New Infographics on Solar Thermal Heat for Industry Processes

After busting the most common myths on renewable energy in the first edition of this series, ISES is now happy to move forward in highlighting the real value solar and other renewable energy sources have in fighting climate change. With this new set of infographics focusing on the potential of solar thermal heat application for productive uses, ISES wants to introduce you to the many great technologies already being implemented today and to give you an outlook into future technological developments. Additional infographics highlighting more and more applications of solar thermal heart will be added to this dynamic set of infographics over time.

In many parts of the world, the transformation of the energy system has mainly focused on the electricity sector. The heating/cooling, transport, industrial, and agricultural sectors are often overlooked. This significantly slows down the energy transformation as, for example, nearly half of final energy consumption is spent on heating & cooling. In the future, more focus needs to be put on sector coupling and a carbon reduction plan for all aspects of our society. 

Thermal energy, namely for the heating of industry processes, accounts for nearly 10% of global carbon emissions. The Sun, utilizing solar thermal panels to produce hot water or steam, or photovoltaics with resistance heating or heat pumps can help meet the industry processes needs in a carbon-free way. The good news is, that about 30% of the total industrial heat demand is at temperature levels below 100°C which can be provided with commercially available solar thermal collectors.

This set of infographics will introduce several examples of solar thermal heat applications used for industry processes from all around the world and we are excited to add more and more infographics to this set in the future!

For questions about the infographics, please see our FAQ section down below or contact ISES at public [dot] relations [at] ises [dot] org - we are looking forward for your feedback!

ISES has also made the infographic and each infographic individually available for download here

Below you will find:

  • each indicidual infographic with explainatory text
  • each individual gaphic as image - click to enhance the image
  • References
  • Translations

Further done, please also find

  • the first set of ISES infographics - "Dispelling the Myths - Renewables in the Grid"
  • a special ISES webinar on the first set of ISES infographics - "Dispelling the Myths - Renewables in the Grid"
  • a FAQ section for questions on this publication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Further reading - interesting articles on the different infographic topics

 

Solar Thermal Heat for the Electronics we use

The extraction of raw materials for the electronics we use daily is a thermally intensive process. Mined minerals, like lithium for batteries and copper for electrical wires, must be broken down, heated for separation, and dried to create their final product. This all requires energy which can easily be provided by solar thermal energy. Best of all, it is already being done at a massive scale in Chile. Take a look at the Gaby Copper Mine in the Atacama Desert. It has installed nearly 40,000 m2 of solar thermal collectors to support the electrolytic refining process of copper. This is more than 12 football/soccer fields big!

Brewed by the Sun

The beer brewing process requires many steps to produce your favorite after work or weekend drink. Many require some degree of thermal energy, either to pre-heat brewing water, cook the ingredients together, or prepare hot water for cleaning. For example, numerous breweries around Germany and Austria use solar thermal energy as a core energy component in their beer brewing process. They have done this not only for the environment, but because it’s simply the lower cost option.

Take a look at the Hofmühl Brewery in Eichstätt, Germany. For over a decade, they have been using solar thermal panels to run their brewing process, covering over 60% of their annual energy needs. They even brew a “Solarbier” (or”Sun Brewed Beer”) that is fully produced with renewable energy.

Solar Thermal Steam for Pharmaceuticals

Covering another essential part of our day-to-day lives, solar thermal heat is also used to make steam. This plays a significant part in many industrial processes such as the production of pharmaceuticals, an industry with a substantial energy demand.

To achieve this, solar thermal heat is used to create steam as water is pumped through the solar thermal collector field, where it partly evaporates due to the concentrated solar irradiance. This “solar steam” is then stored in a steam drum and is released to the factory through a pressure-controlled valve within the manufacturing processes.

One highly successful example of solar steam for industrial processes is the located in Amman, Jordan. Here, RAM Pharma installed a Direct Steam Generation System in 2015, helping to offset use of its diesel fired steam boiler.

This new system provides up to 340 mega-watt hours per year, reducing diesel consumption by 42% while simultaneously buffering demand fluctuations and reducing the cooling load of the complex via rooftop shading (where the collectors are installed).

