EMPA is the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Material Science and Technology. Within HyCool, they are responsible for selecting the best adsorption materials for the HyCool project. They are finding ways to use state-of-the-art adsorbent materials and integrate new materials that could increase the performance of the HyCool Hybrid Chillers.
To better understand and monitor material performance, they are developing a computational tool that can predict its behavior in a given industrial application. These simulations produce important feedback for material scientists to improve them, thus improving the cooling capacities of the chillers and reducing the time from lab to market of these materials.
If you want to learn more about their work, then take a look at this interview where Emanuele Piccoli further explains EMPA’s work and how this innovation benefits the industrial sector.
Within the HyCool project (Industrial Cooling through Hybrid system based on solar heat), a fundamental point is to determine the environmental and socio-economic benefits of the innovative HyCool solution compared to the state of the art.
The HyCool project will introduce for the first time the solar energy in industrial cooling systems, as the result of the integration of 3 main innovations (Figure 1):
Solar steam generation (concentrating solar collectors);
Phase change materials (PCM) storages; and
Highly efficient and flexible hybrid chiller technology.
With the installation of the demonstration sites in Givaudan (chemical industry) and Bo de Debó (food industry), we are now getting to the heart of the demonstration activities, which will include the assessment of environmental and socio-economic impacts.
The HyCool System indeed will result in relevant benefits on the environment and the human health, as well as in important economic benefits thanks to energy consumption reduction (estimated in 75%) and operational GHG emissions reduction.
In particular, the assessment of environmental and socio-economic impacts aims to analyse, evaluate, understand and manage the environmental and health effects of the HyCool technologies and solutions, with particular reference to the Global Warming Potential (GWP), with the quantification of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions considering the entire life up to the point of disposal.
The activities will be performed in the framework of Work Package 7, led by the partner CiaoTech srl (Italy), a consulting company specialised in innovation management.
Since the assessments are conducted with a comparative methodology, as a first step, we have identified and analysed the reference process, with most industrial cooling and refrigeration systems worldwide powered by electricity and employing big electrically driven vapor compression machines. Secondly, we have defined the main environmental parameters and indicators to be monitored during the assessments.
In the coming months, we will carefully and thoroughly analyse the HyCool technologies and system, first of all from the environmental point of view, taking into account all the phases of the life cycle as per ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards (Figure 2). This analysis is known as Life Cycle Assessment or LCA.
Thus, the LCA will allow us to quantify all inputs (resources and energy) and outputs (pollutants and wastes) of the solar cooling systems and assessing how these solar cooling systems affect the environment, by demonstrating the benefits of the HyCool System in comparison with the heating and cooling processes currently used in the industry.
We will then analyse the economic impacts of the developed innovative technologies by comparing them against the conventional practice with a view to demonstrate significant reduction in human labour intensity and cost, but also reduction in operating expenditures incurred by energy, water and material consumption.
Finally, the assessment will focus on the social impacts that the Hycool solutions will generate on society at large.
These activities will allow us to have a complete picture of the potential impacts deriving from the application of HyCool innovation in the world of industrial refrigeration and to demonstrate that solar heat can become a reliable energy source for greener, more energy-efficient industrial processes.
How to turn solar heat and industrial waste heat into useful cooling effect? Industrial processes are often energy-intensive and the need for their efficient decarbonization is now at the forefront of governmental and corporate policies worldwide. However, solutions for the green transition of the industrial sector should be:
Minimize energy consumption
Reduce operational costs
Lower CO2 footprint
Is there a solution to all these answers? Heat pumps are the fit match to tackle these issues.
Within HYCOOL, CNR ITAE and Fahrenheit have developed a hybrid thermal heat pump for application in several industrial sectors where efficient and sustainable cooling is needed. But what is the hybrid heat pump?
The hybrid heat pump concept
HYCOOL system proposes the combination of a thermal heat pump with an electrical heat pump: the thermal heat pump exploits low-temperature waste heat (i.e. 70-90 °C) that is generally unused or dumped to the ambient. It can also be powered by renewable sources, such as solar heat and biomass. The electrical heat pump can exploit electricity locally produced (i.e. from PV panels or other sources) and thus further increase the share of renewables. The hybridization consists in the configuration of the two heat pumps: they can work in series, in parallel or in cascade by just changing the hydraulic connections. This makes HYCOOL configuration flexible and easily adaptable to different industrial cases.
