New pre-feasibility assessment tool

The HyCool project launches the HyCool Pre-feasibility Simulator

Prefeasibility Assessment Tool

The HyCool project is ramping up the development of the exciting “HyCool Toolset” that couples innovative concentrated solar thermal collectors with novel hybrid-heat pumps to achieve a wider temperature output range of renewable heating & cooling for any industrial environment or process which may need cooling.

To demonstrate the solar refrigeration concept underpinning the “HyCool Toolset”, a “pre-feasibility simulator” or PFS has been released on the project’s website ( The HyCool PFS in seconds tells users how well this HyCool solar refrigeration concept fits to any given industrial cooling process.

The HyCool PFS is conceived for any user interested in deploying renewable energy into an industrial process. The inputs asked for the simulation are about the process and the estimated temperature:

  • Industrial process & internal temperature – only the required cooling temperature, the electricity price and the amount of full-load operation hours of the process are needed.
  • Estimated solar irradiation and external temperature – an irradiation map is provided; you’ll determine the yearly average Direct Normal Irradiation at the industrial site being simulated. Furthermore, you will need the average external temperature, which can be easily found on the web.

Once you have input the above data into the PFS, you will be able to evaluate the suitability of solar refrigeration for your industrial process in just a couple of seconds. If your industrial cooling process turns out to be feasible, you can contact the HyCool team via the project website and refer to your PFS-ID. You must know the tool only provides a very rough evaluation and is not meant for commercial use.

Users receive a free, private dataset that fully complies with GDPR and is first shown on-screen and subsequently auto-emailed to you. Results are concise, and scores range from 0 to 40 with 0 meaning no suitability and 40 being perfectly suitabile.

With little or no understanding of solar thermal energy and heat pump technology, and very little data about the process being simulated, the HyCool PFS offers the public a glimpse of Industry 4.0 with high efficiency, energy flexibility to reduce consumption, and a high penetration of renewables for industry.

The business cases are currently being piloted across Europe for the market-ready hardware to enter commercialisation planning phase by 2020. HyCool encourages you to test the PFS today!

Try our HyCool pre-feasibility simulator here.


HYCOOL Video presentation

We finally have here the first video of the HYCOOL project, a motion graphics video that explains in a simple and synthetic way our objectives and the technologies we use, without forgetting the benefits and advantages of installing our innovative cooling systems.

The video is uploaded to the HYCOOL’s YouTube channel, so you can easily share and help us disseminate the project!

More news will soon be published in our first newsletter, which will be sent very soon.
Don’t forget to subscribe!

Standards as a tool to boost the impact of HYCOOL

Standards as a tool to boost the impact of HYCOOL

by Natalia Ortiz de Zárate, from the Spanish Association for standardization, UNE

The Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE is the body legally responsible for the development of standards in Spain and is also the representative in talks with European standardization bodies (CEN/CENELEC).  Standardization helps shape the future, since it involves state-of-the-art technology and favours the development of new markets resulting from the constant innovation activity carried out by organisations and consortiums.

Standardisation adds value to Research & innovation projects and activities, through the use of the existing standards and the contribution to the development of new ones. Standards provide information on a myriad of tools that simplify the design of and guarantee compatibility with systems and conditions that are already in place. Using them reduces costs and risks, generating trust in the users, facilitating acceptance on the market and streamlining marketing. Concerning this first task, the analysis of existing standards and technical committees related to Hycool activies, the Report on the standardization landscape and applicable standards was submitted to help partners to be aware of the state of the art in solar thermal energy and other related topics.

But standards can also become a valuable tool for transferring the results and knowledge developed in the Hycool project. Both promotion and launch to market, are key to optimising the economic and social impact of the outcomes of Hycool. Standardization system constitutes itself an efficient and fast information and knowledge transfer structure. The bidirectional implication of correspondent technical committees at international, European and national levels allows any information provided to reach an immediate widespread dissemination, focused to the interested stakeholders in every country. Standardization activities have then intrinsically a component providing a mean visibility to the project itself and its outcomes to promote the increase of the current use of solar heat in Industrial processes.

Now UNE is working to establish a close relationship with relevant technical committees in order to better monitor the existing and ongoing standards and to identify gaps and other topics relevant to Hycool where standards could be developed to promote the inclusion of the findings of the project in future new or revised standards that can be easily used by the European or international industry. Participation in standardization activities and collaboration with standardization committees will also help reducing any existing or future barrier from the standards side that could affect the project impact. Standardization activities in HyCool are considered by this reason as a valuable tool for supporting the exploitation of the project outcomes, by facilitating future replicability and widest use and reducing market acceptance risks.