This award-winning project, the first of its kind in the MENA region, is a great example of the massive benefits solar steam can have in industry processes!

References

To receive the full sheet of references for this set of infographics, please send an email to public [dot] relations [at] ises [dot] org

Dispelling the Myths - Renewables in the Grid

Dispelling the Myths: Renewables in the Grid

Around the world, renewable electricity generation by solar and wind is increasing at exponential rates, with shares approaching 50% or more in some countries. New ways to manage energy generation, transmission, distribution, and storage are being established, as well as how to best manage the integration of new renewable electricity with traditional, centralized energy sources, such as coal, gas and nuclear power plants.

Yet, commonly claimed short comings regarding renewable energy and especially their successful integration in to the grid often make it hard when discussing the urgent need for an energy transformation based on the renewables. 

For this, the International Solar Energy Society has developed a series of infographics to clarify some commonly claimed shortcomings about renewable energy - we hope you find this document helpful when discussing renewable energy with your friends, family, or colleagues.

For questions about the infographics, please see our FAQ section down below or contact ISES at public [dot] relations [at] ises [dot] org - we are looking forward for your feedback! ISES has also made the infographic and each infographic individually available for download here.

On this homepage you will find:

  • all eight Myths and the facts to bust them in one infographic
  • each Myth as a individual infographic - click to enhance the image
  • each Myth as textversion
  • References
  • Translations
  • a special ISES webinar on the Dispelling the Myths publication
  • a FAQ section for questions on this publication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Further reading - interesting articles on the different infographics topics

Individual Infographics

Myth 1 - Textversion

"Wind and solar will never replace baseload generation, the constant electricity production typically provided by coal, nuclear and large hydro power plants"

Fact:

Wind and solar already provide periods of 100% renewable electricity coverage in countries such as Denmark, Germany, and in parts of Australia. In the future the importance of baseload will decrease as grids transform to having primarily variable generation supported by flexible and on-demand sources, such as energy storage. Strengthened interconnections, smart grid technologies, and load management strategies enable greater efficiency and better control, while providing flexible, reliable, and economical renewable based power systems.

Myth 2 - Textversion

"Wind and Solar are too intermittent for reliable grid operations and cannot be predicted"

Fact:

Wind and solar forecast predictions are increasing in accuracy, in time periods from minutes to several days. These forecasts provide grid operators with information about what the power output of renewable power plants will be to a high degree of certainty. This information then allows the operators to anticipate how to best control fluctuating loads with other flexible power sources to match energy supply to its demand. It also promotes demand side management, which are initiatives and technologies that encourage consumers to optimize their energy use.

 

Myth 3 - Textversion

“Expensive storage is required to further increase reliability and renewable energy use in the electricity grid”

Fact:

A minimum of storage in the form of batteries, hydrogen, and pumped hydroelectric will certainly support increased renewable energy and help prevent costly energy waste. However, increased grid flexibility and management, interconnections between regional grids, and dispatchable power sources, like on-site combined heat and power (CHP), allow for greater renewable energy integration even without storage while increasing power supply reliability.

Myth 4 - Textversion

“High quantities of wind and solar energy will destabilize the grid and cause blackouts”

Fact

Knowledge is power. The key is to install and manage smart systems that allow a smooth integration and control of variable electricity sources. This way grid operators can ensure that sufficient electricity is supplied at all times, resulting in a more resilient grid.  For example, the average blackout duration was cut in half in Germany after the integration of 40% renewable electricity.

Myth 5 - Textversion

“For every PV or wind power plant, an equal capacity of fossil fuel generated electricity must be running in the background, negating most of the carbon emissions benefit”

Fact:

Renewable energy and storage systems combined with other modern grid-management tools can reduce the number of operating fossil fuel power plants that must be run in the background, known as “spinning reserves”. This reduces net grid carbon emissions. The need for additional fossil-based power plants that can raise their output to replace renewable sources when the wind drops or clouds pass overhead will be minimal as the grid becomes more flexible and “smarter”. Several grids, for example in Tasmania, Uruguay and Costa Rica, already operate for periods of hours to days on 100% renewable electricity with no additional fossil fuel power plants running in the background, only requiring a small spinning reserve for any power generation, regardless of its source.

