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.
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.
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.
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.
Rimini, a beautiful Italian city on the Adriatic coast served as the center of operations for the third meeting of the Hycool consortium, celebrated between November 5th and 6th. This location was chosen to also boost the project’s dissemination activities at the Ecomondo fair, especially under the KeyEnergy section; one of the two main exhibition events on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Italy.
During the meeting, technical advances regarding the installations that will be made at the pilot sites were discussed. Those advances concerned the choice of the absorber material, the monitoring of the material’s degradation, as well as the integration of the system CSP including energy management tools. The consortium also discussed the system integration for the high-performance solar heat pump components. Decisions were also made regarding the demonstration activities to be made in the future.
R2M presented Hycool to Ecomondo’s attendants thanks to a workshop held at the Girasol Room on November 6th. This workshop included a conference and round table, where more or less 40 participants had the occasion to learn about Hycool’s technology and potential.
The project’s partners CNR ITAE, Givaudan, and R2M Solution presented very interesting information raising interest among the attending technical stakeholders responsive to offer energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions to their customers in the future.
The round table offered the participants the opportunity to learn more about the state of the art of energy efficiency in industry and concrete best practices of business models to finance energy audits and continue investing in efficient and renewable energy with a focus on the Italian market.
It must be said that organisers and attendees were quite happy by the workshop’s success in such a huge fair where the project competed for attention with big names like Shell and well known Italian institutions.
Additionally, R2M also set up a booth inside the Key Energy section as a way to share more information to the fair’s public and to raise awareness on the benefits of Hycool’s industrial solar heating solutions.
Download the presentations from the workshop below:
The hybrid heat pump constitutes one of the core elements of the HyCool solution for solar cooling in industry and, therefore, its optimal design is crucial to achieving high performance of the overall system. Since the very beginning of the project, the Fahrenheit team has been working on a prototype of the hybrid heat pump with the goal of obtaining highest efficiency while keeping the machine simple and reliable. In the early spring of 2019, the first prototype HyCool XHHP01 was ready for testing. The results of the tests performed by CNR have shown a very good performance of the prototype and have indicated a few areas, which still needed improvement. Currently, the Fahrenheit team is making use of the time left before the installation of the pilot sites to optimize the functionalities of the hybrid heat pump. Three members of the team explain to us the general concept of the hybrid heat pump, how they want to optimize the prototype, and what challenges are still ahead of them.
The hybrid heat pump constitutes one of the core elements of the HyCool solution for solar cooling in industry and, therefore, its optimal design is crucial to achieving high performance of the overall system.
Eliza Nowak, Project Engineer at Fahrenheit GmbH, on the general concept of the hybrid heat pump
The term “hybrid” refers to a combination of two or more interconnected and co-operating heat pumps based on different principles of operation. In our case, the developed prototype consists of an adsorption and a compression heat pump connected in such a way that the evaporator of the adsorption unit cools down the condenser of the compression one. This lowers the condensation temperature below the one resulting from the outdoor conditions. Lower condensation temperature means higher EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio – ratio of the delivered cooling capacity to the consumed electrical power) of the compression chiller. Of course, to make this layout feasible, the savings of the electrical power consumption of the compressor due to higher EER should be higher than the additional power consumption of the adsorption unit and its auxiliaries.
Doreen Acker, Software Developer at Fahrenheit GmbH, on the prototype optimization
In terms of the control software optimization, we are implementing two changes in the HyCool XHHP01 prototype. The first one is the introduction of a free cooling mode, to allow the use of low external temperatures for cooling of the compression unit’s condenser. In brief, in the free cooling mode the condensation heat of the compression chiller is dissipated directly to the ambient air via the dry cooler. If the outdoor temperatures are low enough to ensure the condensing temperature of the compression chiller as low as or lower than with the use of the adsorption chiller, which happens mostly in winter and during night time, the system will operate more efficiently in the free cooling mode. The operation of the system resembles the standard operation of the compression chiller and saves the electrical power needed to drive the circulating pumps of the adsorption chiller. Thanks to the clever hydraulic connections in the adsorption unit, we can implement this new operation mode through a software update without the need to rebuild anything in hydraulics. The second change is the optimized start-up procedure. After the tests performed by the colleagues from CNR, they suggested that the compression unit should be started when the temperature in the cold water circuit of the adsorption unit reaches a specified threshold. In this way, we will ensure favourable conditions for the operation of the compression unit at all times.
René Weinitschke, After Sales & Factory Service Engineer at Fahrenheit GmbH, on the data logging and Cloud solutions
In order to evaluate the performance of the hybrid heat pump, we have to perform measurements and collect meaningful data. Some of the measurements will be carried out by the main control system based on the sensors installed on the pipelines but there are also quite a few sensors installed inside the prototype. The values from these sensors will not be sent to the main control system; rather we plan to collect them in the Cloud. We have not used this technology so far, but its implementation in our commercial projects is one of our priorities. It will not only help our After Sales services, but also contribute to our technology development. HyCool is a great opportunity for us to test this solution! From the beginning, we have to place great emphasis on the data security, especially because the pilot plants will be installed in “real-life” factories.
