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					       Solar Thermal Vision 2030

                        Vision of the usage and status of
                   solar thermal energy technology in Europe
                     and the corresponding research topics
                            to make the vision reality

          First version of the vision document for the start of the
            European Solar Thermal Technology Platform

                                            May 2006

              This vision document was prepared by the initiator group of ESTTP
                      Teun Bokhoven, Nigel Cotton, Harald Drück, Ole Pilgaard,
                        Gerhard Stryi-Hipp, Werner Weiss and Volker Wittwer

                                   with valuable contributions from
 Aris Aidonis, Riccardo Battisti, Chris Bales, Maria Carvalho, Jan-Olof Dalenbäck, Simon Furbo, Hans-
Martin Henning, Soteris Kalogirou, Peter Kovacs, Dirk Mangold, Mario Motta, Collares Pereira, Christian
        Roecker, Matthias Rommel, Thomas Schabbach, Claudia Vannoni, Grzegorz Wisniewski

                                        ESTTP Secretariat
                       c/o European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF)
                                     Renewable Energy House
                                    Rue d’Arlon 63-67, B-1040 Brussels
                               Tel: +32 2 546 19 38, Fax: +32 2 546 19 39

                                  ESTTP is strongly supported by
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                            Page 2

Executive summary
Without any question, solar thermal        least 200 GWth by 2030, when solar
technology is already a matured            thermal energy will be used in the
technology. 30 years of development        majority of European buildings. The
have led to efficient and long lasting     typical share of solar thermal energy
systems.      However,    today    solar   in meeting the heating and cooling
thermal energy is only used in a small     demands of a single building will be
percentage of European buildings,          increased dramatically to more than
usually for domestic hot water heating     50%, and up to 100%. And new
in private houses. A growing share of      applications will be developed, e.g.
the     installed   systems     provide    solar thermal systems that provide
additional support of room heating,        process heat for industrial use.
covering already typically up to 30%
of the total heating requirements of a     Although matured solar thermal
building in Central Europe. Some large     technologies are available already,
solar thermal systems are installed,       there    are  further    developments
which provide domestic hot water for       needed to provide adjusted products
multi-family      buildings,     hotels,   and applications, reduce the costs of
hospitals and similar buildings. A few     the systems and increase market
very large solar energy systems are        deployment. Turning solar thermal
delivering heat for district heating,      into a major energy resource for
sometimes by using huge seasonal           heating and cooling in Europe by 2030
storages, which are heated by the          is an ambitious but realistic goal,
solar collectors in summer and which       which is well achievable – provided
deliver this heat for room heating in      the   right   mix    of   research  &
winter.     There   are    also   some     development, industrial growth and
demonstration systems installed to         consistent     market      deployment
produce high temperature heat for          measures is applied.
industry or to assist cooling machines
up to now.                                 About 49% of final energy demand in
                                           Europe is used for heating and cooling
The most important reason for not          requirements, mainly in buildings. On
using more solar thermal energy            the basis of a strong reduction of
today is the low (and subsidized) price    energy    demand     through   energy
for fossil fuels. However, from 1998 to    efficiency measures, solar thermal
2005, the oil price increased by 23%       energy will be the most important
p.a. on average. Further there are         energy source for heating and cooling
growing doubts over the security of oil    in new buildings and in the existing
and gas supply since the Russian-          building stock by 2030. Already today,
Ukrainian gas quarrel at the beginning     state-of-the-art     buildings     are
of 2006. And a growing number of           constructed that are fully heated by
experts are proving evidence that we       solar thermal energy.
are near reaching peak-oil, after
which oil supply will decline due to       Solar thermal systems will look very
physical reasons. In addition, the         different in the future. Solar thermal
urgency to reduce the use of fossil        collectors will cover, together with
fuels in order to reduce emissions of      photovoltaic modules, the entire
greenhouse gas and to limit climate        south-oriented roof area of buildings.
change becomes more and more               Roof windows will be integrated. The
obvious. For all these reasons a fast      storage tank will be able to store the
transition to an energy structure          solar heat over weeks and months,
based on renewable energy is of            but will not be too large. The solar
utmost importance.                         thermal energy system will provide
                                           domestic hot water, room heating in
Solar Thermal Energy is an important       winter     and    room     cooling   in
alternative to fossil fuels with a huge    summertime, thus greatly increasing
potential. In 2005 approximately           the overall comfort of the building.
10 GWth of solar thermal capacity
were in operation in Europe. This          Important    further  solar   thermal
capacity could well be increased to at     applications will be available: large

