Hycool’s 3rd General Assembly in Rimini

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.

 

 

Three insights on the development of the hybrid heat pump

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.

After the tests at CNR’s premises in Italy, the prototype HyCool XHHP01 came back to Germany, where the Fahrenheit engineers are working on further improvements in the design of the hybrid heat pump.

 

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 works on the changes in the control software of the hybrid heat pump.

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

René Weinitschke is responsible for the implementation of Cloud solutions for data logging.

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.

 

Meet the Pilot Sites: Givaudan

Article by Givaudan

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.

HyCool Pilot: Givaudan’s Sant Celoni Site

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.

This interview is also available at Givaudan’s website.

Industrial cooling based on solar heat at the demo sites

Article by Alex Grande, from IDP

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.

CSP-Panels to be installed in the roof of Plant 3, in Bo de Debo facilities in Sant Vicenç de Castellet

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.

The old chilling system that will be substituted for the Hybrid Heat Pump from the new Hycool system, in Givaudan facilities (Sant Celoni – Spain).

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

HyCool’s 2nd General Assembly in Austria

The HyCool Consortium visited Feldkirchen a.d. Donau, near Linz, Austria On May 28th and 29th for its 2nd General Assembly. The meeting was hosted by Ecotherm and held in the picturesque Schloss Muehldorf hotel.

The two-day meeting allowed all partners to evaluate the progress and work done with each work package and see where the project stands after it’s first year. Highlights included the status of design and test of the HHP prototypes for the demo sites, the protocols for testing the adsorber materials, the final design and time table for deployment and execution of the technologies in the demo sites, and a review of the exploitation and communication activities to date.

The proximity to Ecotherm’s premises also allowed the consortium the opportunity to do a technical visit. The consortium had the opportunity to see first hand how they produce the water tanks and take a look at the solar panels installed in their rooftops, which include the Fresnex soalr collectors that will be deployed at HyCool’s demo sites.

The meeting ended having established clear goals for the next 6 months and looking forward to the work ahead.

HyCool and the market segment of solar thermal for industrial applications

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.

“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:

ABSTRACT

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. […]

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HYCOOL General Assembly in Messina

The HYCOOL consortium successfully held the 1st General Assembly on 22 and 23 November 2018, in Messina, Italy. The meeting was kindly and efficiently organized by CNR – ITAE.

As a presentation, Andrea Frazzica from CNR – ITAE opened the General Assembly meeting on the 22nd with a brief introduction about the institution’s activities and the city of Messina, and right after Ferran Abad from Veolia presented a note on the general project status in relation to the designs of the pilots and the specification of the technical solution.

After the presentation, during the first day, all partners got an overview of the HYCOOL project and its different work packages and had several meetings to clarify some technical points and also some issues related to the management of the project, closing the long day with a truly pleasant social dinner organized by the partners of CNR-ITAE.

During the second day, partners were able to review the project’s dissemination and communication activities and also attended a presentation on the Open Access principles, very useful for future project publications.

Silvia Jane and Ferran Abad from Veolia closed the meeting by reviewing all tasks, responsibilities and deadlines and summarizing the most important issues raised during the meeting.

Interview with the Hycool’s Project Officer, Daniel Maraver from INEA

  • Why do you think Hycool is a necessary European project in the current context?

DM (INEA): It is crucial that EU academic, research and industrial sectors join forces with the aim of demonstrating that solar heat can be a reliable energy source for industrial processes, therefore bringing significant prospects for the market uptake of this renewable energy source and for the decarbonisation of industrial processes.

  • What were your impressions at the kickoff meeting?

DM (INEA): I was impressed by the individual capacities brought up to the consortium by each member, but also aware of the big technical, administrative and management challenges to be faced by the project during its lifetime due to several aspects such as the large size of the consortium or the relatively short duration (36 months) for a project of this type. The consortium will receive 5.8M€ of EU taxpayer’s money that this is a big responsibility for the project to get timely results.

  • What is the interest of the project having a consortium with a mix of small and large companies?

DM (INEA): One of the main objectives of Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme is to bridge the gap between science, research and innovation communities and society at large by fostering more inclusive, anticipatory, open and responsive research and innovation systems. In other words, bring solutions to the challenges faced by society from research to market. In this frame, it is very interesting to have an adequate mix of small and large companies in order to ensure the SMEs are ready to scale up their technology once it is validated in the project but also that significant industrial investment effort is ensured during the project and after its completion by the different large companies in the consortium.

  • What achievements do you expect from Hycool, and what impact do you think they could have on both industry and the environment?

DM (INEA): From INEA we expect the project to fulfill the obligations set out in the Grant Agreement signed between both parts. In particular, the main achievements should be to improve industrial integration of current solar heating systems, to achieve a cost effective solution, and finally to demonstrate that solar heat can be a reliable energy source for key industries in terms of thermal energy consumption (chemical and food).

In the long term, the main impact of Hycool should be the contribution to the decarbonisation of industrial processes in view of the global environmental challenges faced by our society.

  • How do you think Hycool technology will benefit industries of its two particular demo cases?

DM (INEA): If successful, Hycool will result in significant savings in their cooling processes for both primary energy and fossil fuel utilization, with the corresponding economic impact this will entail. In addition, both companies could also benefit from a positive impact on the public perception of their activities, which will help improving their core business.

  • How do you see the replication of the Hycool project results to other industrial sites?

DM (INEA): I see the replication in different industrial sites as the next necessary step after the project lifetime. I think the strong interest and capacities brought up by the partners involved in the project and the one gained during the 36 months duration will ensure the replication of the Hycool solution, therefore bringing significant economic and environmental impacts to other industrial sites.

Fresnex presents HyCool in the CIES 2018 Congress in Madrid

Last June Fresnex presented the HyCool project at the CIES 2018 in Madrid (XVI Congreso Ibérico y XII Congreso Iberoamericano de Energía Solar), the most important solar energy congress in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. In this congress, the most interesting and novel projects related to all major solar technologies are presented and discussed, with the presence of the all relevant stakeholders from the sector.

Fresnex is an Austrian manufacturer of solar concentrating technology based on an innovative approach using flat solar mirror modules to concentrate the sun on a receiver. The Fresnel based concept to provide concentrated solar heat (CSH) is a major pillar of the HyCool hybrid solar heating and cooling project. It was developed specifically for process heat in the industry, is ideal for rooftop applications and aims to drastically reduce the costs of solar heat thanks to its patented technology. The company was invited to present its latest developments and upcoming projects in Spain. During the speech, Fresnex briefly described the HyCool project and the corresponding implementation in two industrial demonstration sites in the area of Barcelona.

Fresnex is playing an important role in the introduction of effective CSH projects in industrial applications in the European market. Each installation reduces substantially the consumption of fuel fossils for thermal applications in the industry, generating both a positive impact in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and real savings in the industry’s yearly fuel bills. Both HyCool demonstrators will prove for the first time in Spain the real potential of CSH in the industry. They will mainly generate solar steam, solar hot water as well as solar cooling in combination with novel phase change storage technologies.