“Experimentally validated dynamic model for a hybrid cascade system for solar heating and cooling applications”

By Valeria Palomba, Andrea Frazzica, Steffen Kühnert, André Große

Istituto di Tecnologie Avanzate per l’Energia CNR-ITAE, Messina (Italy)
Fahrenheit GmbH, Halle (Germany)

Last September our colleagues Valeria Palomba, Andrea Frazzica, Steffen Kühnert and André Große
presented the following paper on Hycool at the Eurosun conference held in Rapperswill:


This paper presents the dynamic modelling of a hybrid cascade chiller for solar cooling in industrial applications driven by Fresnel solar thermal collectors. The chiller comprises an adsorption module, which is directly connected to the bottoming vapor compression chiller. This cascade configuration allows enhancing the overall electric COP, since the adsorption module is operated to dissipate the heat rejected by the vapor compression chiller, thus reducing the condensation temperature quite below the ambient temperature. The model was implemented in Dymola/Modelica, allowing describing heat and mass transfer phenomena inside each component. The complete model was then validated against experimental data obtained on a cascade chiller prototype at the CNR ITAE lab. Finally, a reference daily simulation was performed to evaluate the ability of the developed chiller in providing cooling energy to a typical industrial application

Keywords: Dymola/Modelica, cascade chiller, industrial solar cooling

1. Introduction

The cooling demand is continuously growing worldwide in different sectors (Werner, 2016). Particularly, energy consumption and related emissions due to cooling processes in industrial sector are becoming a major issue. For this reason, the integration of renewable thermal energy sources inside industrial sites, for both heating and cooling applications is gaining a lot of attention (Farjana et al., 2018). Usually, it is accomplished with the use of thermally driven sorption machine, driven by thermal energy produced by non-concentrating solar thermal collectors (e.g. flat plate, evacuated tubes) (Murray et al., 2016). Nevertheless, this approach suffers of some weaknesses: first, when renewable source (i.e. solar energy) is not available, a backup system is needed to either operate the sorption chiller (e.g. gas boiler) or to directly produce cooling by means of standard technology (e.g. vapour compression chiller).
Secondly, the use of non-concentrating solar thermal collectors technologies often is not sufficient to properly drive the sorption machine, thus making it work under off-design conditions for several hours. Furthermore, these solar thermal collectors cannot be integrated as heating source in most of the industrial sites, since the achievable temperature level is usually not sufficient drive any process.

In such a background, the EU co-funded project HyCool (HyCool, 2018) aims at increasing the use of solar heat in industrial processes, integrating a concentrating Fresnel solar thermal collector technology, with a hybrid cascade chiller, to increase the share of renewable sources for heating and cooling applications in industries.

The present paper deals with the development of a numerical model, implemented in Dymola/Modelica, for the simulation of the innovative cascade chiller. The model describe heat and mass transfer phenomena in each component of the chiller, in order to accurately simulate its operation. Furthermore, it has been validated by means of experimental data measured at the CNR ITAE lab and it will be further used to evaluate optimal operating conditions and management strategies under typical working boundaries of an industrial plant.

2. The Hybrid cascade chiller

The hybrid heat pump is made up of two units, working in cascade mode: a thermal unit and an electric unit. The thermal unit is an adsorption chiller, based on the system already commercialised by Fahrenheit, which will be driven by the heat produced by a field of Fresnel solar thermal collectors, for the production of chilled water in the range of 16-22°C. This unit is hydraulically connected to the condenser of an electric vapour compression unit (i.e. cascading mode), which will provide chilled water to the user. In such a way, the adsorption unit is primarily meant for dissipating the condensation heat of the vapour compression unit. This operation allows increasing the overall electric COP, by reducing the temperature lift between evaporator and condenser of the vapour compression unit, thus limiting the compressor work.

Furthermore, the utilization of the cascading operation of the two units allows exploiting the benefits of the two types of systems, i.e. the low primary energy consumption of the thermal unit, which will be fed by renewable solar energy, and the fast response and good temperature control under different conditions of the electric unit (Vasta et al., 2018). A schematic of the hybrid heat pump operation and components as well as the different temperature levels is reported in Figure 1.

3. Dynamic modeling and validation

As shown in Figure 1, the hybrid heat pump is realized by hydraulically connecting the thermal and electric units. Consequently, the models for the two units were implemented and tested separately and then the overall model for the system was assembled and calibrated. […]

Read More

Application of new cooling technologies in food sector industry processes with solar energy


The food sector is making ever increasing demands for cooling in production and product conservation processes. Such a situation represents a challenge to the industry, since higher energy consumption can lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, SO2 and NOx), which in turn contribute to global warming of the atmosphere. The HYCOOL project was born from the need to cope with sector demands and to minimise their environmental impact. The aim of the project is to maximise the use of renewable energy sources in industrial cooling.

HYCOOL (Industrial Cooling through Hybrid system based on solar heat) is an innovative project co-financed by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020, programme for validating an industrial cooling and steam generation system using high temperature solar panels. The project, which commenced in May 2018 and is set to last for three years, is led by Veolia Serveis Catalunya and is made up of another 16 partners from six European countries. HYCOOL has a budget of 7.7 million euros and will be tested in two industrial plants in Catalonia.