                              European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                            Page 3

systems for multi-family houses,           a very important role in the future
hotels, hospitals etc. In small cities,    development of solar thermal in
every building will have its own solar     Europe by:
thermal system; in large cities, solar
                                                    specifying the vision of the
thermal energy will be used within
                                                    use of solar thermal energy in
district   heating    systems.    Solar
thermal systems will provide process
heat of up to 250°C for industrial                  working out a strategic
requirements. Solar thermal sea water               research agenda which is
desalination will be important, e.g. for            necessary to achieve the
the Mediterranean countries.                        vision
                                                    accelerating the technological
In a few years, solar thermal systems               and market development of
will be cost competitive, due to                    solar thermal technologies
reduced costs for solar heat and
increased prices for fossil fuels. The              advising industry, researchers
effect of large-scale use of solar                  and politicians about the most
thermal will decrease greenhouse gas                appropriate and effective
emissions as well as the high                       steps to develop the
European dependency on imported                     technology, industry and
fuels. Solar thermal energy will                    markets for solar thermal in
consequently help to keep the energy                order to implement the vision
costs within acceptable limits for                  and the strategic research
consumers and industries. In addition,              agenda
a large number of new and future-
oriented jobs will be created mainly in    The goal of the ESTTP is to help the
small and medium size enterprises,         industry, the research community as
due to the decentralised nature of the     well as public funding bodies to focus
technology.                                on high-impact topics with the aim of
                                           sustaining the European solar thermal
The    European     Solar   Thermal        sector's      global     technological
Technology Platform (ESTTP) will play      leadership.

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                                 Page 4

1 Introduction
A major part of the energy use in the          structural approach towards research
EU is related to applications in heating       and     development       along     with
and     cooling   which    operate    at       implementation        aspects.     Solar
temperatures far below 250°C. Most             thermal will generally be produced on
of this heat could be provided by solar        site and not transported over long
thermal energy.                                distances. Therefore, solar thermal
                                               needs to “blend” into the existing
About 49% of final energy demand in            processes, installations and buildings.
EU25 is used for heating purposes.
80% of that demand is used for                 In new buildings, solar thermal energy
applications below 250°C. These                can cover 100% of heating and
figures reflect the enormous potential         cooling requirements. In the existing
for solar thermal as the main                  building stock, solar thermal can
technology to replace traditional fuels        cover more than 50% of the heating
used for heating and cooling.                  and cooling requirements, and up to
                                               100%, depending on the specific
                                               conditions. For various industrial
                                               processes, the solar thermal potential
                                               is hardly used today, but this is
                                               expected to change drastically once
       Electricity                             the turning point is reached and price
          20%                                  levels of traditional fuels will exceed
                                               solar thermal prices.
                             49%               This vision document describes the
                                               goals and targets for solar thermal
       Transport                               energy and provides an overview of
          31%                                  the technological perspectives and
                                               needs of research and development to
                                               fully utilise its benefits as a major
                                               energy source in 2030. The paper
                                               gives some ideas as to the sectors in
                                               which solar thermal energy will be
   Fig. 1: Breakdown of final energy           used, to what extent, with which
         consumption in Europe                 technology and in what types of
In order to fully utilise the potential of
the technology, there must be a

