Article by Zia Lennard, from R2M
The EU-funded HyCool project is demonstrating the technical and economic feasibility of solar thermal cooling production for the chemical and food industries in two pilot sites. By coupling modular Fresnel concentrated solar panels with thermal storage and hybrid cooling units, HyCool extends the range of applications not only to higher temperature processes, but also to cooling and refrigeration.
HyCool stimulates the market segment by addressing the technical feasibility and the issue of business models to stimulate investment towards wide-scale penetration of solar thermal for industrial processes.
Innovative and adaptive solutions can help alleviate high capital investment by industrial players, shifting risk to actors such as ESCos whose core business is to finance, plan, install, and operate renewable energy systems. As one example, in the sunny countries of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, there are approximately 18,500 steam boiler systems in operation – each a potential market opportunity for HyCool to advance the state of the arts in solar thermal for industrial applications. By demonstrating the technical feasibility and validating business model assumptions with relevant stakeholders, this market segment can be propelled.