In the framework of HYCOOL, two case studies are considered, which are shown in Figure 1:
At GIVAUDAN (chemical industry), process cooling at +5°C is needed. To achieve this target with an overall high efficiency, the base load is covered with an adsorption unit (80 kW nominal power) that cools down the fluid in the range 5-21°C. Peak load is supplied by a compression unit with a natural refrigerant (propane, R290), that is connected in series with adsorption unit.
At Bodedebò (food industry), cooling of food at -10°C is needed. In this case, the efficiency in cooling generation is achieved by using a cascade configuration: the thermal heat pump (adsorption) is used as topping stage for the electrical heat pump, in a two-stage system. This increases the efficiency of the electrical heat pump up to 40% at the expenses of renewable or even waste low-grade heat, so virtually without the need for extra cost.
Experimental evaluation of the hybrid heat pump
The hybrid heat pump was tested in the laboratories of CNR ITAE in Messina in design and off-design conditions (see Figure 2). The aim of the tests was to define the cooling power and electricity consumption of the hybrid heat pump in the different ambient and process operating conditions, as well as confirm the reliability under off-design conditions. To this purpose, more than 100 testing cases were evaluated, and the results were reported in form of performance maps, like those in Figure 3.
Is HYCOOL solution feasible for you?
HYCOOL solution is widely suitable for a vast range of processes. To know whether solar cooling can be part of your industrial processes, a screening tool, based on process requirements and information on the solar radiation in your industry’s location, was realized and is accessible here:
The results of the experimental testing at CNR, instead, were used to compile a calculator to predict the refrigeration capacity and energy efficiency ratio (EER) of the cascade HYCOOL chiller for a given industrial cooling process. You can access the tool here:
Last 12 May 2031, the HyCool consortium held its 6th Virtual General Assembly! Organised as an intense half-day session, this meeting gathered 26 partners online in order to review and discuss project advances with regards to our Solar Heating technologies for Industrial settings. Work package leaders were able to present the progress made with the core technologies, demonstration activities, exploitation, communication, and coordination work packages.
The session started with project coordinator Veolia welcoming us and reviewing the status of the project management work package. After this dive into the more administrative side of the project, we stepped right into the technical workpackages: Empa was able to present the status of their work on the adsorption material characterization protocol and behavior model while Ecotherm presented an update on the energy management system that will soon be installed in both our pilots. Then Veolia updated us on the adavances of the civil works and installations that are ongoing at our two pilot sites, like the recent installation of the anchors at the Givaudan pilot site, for example.
After the more technical presentations, it was time for work packages 7, 8 and 9 that are in charge of environmental and socio-economical analysis, exploitation and communication activities. Highlights presented during these work packages include the ongoing LCA Analysis and our upcoming WSED Workshop with the collaboration of AIT, Ecotherm, Fahrenheit, CNR ITAE and R2M. From the communication standpoint several new materials where presented, including the new Ressource on SHIP page which aims to foster knowledge exchange and synergies with other sister projects and organisations working on promoting the use of Solar Thermal.
The meeting wrapped up with high hopes that next time we might meet again in person and with a clear view of the next steps that will be taken by all partners during the next 6 months.
HyCool’s technology helps industrial processes to achieve higher refrigeration efficiency by integrating solar heat with hybrid heat pump technology. The performance of a hybrid adsorption-compression cooling system mainly depends on the operation parameters of the process. We have developed a “Refrigeration Capacity and EER Calculator Tool” that helps you estimate the performance of hybrid heat pump technology based on hot water temperature, chilled water temperature, and dry cooler outlet temperature.
Congratulations to one of our team members, Marco Calderoni, from our project partner R2M Solutions, who was elected as new chair of the RHC-ETIP, the European Technology and Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling!
The RHC-ETIP represents stakeholders from the biomass, geothermal, solar thermal sectors, heat pumps, district heating and cooling, thermal storage and hybrid systems. It is, therefore, a unique ETIP covering all the renewable heating and cooling technologies.
Marco Calderoni takes over for Javier Urchueguía, RHC-ETIP Chairman in 2020. As key takeaways from his presidency period, Dr.Urchueguía pointed out the influential role of the RHC-ETIP to tip the balance of the budgetary distribution towards renewable heating and cooling. During his first meeting as Chairman of the RHC-ETIP, Marco Calderoni highlighted the potential positive impact of new alliances formed in 2020, such as the one with ETIP SNET and the Clean Energy Transition Partnership. His mandate started on the 1st January 2021 and will run until the end of 2021.
HyCool is part of the RHC European project database and has been actively participating in their events and workshops. Now, we take one more step in our relationship with the Platform and can continue to indirectly contribute to their work of maximising synergies and strengthening efforts towards research, development and technological innovation of Solar Thermal Energy within the European Union.