2 Objectives and scope
2.1 The nature of the                          energy     efficiency  measures     and
                                               energy savings in general. However
    task: heating and                          these measures alone will not be
    cooling without the                        sufficient. The large-scale deployment
    use of fossil fuels                        of renewable energies and especially
                                               solar thermal is the essential factor to
                                                                                           Solar thermal
                                               guarantee a sustainable supply of
In 2030, it is very likely that due to                                                     energy offers the
                                               heating and cooling.
their limited availability fossil fuels will                                               availability to
be too expensive to be used for                                                            cover a substantial
heating and cooling buildings. The             The proportion of CO2-neutral heating
                                                                                           part of the EU
need for drastic reductions in the             systems using biomass, and in some
                                                                                           energy use in a
consumption of fossil fuels for energy         regions      geothermal,      will   rise
                                                                                           cost effective and
requirements      in     buildings     and     significantly in the future. The existing
                                                                                           sustainable way
industrial processes will lead to              biomass and geothermal potential will

                   European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                            Page 5

however not be sufficient to cover the     to allow their use in the widest
entire heating and cooling demands,        possible spectrum of applications, as
especially since biomass will also be      well as their integration in the building
needed to cover the requirements of        and in the energy system.
the    transport    and      electricity
generation sectors.                        For the existing building stock the
                                           challenges are even greater. The
In the vision described in the             building    envelope,   the   location,
following, the efficient use of energy     orientation and access to energy
sources, by means of heat insulation       networks determine the possibilities to
of buildings for instance, but also by     reduce the heating demand and to
using passive solar energy through         produce the entire heat demand by
windows, as well as the extensive use      solar    thermal    energy.  However
of biomass and geothermal energy, is       technologies     and    products     to
taken for granted and not given            drastically    reduce    the    energy
specific mention. Therefore only the       consumption are already available.
active solar thermal energy systems,       The aim of the solar thermal branch is
which cover an important part of the       to cover substantially more than 50%
remaining    energy     demand,    are     of the remaining heating demand with
described.                                 solar thermal energy in refurbished

                                           Solar thermal energy will not only be
2.2 A vision for 2030:                     the most common type of heating
    solar thermal energy                   system in residential buildings but
                                           also in public, commercial and
    systems will provide                   industrial buildings, and it will supply
    up to 50% of low                       heat for domestic hot water as well as
    temperature heating                    for   room     heating   and     cooling
    and cooling demand
                                           For the industrial and agricultural         It is expected that
For new buildings, the vision is to        needs of process heating and cooling,       in the coming
establish the completely solar-heated      the challenges are similar. Due to          years solar thermal
building as a building standard by         increasing prices of fossil fuels and       will become the
2030. This concept already exists and      growing restrictions of greenhouse          most important
the functionality of such systems has      gas emissions, the industry is              source of energy
been proven. The only requirements         increasingly adapting to review its         for heating and
are a sufficiently large area for the      energy-consuming processes. In that         cooling buildings
solar collector and a seasonal heat        respect, there is growing potential         and will play an
storage system that uses the energy        which will require further appropriate      important role in
obtained in summer to heat the             technical solutions based on solar          providing
building over the winter months.           thermal technology in order to tap the      (industrial)
Already in 1989, a house using solar       enormous potential for heat at              process heat
energy for 100% of its heating             temperatures of up to 250°C.
requirements was constructed in
Oderburg, Switzerland. This was
                                           Approximately 40% of the final
followed by other solar energy
                                           energy consumption in the EU is
houses,    for   example    the  Self-
                                           accounted for by the low-temperature
Sufficient Solar House in Freiburg in
                                           heating segment in new buildings, the
1991. A growing number of buildings
                                           existing building stock, and industrial
constructed in Europe are heated 50%
                                           requirements in process heating and
to 100% by solar thermal energy.
                                           cooling. It is in this segment that the
                                           European Solar Thermal Technology
In the future, new compact long term       Platform is operating.
storage technologies will significantly
reduce the space demand required of
heat storage devices. High-efficiency
solar collectors will be developed
further, which will increase the energy
gained from the winter sun. Additonal
components and the design of such
systems have to be further improved

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                             Page 6