The aim of the HYCOOL project is to increase the use of solar heat in industrial processes and show that it is feasible to apply new technologies (understood as a system) to industries with cooling needs with the use of solar energy. One of the advantages offered by HYCOOL is its greater flexibility and capacity for adaptation to different settings thanks to its hybrid pumps, which enable it to work with conventional grid electricity or from renewable systems such as solar energy. Hybrid pumps also provide a more efficient system by doubling the coefficient of performance (COP) of conventional heat pumps.

The advantages of HYCOOL for the food industry

One of the sectors that can most benefit from application of the HYCOOL system is the food industry, since it permits the current recooling plants to be replaced. Such plants are necessary for extracting heat from the production areas or for reducing and/or maintaining the temperature of the food product at low temperatures before, during and after the production process.

The purpose of the cooling required in the food industry is to reduce biochemical and microbiological changes in foodstuffs. This enables the life span of fresh produce and processed foods to be lengthened and can also maintain a given temperature during processing, as is the case in fermentation processes.

There are a multitude of processes in the food sector that require cooling systems, as is the case in the fermentation industry (such as the beer-making sector in their fermentation processes, yeast tanks and product storage), the dairy industry (milk pasteurisation processes, obtaining and concentrating whey, butter production, etc.), the meat processing sector (packaging processes in production and storage of raw materials and end products) and the bread industry (fermentation and storage), etc.

For processes like these, the set point temperatures are variable, which is the case with cooling systems used in the market (evaporative cooling systems, indirect cooling, etc.). The HYCOOL system can reach temperatures of 5ºC or -10ºC, depending on the configuration of the compressor it uses (cascade or pre-cooling mode), which makes it adaptable to almost any process in the food industry.

Bo de Debò: first food company to try out HYCOOL

The expectations for the HYCOOL system are not humble ones: it is hoped that the system shall enable reductions in energy consumption of around 75% and increases in efficiency of 25% in the environments where it is used. To demonstrate this, the company BO DE DEBÒ, in Sant Vicenç de Castellet (Barcelona) was selected as a firm in the food sector to test HYCOOL and confirm the performance expected from the system. The main focus of the activities of BO DE DEBÒ is on preparing high-quality pre-cooked dishes, which requires cooling to be used in its conservation processes for raw materials and end products (between 0 and 4ºC) and in the production and delivery areas (between 8 and 12ºC).

The cooling system operates via solar energy and has two key components: the collectors and the hybrid heat pumps. The Fresnel compact solar collectors -developed by the Austrian company, FRESNEX– have a mirror surface area of 10 m2 and supply the heat source used by the system. They also incorporate a swivelling mirror bearing as the support bearing system for the mirrors, using a hinge line. This innovative feature enables the element’s thermal performance to be increased, as demonstrated in the test institute, where excellent results were obtained. On the other hand, the hybrid heat pumps (or HHP) developed by the German company, FAHRENHEIT are made up of a hybrid adsorption/compressor cooler that can exploit thermal energy (residual heat or other renewable energy sources) and electrical energy to supply cooling energy with high electrical efficiency. The system includes an adsorption module with an evaporator that cools the steam compression cooler condenser, thus improving the electrical COP.

The combination and flexibility offered by the system makes for a wider range of output temperatures, generating a broader spectrum of applications in industrial processes. All these technological innovations shall be put to the test at BO DE DEBÒ, which has a solar field surface area of 400 m2 and receives personalised implementation according to its needs.

Other systems that the system can include are steam generation or uses with hot domestic water, or dissipation systems for heat generated in months when most heat is generated and in new processes. Regardless of the use it will finally be put to, the HYCOOL project aims to show that the system’s flexibility enables it to be adapted to any surroundings and so obtain satisfactory performance.

Veolia’s commitment to promoting this type of projects demonstrates the desire of the company to innovate and constantly seek environmentally sustainable solutions based on renewable energies. The implementation of the HYCOOL project is one example of how collaboration between government and the business community can give form to initiatives that not only mean improvements in a company’s energy consumption results but also in its impact on the environment.


RETEMA, Revista Técnica de Medio Ambiente: Aplicación de nuevas tecnologías para refrigeración en el sector alimentación mediante energía solar Veolia lidera el proyecto europeo HYCOOL para maximizar el uso de energías renovables en la refrigeración industrial Hycool, un proyecto para maximizar el uso de la energía solar en la refrigeración industrial Veolia fomentará el uso de energía renovable en la refrigeración industrial Veolia se suma al proyecto HYCOOL para incrementar el uso de energías renovables en la refrigeración industrial Veolia lidera el proyecto europeo Hycool Veolia lidera el proyecto europeo HYCOOL para maximizar el uso de energías renovables en la refrigeración industrial La bagenca Bo de Debò és pionera a generar fred i vapor amb panells solars