for the land problem together with the supplier.”

Text: Guido Bröer, translated from the German original
Picture: Vattenfall

Big Solar Graz – reaching next milestones

2018-10-02T09:03:35+02:00 Jun 15th, 2018|

Solid has been developing a concept for supplying up to 25% of district heating of Graz with solar thermal energy and a seasonal storage in late 2015.

Today, the project has developed reaching significant milestones. The land for both, the storage and the solar collectors is secured. The consortium consisting of VKR/Arcon-Sunmark, Energie Steiermark, Christof Industry and initiator Solid has recently announced the project progress to the media.

As per today, the project is designed to be resized to 220,000 m² and will be built as originally intended in the south of Graz. Together with a storage of approximately 900,000 m³ the system will cover 15% of the annual district heating demand of the city of Graz.

The plan is to move on with detailed engineering and permitting within the next months and start the construction in 2019.

Source: Solid

Big Solar Graz erreicht die nächsten Meilensteine

2018-06-18T17:40:51+02:00 Jun 15th, 2018|

Bereits Ende 2015 hat SOLID ein Konzept für die Bereitstellung von bis zu 25% der solaren Fernwärme für Graz durch solarthermische Energie und Saisonspeicher entwickelt.

Bis heute hat das Projekt bereits signifikante Meilensteine erreicht. Landflächen für den Speicher sowie die Solarkollektoren wurden gesichert. Das Konsortium, bestehend aus VKR/ Arcon-Sunmark, Energie Steiermark, der Christof Group und dem Initiator SOLID, verlautbarte kürzlich den Fortschritt gegenüber den Medien.

Mit heutigem Stand wurde das Projekt für eine Größe von 220.000m² ausgelegt und soll wie ursprünglich geplant im Süden von Graz gebaut werden. Zusammen mit der Größe des Speichers von 900.000m³ wird das System 15% des jährlichen Fernwärmeverbrauchs der Stadt Graz abdecken.

In den nächsten Monaten werden die detaillierten Baupläne ausgearbeitet und besprochen. Der Baustart soll im Jahr 2019 erfolgen.

Quelle: SOLID

Arcon baut Solarthermiefeld für Vattenfall in Berlin

2018-06-11T18:13:39+02:00 Jun 11th, 2018|

Seine erste Solarthermieanlage für ein deut­sches Fernwärmenetz hat der Weltmarktführer für netzverbundene Solarwärmesysteme, Arcon-Sunmark, jetzt in Berlin aufgestellt.
Die Anlage, deren 78 Großflächenkollektoren insgesamt knapp 1000 Quadratmeter Aperturfläche messen, stehen auf dem Betriebsgelände des Heizkraftwerks des Energiekonzerns Vattenfall in Berlin Köpenick. Das Kollektorfeld speist seine Energieernte über einen Wärmetauscher ohne Speicher ganzjährig in den Rücklauf des Köpenicker Fernwärmenetzes ein. Mit dieser Methode könne in diesem Fall der höchste Solarertrag dem Netz zugeführt werden, erklärt Christian Stadler, Geschäftsführer der Deutschlandvertretung von Arcon-Sunmark. Vattenfall habe eine Einspeisung in den höher temperierten Vorlauf für die Sommermonate zwar durch Simulationsrechnungen geprüft, aber letztlich verworfen, da auch die Rücklaufeinspeisung auf die Effizienz der angeschlossenen KWK-Aggregate keine negative Auswirkungen habe. Dies liege vor allem am Größenverhältnis zwischen dem riesigen Fernwärmenetz von Berlin-Köpenick und der für die Maßstäbe des dänischen Herstellers eher kleinen Kollektoranlage, berichtet Stadler.
Auf diese Weise liefere die Anlage besonders im Sommer nennenswerte Beiträge zum Fernwärmebedarf, so Stadler: „Für uns ist diese Anlage wichtig, weil sie zeigt, dass Solarthermie auch in den urbanen Netzen von deutschen Großstädten funktioniert. Und übrigens finden wir – wie in diesem Fall – in 90 Prozent der Fälle gemeinsam mit dem Versorger auch eine Lösung für das Flächenproblem.”

Text: Guido Bröer

Foto: Corporate Vattenfall

SDH plant awarded in Sweden

2018-10-15T17:25:09+02:00 Apr 25th, 2018|

Ystad Energi was awarded the “Solar prize” for their solar heating plant on Ystad Arena. The plant, with just more than 500 m2 of flat plate collectors, is designed to feed solar heat into Ystad district heating system.

The solar plant on Ystad Arena is connected to the primary district heat distribution system via heat exchangers.  When the solar collectors generate more heat than needed in the Arena, the solar heat will automatically be used in adjacent buildings via the district heating system, in a similar way as electricity is used in a grid-connected solar PV plant. There are already about 25 systems with 200 to 1 000 m2 of solar collectors connected in a similar way during the period from 2000 to 2017.

Svensk Solenergi (Solar Energy Association of Sweden) has awarded good example solar (heat and PV) plants and important achievements in solar energy since 2004.  The plant award 2018 was given to Ystad Energi (municipal DH company) thanks to a new system design with improved controls and performance. The new plant in Ystad is thus an inspiring good example for other building owners and district heating companies.

The Award motivation: ”Solar heating plants can be connected in our district heating systems just like solar PV plants are connected in our electric grids.  The systems have been developed so that the generated solar heat can be used to improve a district heated buildings energy performance (according to EPBD) and /or so that the generated heat can be sold to other district heating customers.  The plant at Ystad Arena, built without financial support, is an excellent example of how solar heat can be used in district heating systems – in a national, as well as an international, context.”

Photo: SavoSolar