2.3 The potential for                      controllers,     pumps,        security
                                           equipment etc. as well as system
    innovation has been                    design, integration in conventional
    underestimated                         heating systems and the building
                                           envelope. In addition, the new
Up to now, solar thermal technology        applications such as process heat and
has no high priority in European and       cooling have to be further developed.
national R&D strategies and therefore
only very limited financial resources
are provided for R&D in this sector.
The reason is that in many circles,        2.4 The high variation of
solar thermal energy systems are               geographical
regarded as a low-tech technology
with little potential for development.
                                               conditions has to be
But the huge potential of energy               considered
production and the huge potential of
technical    development     of   solar    The different intensities of solar
thermal technology described in this       radiation and the different demands
vision document make it evident that       for domestic hot water, room heating
solar thermal technology is as yet         and cooling throughout Europe lead to
dramatically underestimated.               very different solar thermal systems
                                           and applications. This represents a
Already in recent years, impressive        major additional challenge for the
technological developments have been       development of the technology, but
made. All components of solar              also brings more dynamism into the
thermal systems were improved, new         process. Other than electricity, heat
concepts, materials and new types of       cannot be transported over large
production were developed in order to      distances, therefore solar thermal
increase efficiency, quality and life      energy has to be produced near the
time of the systems, as well as to         loads, and the applications have to be
reduce costs. For example, solar           adjusted to the various existing
combi-systems (solar thermal systems       heating and cooling equipment and
for combined domestic hot water            structures.
provision and space heating) have
been significantly improved in their       The vision and the strategic research
level of efficiency and reliability, as    agenda for solar thermal technology
well as in the level of integration of     have to take into account the
collectors into the roof cladding or       geographical and climatic variation
facades and of the integration of solar    across Europe, and have to guarantee
energy systems into conventional           that adjusted solutions are developed.
heating technology.                        Mediterranean heating and cooling
                                           installations      have       different
Now we have to start to fully exploit      requirements than Scandinavian ones.
the great potential for innovation of      Covering cooling demand is of priority
solar thermal technology in a strategic    in the south, and heating demand in
way. This applies to all components        the north of Europe.
such as solar collectors, storages,

                                                                                     Highly efficient,
                                                                                     innovative and
3 Solar thermal energy in 2030                                                       intelligent solar
                                                                                     thermal energy
By the year 2030, specific solutions       multi-family houses. In urban areas, a    systems providing
will be developed for new buildings,       growing proportion of buildings will be   hot water, heating
for the existing building stock, and for   heated by district heating systems        and cooling will be
other applications such as industrial      with seasonal storages, which are         available, and will
needs and cooling. Solar thermal           heated up to 100% by solar thermal        offer a high level of
energy will be used in stand-alone         energy.                                   reliability and
single family houses as well as in                                                   comfort

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                             Page 7