According to the current execution plan, the optimized prototype of the hybrid heat pump is going to be delivered to the Bo de Debó demo site in October 2019. After proper installation and commissioning, the operation of the hybrid heat pump will be monitored for 12 consecutive months. Based on the collected data the Fahrenheit team will evaluate its performance. It is expected that due to the optimization measures implemented, the prototype will show even better performance than what was achieved during the first tests at CNR.
By maximising the use of renewable energy through its unique technology, HyCool aims to minimise greenhouses gas emissions. Givaudan, which itself has a target of reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 30% between 2015 and 2030, is proud to host one of the project’s two pilot sites at its Sant Celoni plant. Givaudan spoke to Jorge Vilaseca, local Project Engineer, to get an update.
Why did Givaudan decide to participate in this project?
The idea was to test HyCool in at least two industries using significant amounts of cooling in their processes and Givaudan offers a great profile to host one of the pilot sites as a representative of the chemical industry. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to participate in this innovative project. HyCool is particularly attractive to Givaudan for two main reasons. First, our sustainability strategy A Sense of Tomorrow includes ambitious environmental targets. This project will help us reduce GHG emissions by a projected 3% for the site and decrease energy consumption in terms of electricity and gas, helping us towards our goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2025. The project is totally aligned with our sustainability strategy. Secondly, every Givaudan production plant needs heating and cooling, and it would be relatively easy to replicate this technology. HyCool should deliver refrigeration with 25% greater efficiency—this would provide Givaudan a competitive advantage.
How far along are we in the project?
We have finished the conceptual phase: we have decided where and how to use the cooling produced, where to install equipment and how to connect it. Now we are looking at detailed engineering: how to best connect materials, figuring out the best design for the electrical connections, etc. The one-year installation phase will then start this summer.
What requirements did Sant Celoni have to take into account when planning installation?
One issue was finding a place to install the solar collectors. They require more than 1, 000 m2 of surface, preferably over a roof. Because of a lack of surface on our buildings, and for safety reasons, mainly the presence of flammable products, this wasn’t possible, and we had to install the solar field at ground level. This caused problems such as how to manage shadows of other buildings that we had to solve.
We also have to comply with all EHS requirements including ensuring a good works plan for execution. We expect a number of external contractors and companies on site during installation and we will need to monitor all aspects of their work. We will need to ensure a pre-start safety review, issue corresponding work permits and make sure we prevent injuries and accidents: we want to ensure that “Everyone gets Home Safe Everyday”.
Givaudan, which itself has a target of reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 30% between 2015 and 2030, is proud to host one of the project’s two pilot sites at its Sant Celoni plant.
How did consortium partners contribute?
During the initial phase, we worked closely with the equipment companies and engineering and general contracting partners. This has been a real team effort.
What are the next steps for Givaudan as a pilot site?
The next steps are to finish the installation on time, on budget and safely and then to operate the machinery and collect data on energy efficiency and ease of use. We have two years of hard work ahead, but it will be stimulating. As to transferring the technology to other sites – why not? If it is cost effective, we will be able to use it in countries with even more favourable weather conditions such as Mexico, South Africa or Singapore.
Powering of industrial processes, if based on renewable technologies, may offer greater potential for CO2 emission reductions. Solar thermal energy is a promising sector which has been widely studied during the last two decades, becoming a candidate of the highest potential among renewable energy technologies, especially for industrial heating and cooling processes, because some technologies, such as heat pumps and mechanical vapour recompression, are particularly effective in hybrid systems.
The use of direct solar heat in industry is often hampered by barriers like lack of nearby available surface and seasonal imbalances. However, recent solar steam developments applied in the cooling demand services is growing worldwide with a wider variety of use, mainly within the industry. Some technologies, such as heat pumps are particularly effective. The two demonstration sites selected to tests Hycool system (Bo De Debó and Givaudan) are industries where custom-designed packages will be built, installed and tested.
Bo De Debó is a specialised industry in preparing precooked fresh dishes based on meat, fish and vegetable products, for being frozen, vacuum-packed or canned, and then sealed. In this site, Hycool will pre-cool the water in a buffer tank where it should be cooled down with other chiller in order to get 3-5ºC needed for the production of “gazpacho” (a kind of vegetables juice) and food washing processes. The residual heat from the system will be used to produce hot water for cleaning operations.
Givaudan is the global leader in the creation of flavours and fragrances. In close collaboration with food, beverage, consumer product and fragrance partners, Givaudan develops tastes and scents that delight consumers the world over. The Hycool system will provide the cold water needed to refrigerate the glycol stored in a buffer tank before it’s pumped to the vacuum pump water rings. The residual heat from the system will be used to produce steam to be injected in the factory net.
In summary, the solar thermal energy provided by the Hycool System will allow our pilot sites:
To reduce their productions costs by using a free source of energy
To increase their system efficiency by using the residual thermal energy for producing heat water or steam
To reduce their global CO2 emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuels for producing that heat
This project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 programme under Grant Agreement No. 792073.