Myth 6 - Textversion

“The duck curve, which shows a late afternoon load spike as large amounts of solar energy go offline coincidentally during the evening peak electricity demand, will be very difficult and expensive to solve”

Fact:

Increased demand side management coupled with short-term balancing and electrical storage (possibly making use of electric vehicles adjusting their charging practices) can solve this problem without causing instability in the grid. This is already being explored by some grid operators by promoting “Time-of-day” pricing that encourages greater electricity use during the off-peak early-morning, mid-afternoon, and night-time hours.

Myth 7 - Textversion

“Excess renewable energy generation will be wasted, causing retail electricity prices to increase”

Fact:

There are many ways to utilize excess generation to provide additional benefits, including power-to-heat, (e.g. heat pump operation for district heating), pumped hydro storage, and hydrogen or synthetic fuel production. Not only does this create other valuable products, but they can also increase grid stability. In regions with interconnections, excess renewable energy can be exported to supply low emission electricity in adjoining territories, also increasing revenue.

Myth 8 - Textversion

“Transmitting renewable energy across the electric grid over long distances is highly inefficient and costly”

Fact:

Renewable energy generation can be very local in nature. Solar PV systems, in particular rooftop solar, are located close to consumers, effectively reducing transmission grid requirements.

For long-distance power transmission from large PV and wind plants in optimum resource regions, new high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines are efficient and allow for electricity exchange over whole continents, increasing grid stability and renewable energy use.

References

Here we provide you with all sources used in the creation of the infographics series. Should you have any questions or need further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch at public [dot] relations [at] ises [dot] org

The references are grouped by infographic.

Renewables in the Grid - References

Translations

Dispelling the Myths - Renewables in the Grid: Portuguese

ISES Webinar: Dispelling the Myths - Renewables in the Grid

FAQ

What is the intention of these infographics?
 
ISES has developed these infographics as a tool for our readers to have when discussing the possibilities of renewable energy grid integration. Often, when talking about renewables, we are met with the same arguments doubting their success. To address this, ISES has collected commonly claimed shortcomings and provided clear answers, supported by easy to understand infographics.
 
Who should read the infographics?
 
These infographics are intended for everybody - a reader who is already very knowledgeable in the field of renewable energy, a reader first trying to get an idea about the possibilities or your colleagues, friends, family, and local decision-makers needing a little help in understanding the opportunities for renewable energy grid integration.
 
Will there be more publications like this by ISES?
 
Yes, ISES is already planning to continue this series Dispelling the Myths to address other misunderstandings about renewable energy.
 
I have feedback on the infographics - how can I get in touch?
 
For feedback on the infographics, please send an email to public [dot] relations [at] ises [dot] org using "Infographics Feedback" in the subject line. ISES is looking forward to your feedback!
 
I want to propose a topic for the next infographics series - how can I get in touch?
 
For proposing a new topic, please send an email to public [dot] relations [at] ises [dot] org using "Infographics Feedback" in the subject line. ISES is looking forward to your suggestions!
 
Can I use the infographics at work and distribute them to others?
 
Please feel free to share the infographics at work and with your networks, as they are especially intended for sharing to help debunk these common misunderstandings. When sharing, please make sure to include ISES as the author and to reference this homepage.

 

Acknowledgments

ISES wishes to thank everybody who worked on this project for their valuable input and feedback to make this publication possible. A special thank you goes to the ISES Board Members for their input in the many rounds of review  - especially we thank  Dr. Steven Meyers who led this project, Dr. David Renné (ISES President), Prof. Eicke Weber (ISES Vice President), Dr. Paulette Middleton (ISES Secretary), Prof. Monica Oliphant, Prof. Roberto Román, Dr. Ben Elliston, Prof. Klaus Vajen, and Mr. Marcelo Pinho Almeida.

ISES also sends a big thank you to Thanasis Avramis, Mark Diesendorf, Marissa Walzer and Stefanie Szabo-Halfar for their contributions in reviewing the infographics and providing excellent feedback.

From the ISES team, thanks goes to Jennifer McIntosh, Arabella Liehr and Eric Card  for their great work on this project