3.1 Solar vision for new                   stock will be a much bigger task than
                                           the construction of new buildings. All
    buildings: the Active                  throughout    Europe,    active    solar
    Solar Building                         thermal     energy    systems      offer
                                           excellent options for carrying out
                                                                                       The Active Solar
New buildings offer the chance of          energy-related      renovation        of
                                                                                       Building which is
optimising building architecture by        buildings, with sustainable emission-
                                                                                       100% heated and
providing a large solar proportion of      free heating and air-conditioning
                                                                                       cooled by solar
energy usage, minimum heat loss,           systems. Huge synergy effects can be
                                                                                       thermal energy will
efficient  ventilation   and    optimal    used by combining active solar
                                                                                       be the building
integration of large solar collector       thermal    systems    with    insulation
                                                                                       standard for new
areas. Integrated building planning        measures.
offers a high level of comfort in room
temperature conditioning by using          Active Solar Renovation could mean
surface heating and solar cooling          that compact facade or roof units
systems. The Active Solar Building will    containing active solar elements will
be fully heated by solar thermal           be placed on top of existing facades
energy.                                    for insulation and energy production
                                           purposes. Various solar facade and
There are different ways to achieve        roof modules will be available, for
the goal of fully heated buildings in      example solar thermal collectors for
Southern as well as in Central and         water or air heating, photovoltaic
Northern Europe. Active solar thermal      modules for electricity generation, as
energy systems could be integrated         well as modules with transparent
into   the    walls,  thus   efficiently   insulation for directly heating the
minimising the heating requirements        walls.
whilst providing an active and efficient
flow of heat energy into the building.     Facade elements used for heat
In summer, the heat energy can be          insulation of existing buildings will be
used for cooling, as required. Solar       significantly thinner and, at the same
collectors on the roof provide heating     time, offer greatly improved insulation
of the domestic water. As an               characteristics, for example through
alternative to wall-integrated active      the use of vacuum insulation. The
solar energy systems, large collector      elements will be offered in a wide
fields on the roof and in the facade       range of standard raster sizes and will
can feed into seasonal compact heat        offer the architect all possibilities for
storage systems that retain the            adding full-surface solar facades to
energy for use in the winter months.       the building. The ability to combine
                                           solar and opaque elements with any
                                           desired surface will extend the
Active solar thermal energy systems        architectural design possibilities and
can also be used for cooling the           offer the chance of providing a
building. Systems will be adapted to       complete solar energy solution.
accommodate geographic differences.
Buildings in the north of Europe will
                                           Other facade elements could be
emphasise the heating aspects, while
                                           directly coupled to the existing wall.
buildings in the south of Europe will
                                           The wall will be able to efficiently
emphasise     cooling.  Buildings    in
                                           absorb solar energy and direct the
Central Europe will most likely balance
                                           heat into the building in a controlled
the    two     aspects    in    generic
                                           manner. Layers within the wall will be
                                           able to regulate the heat flow into the     Active solar
                                           building efficiently for heating the        renovated
                                           building in winter through the wall and     buildings will be
                                           insulating it against external heat         heated and cooled
3.2 Solar vision for the                   outside the heating period. Buildings       by at least 50%
                                           could be largely heated by the walls        with solar thermal
    existing building                                                                  energy; Active
                                           using this technique.
    stock: Active Solar                                                                Solar Renovation
    Renovation                             In summer, the solar heat will be used      will be the most
                                           for cooling the building. Cooling           cost-efficient
In the future, the energy-related          machines driven by solar heat will be       way to renovate
renovation of the existing building        much smaller than today and highly          buildings

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                                 Page 8

integrated. As a result, the thermal         demand. An important reason for
comfort of the buildings will be much        using SAC is the need to avoid a
higher than today.                           totally unbalanced peak in electricity
                                             production during the summer period.

3.3 Solar vision for                         3.3.3   Solar thermal desalination
                                                                                           Solar thermal
    other applications                       One of the most urgent global tasks to        energy will play an
                                             be solved in the future will be to            important role in
                                             supply people with clean drinking             all segments
3.3.1   Block and district heating                                                         where heat of up
                                             water. It is necessary to accelerate
                                             the development of novel water                to 250 °C is used
In cities with dense building areas,
block and district heating systems           production systems from renewable
must significantly increase their share      energy. Keeping in mind the climate
                                             protection     targets     and   strong
of heat from solar thermal energy,
                                             environmental        concerns,    water
biomass and geothermal. By 2030,
the use of fossil fuels will be replaced     desalination and water treatment
by renewable heating systems in              around the world will be increasingly
existing block and district heating          powered by solar, wind and other
plants, e.g. in Sweden and Poland,           clean natural resources in future.
                                             Often very favourable meteorological
where they are common. In other
                                             conditions exist for the application of
countries in South, Central and
Northern Europe, new block and               solar thermal systems exactly in those
district heating systems will be built,      areas with a high level of drinking
because such systems make it                 water      scarcity.    Solar   thermal
possible to heat buildings in dense          desalination and water treatment
building areas with renewable energy.        systems      will    provide   excellent
                                             possibilities to cover that need in a
Solar thermal energy is available
                                             sustainable and cost-effective way.
everywhere and will cover a large
proportion of the energy demands of
these block and district heating             3.3.4   Process heat for industrial
systems.                                             needs and new
3.3.2   Solar assisted cooling
                                             28% of the end energy demand in the
The world air-conditioning market is         EU25 countries originates in the
                                             industrial sector. Many industrial
expected to grow exponentially in the
                                             processes    require    heat   on   a
next decades and the demand for
building air-conditioning will definitely    temperature level below 250°C. By
also increase in the European and            2030, solar thermal systems will be
Mediterranean countries. Although            widely used to serve that market
intelligent      architecture         will   segment. Important areas for solar
                                             thermal systems exist in the food and
significantly reduce the cooling loads,
                                             drink industries, the textile and
and the use of environmental heat
sinks such as soil or air will save          chemical industries and in washing
energy and cover some of the cooling         processes. Production halls, office
requirements, the rising demand for          buildings, shopping centres etc will
comfort     and   increasing    summer       also be heated and cooled using solar
temperatures will still cause a rapid        thermal energy in the future.
growth in space cooling loads.
                                             The availability of high temperature
                                             collectors will lead to the development
Solar assisted cooling (SAC) machines
will cover a large share of the cooling      of    other      new     solar     thermal
demand. Due to the simultaneity of           applications, e.g. solar thermal driven
cooling demand and solar radiation,          refrigerators, steam-sterilisers, solar
solar assisted cooling technology is         cookers    or     compact      solar   air-
highly likely to cover a large share of      conditioning systems.