You can now read the full press release from RHC-ETIP here [https://www.rhc-platform.org/marco-calderoni-elected-as-new-chair-of-the-rhc-etip/]
During this online encounter, a selection of fifteen H2020 EU-funded projects gathered experts from the biomass, geothermal, solar thermal and heat pump sectors to explore a shared strategy to expand the use of renewable energy technology for building and industrial heating and cooling processes.
These technologies offer efficient and increasingly cost-competitive solutions to energy consumption.
Figure 1. Banner for “Renewable Heating and Cooling Solutions for Buildings and Industry Workshop” at SP2020.
In the course of the workshop, the projects were grouped into four categories according to their focus: (1) RHC for industrial applications; (2) storage solutions for RHC building support; (3) innovative solutions for RHC building deployment; (4) demonstration actions for RHC in buildings.
Within the first cluster reviewing Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC) for industries, Dr. Jakob offered a view of HyCool’s mission to increase the use of solar heat in industrial processes. For instance, HyCool’s solution combines solar collectors with adsorption chillers, that use solar energy to produce steam, heating, and cooling energy with greater efficiency.
Figure 2. Slide from Dr. Jakob’s presentation at SP2020.
Furthermore, Dr. Jakob’s shared the key equipment composing HyCool’s innovation and how it will be tested on the two pilot sites where HyCool will use the latest available developments in both concentrated solar panels and thermal storage fields to develop two innovative hybrid solar system concepts: one for chemical industrial processes primarily meant for solar steam and cooling energy provision and one for the small food industry primarily meant for solar cooling production.
Figure 3. Slide from Dr. Jakob’s presentation at SP2020.
In addition, Dr. Jakob showed how the HyCool’s Pre-feasibility Simulator can enable users to evaluate whether or not HyCool’s technology is suitable for a given industrial cooling process.
More About the Workshop
In conclusion, to further support the increase in the share of renewable energy across the EU, the production and validation of RHC solutions are of primary importance. The numerous fields of application in which innovative RHC technologies are proposed and currently investigated to demonstrate the relevance of this subject. Their performance and reliability must be demonstrated in order to achieve large distribution, because one of the key obstacles is the reluctance of industrial firms to implement new technologies, which can cause problems in production processes.
What seems necessary is to continue and improve cooperation between EU partners in order to take advantage of the expertise gained and to explore the social obstacles to the implementation of these solutions.
After two years and a half since the start of the project, HYCOOL partners met for its 5th General Assembly. The leaders of each on-going Work Package had a presentation about the progress of their work and planned for the next period, considering risks, opportunities and challenges.
The HYCOOL team is excited on announcing that pilot implementation has already started. The construction of the technical rooms at the Givaudan demo site are nearly completed, which will allow to start the installation of the technology provided by FAHRENHEIT, AIT and ECOTHERM in the upcoming weeks. At the Bo de Debò demo site, the civil works for the technical room have already started and will be completed shortly.
We will keep an eye on the pilot progress for the next months!
At the end of last September, the pilots of the HyCool project (Industrial Cooling through Hybrid system based on solar heat) began their way to start-up. In this initial phase of project execution, the two demonstration sites have started the civil works with which the necessary infrastructures are built to house the equipment and all parts of the system. These works are developed on the following fronts:
Givaudan: installation of the solar field on a plot adjacent to the plant; construction of a prefabricated technical room next to the solar field that will provide water vapor to the production plant from solar energy and with the technology supplied by Ecotherm; construction of the technical room that will supply cold to the plant, using adsorption pumps built by Fahrenheit.
2. Bo de Debó: installation of the solar field on one of the warehouses of the production plant; construction of the technical room that will house the hot and cold water production system using using Fahrenheit hybrid heat heat pumps and Ecotherm solar technology
The construction works are expected to be completed by the end of November 2020, giving way to the installation and commissioning stages of the HyCool systems, whose commissioning is expected in mid-June 2021.
On September 1st , 2020, HYCOOL partner, CNR ITAE, presented the project at EuroSun 2020.
EuroSun 2020 offers a platform to discuss the latest developments with leading solar energy experts as well as policymakers and industry representatives. CNR ITAE presentation included:
A poster on ‘Experimental evaluation of a hybrid adsorption-compression cascade chiller for solar cooling applications in industrial processes’.
And the publication of the scientific paper ‘Experimental evaluation of a hybrid adsorption-compression cascade chiller for solar cooling applications in industrial processes’, which will be included at the ISES Conference Proceedings Database.