                  European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                               Page 9

4 Innovation and technological development

The restructuring of the heating sector    Standardisation of the installation          Solar thermal
from fossil fuels to renewable and         technology and standardisation of the        systems offer a
especially solar energy generation not     interface between the collector, the         high potential for
only fulfils the requirements of           roof or facade and the rest of the           innovation and
sustainability and ecology but is also     installation will significantly reduce the   cost-cutting,
the optimum direction from an              installation time and costs. This will       especially when
economic point of view. By the year        also    lead     to    improvement      of   used as the main
2030, the costs of solar thermal           architectural design and therefore the       components in
energy will have been significantly        acceptance and the possibilities of          heating & cooling
reduced by technological innovation        usage of collectors in the roof and the      systems
and industrial mass production. On         facade.
the basis of the simultaneous increase
in the cost of fossil fuel energy          A very large innovation potential
sources, solar thermal heating and         exists in combining the functions of
cooling will be the most cost-effective    the building envelope with the heat
way to generate heat and provide           generation      by     the    collector.
cooling in the described market            Waterproofing, windproofing, heat
segments.      Due    to   the    great    insulation of the roof and facade, and
advantages of using solar thermal          the static loading requirements of the
energy, once it has achieved cost-         roof and walls have only been
competitiveness its use will only be       integrated into the collector design in
limited by the available space to          isolated cases up to now. Especially in
install the solar thermal collectors.      new     buildings,   the   construction
Some of the fields of innovation and       elements and the solar thermal
possibilities for cost reduction are       collectors could form a single unit in
described in following.                    the future. The collector can even
                                           take over the visual presentation of
                                           the facade, in the sense of structure
                                           and colour.
4.1 Solar thermal
    collectors                             4.1.2    Development

4.1.1   Integration                        The strong increase of the market for
                                           solar thermal collectors and the
By 2030, in most buildings solar           related types of applications leads to
thermal collectors and solar electricity   the diversification of specific collector
modules will cover the entire south-       types for different applications. High-
facing roof surface (south-facing          temperature      collectors    will    be
means from east, through south, to         developed      alongside     large-scale
west).    Collectors     and   modules     collector modules, façade-integrated
together with roof windows in a            modules and very inexpensive low
unified design will share the existing     temperature collectors.
surfaces. As well as the dedicated
solar thermal collectors, combined         To address the segments in the
solar thermal and electricity collectors   temperature range of 80°C to 250°C,
(PVT) will be available.                   collectors must be developed that can
                                           reach these temperatures at a high
In addition to the roof areas, south-      level    of   efficiency.    Appropriate
facing facades will also be used as        technology concepts already exist, for
active solar absorption surfaces. The      example flat-plate collectors with
solar collectors will be completely        multiple glazing and anti-reflective
integrated into the building envelope      coating, stationary CPC (compound
components. A new synergy will occur       parabolic concentrator) collectors or
through      compact      construction     small    parabolic    collectors.   High
techniques and the intelligent multi-      temperature collectors can also be
use of construction components.            used     for   refrigeration     services
                                           required in industrial processes.

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                              Page 10

4.1.3   Materials                           4.2 Heat storage for
The materials and processes currently
                                                single buildings
used in the production of solar                                                         The goal is an
thermal collectors do not satisfy all       The fully solar heated building will
                                            usually require seasonal storage of         eightfold increase
the requirements of suitability for                                                     in the energy
mass production. For example, a new         the solar heat generated in the
                                            summer months which is stored for           density of heat
generation    of    plastics  can    be                                                 storage by 2030
developed further with respect to the       heating demands in the winter
necessary mechanical, electrical and        months. Currently, in a well thermally
optical     characteristics.     Natural    insulated single-family house, the
materials are fundamentally suitable        today available water storage systems
for heat insulation with super-             need a volume of much more than ten
insulating characteristics, or can          cubic metres to provide the necessary
assume static functions. Ceramics,          capacity. By 2030, new storage
metal foam and other future materials       technologies will offer a significantly
promise     a    high    potential   for    higher energy density and will reduce
innovation in the area of collector         the required volume drastically. The
technology and will promote the             goal is an eightfold increase in the
development of new process-oriented         energy density of storage compared
heat collectors.                            to water as storage medium. In
                                            addition, thermal insulation of storage
                                            will be greatly improved, e.g. using
Significant       progress      in    the
                                            vacuum insulation that reduces the
development        of   functional  glass
                                            heat losses of the storage as well as
coatings has been made in recent
                                            the volume of the insulating layers.
years, from heat-protection glazing in
                                            The target is a seasonal heat storage
buildings, to anti-reflective coatings
                                            system with a volume of only a few
on solar glass, which raise the
                                            cubic metres for single family houses.
efficiency of heat collectors by up to
                                            In addition to a centralised heat
5%. Further progress is to be
                                            storage system, decentralised storage
expected from continuing intensive
                                            concepts in the form of heat-storing
research and from the latest research
                                            plastering material and storage walls
results    in     nanotechnology.     For
                                            will also become available.
example,      dirt-resistant    and   IR-
reflective layers will further increase
levels of efficiency over the entire life   In order to achieve this goal, R&D in
span of the product. Switchable layers      the field of storage technology has to
will allow the performance of the solar     have a high priority. Fundamental
thermal collector to be dynamically         research is required to bring about a
adjusted       to     suit     immediate    fundamental        and       innovative
requirements by adjustment of the           breakthrough with regard to reaching
level of reflection. Further innovations    the target of time-indifferent, compact
are seen in improved selective              storages.    New     approaches,     like
absorber coatings regarding dirt            thermo-chemical        (TC)      storage
resistance,             high-temperature    concepts, need to be explored.
resistance, chemical resistance and         Separate paths of development are
performance regulation.                     required in order to achieve an
                                            evolution in new generations of
                                            storage concepts. Each step in the
4.1.4   Manufacturing                       evolution from water storage, to PCM
                                            (phase change materials) storage, to
Great progress has been made in             TC storage will bring us closer to
recent years in optimising the              compactness and time independence.
technique used for joining the
absorber sheets and the absorber
                                            4.2.1   New materials and
pipes. Further great potential for
improvement is seen in the use of
new    materials  and   production
technologies in order to reduce             The development and use of new
production costs, e.g. with full            materials offers great innovation
through-flow volumetric absorbers           potential  in   storage    technology.
and frames suitable for industrial          Sorptive     and     thermo-chemical
production.                                 processes achieve significantly higher

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                             Page 11

storage densities than the water           4.3 Heat transfer and
storage tanks used today. New
materials have already proven to have          equipment
better properties than the previously
used silica gel and zeolite types.         In the future, a large proportion of
Alongside further research into new        solar thermal collectors will remain
materials, reduction of the production     separate from the storage medium
costs also plays a significant role.       and will still require a heat transfer
                                           circulation loop. The development of
Especially in short-term storage,          new types of heat transfer media, e.g.
latent heat storage tanks using a          ionic fluids, and collector loop
solid-liquid phase change will offer a     materials, e.g. metallised plastic
balance between load and source or         pipes, could improve system output
sink, in summer and winter. Latent         and reduce costs.
heat     storage    systems   can    be
integrated into the building or            New pumps especially developed for
technical systems in a variety of          the solar heat circuit are already
different ways, for example through        reducing the electricity demand by
integration into the building materials    more than 80%. These pumps,
and components or by introduction          together with additional functionality
into the heat transfer fluid. Both         such as measurement of the pressure
variations require R&D work at all         within the loop, will become standard
levels,    from    material   research,    within the next years. In addition
through component development, to          thermally driven pumps will be
system      integration   and    actual    developed.
                                           Expansion      tanks   and    vessels,
Another important aspect is the            overpressure valves, heat exchangers
further development of insulation of       and other system components will be
storage systems using new materials        further integrated and developed, e.g.
like    vacuum      insulation,  super     to resist high temperatures.
insulation and the use of natural
materials with the aim to reduce heat
losses, insulation layer thickness and
recyclability.                             4.4 Controllers and
                                               monitoring systems
4.2.2   Integration into the
        building                           By 2030, there will be only one
                                           controller for the solar thermal
                                           system, the backup heating and the
With the introduction of seasonal
                                           cooling system with an integrated
storage systems, the demands for
                                           monitoring functionality. This device
storage space will greatly increase.
                                           will allow an immediate overview of
Beside the aim to increase storage
                                           the system functions and will report
density, this demand could be met by
                                           faults at an early stage. The controller
integrating the storages into the
                                           will be self-optimising and will
traditional construction elements of
                                           minimise error situations. Improved
the building. Elements such as floors,
                                           control strategies will be possible by
ceilings, walls and plastering will
                                           using weather forecasts to increase
absorb and store extra heat and then
                                           the system output.
return this to the building, either
directly or in a controlled manner, as
required. This direction is already        Development           of      so-called
indicated by the use of internal           “power/energy matchers” or “energy
plastering containing PCM at a             hubs” will increase the overall system
number of demonstration sites.             efficiency, e.g. by matching the timing
                                           of the load to the timing of the
                                           availability of the energy supply. In
By    integration    of   the    storage
                                           district heating systems, peak loads in
functionality into the wall, a complete
                                           the net will be avoided by allowing
decentralised solar thermal unit with
                                           power companies to adjust certain
solar collector in the facades, storage
                                           load pattern and energy production
in the wall, and layers which control
the heat fluid are possible.

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                Page 12

4.5 Solar district heating                   4.6 Thermally driven
    systems with and                             cooling systems
    without very large
                                             Thermally driven cooling systems can
    seasonal storages                        use any type of heat source that
                                             provides    adequate      temperatures.
4.5.1   Solar district heating               They are especially suitable for use
                                             with solar thermal energy because of
In dense building areas or in                the correlation between the level of
applications with a mismatch between         solar irradiation and the cooling
load and available collector mounting        services required. Currently, the air-
possibilities, district heating systems      conditioning    world      market     is
will be necessary in order to cover a        dominated by decentralised room air-
large share of the heat requirements         conditioners, e.g. split and multi-split
by means of solar thermal energy.            systems. Moreover, these systems are
These systems will be in use in all          habitually less efficient than larger
sizes, for settlements with a small          centralised technologies; they cause a
numbers of buildings as well as for          tremendous impact on the electricity
large    residential    settlements  or      requirements in terms of energy and
industry and commercial areas.               power. This underlines the need for
                                             the development of small-scale solar
                                             thermal driven cooling machines in
Solar block and district heating
                                             the range of 2-5 kW units.
systems benefit in general from
economy-of-scale effects, as the
systems and the contracts are large.         Solar cooling and air-conditioning is
The competitiveness of solar block           still  in    the    early   stages     of
and district heating systems will            development and therefore offers
benefit from the further development         extensive potential for innovation.
of large module collectors.                  Thus, there is a requirement of
                                             extensive research into improving
                                             storage materials and heat transfer
Combined      solar  thermal    energy
systems and wood fuel boilers will be        media      and    also    the    further
the most feasible type of block and          development of systems, to turn them
district heating systems in 2030.            into highly compact, efficient units.
District heating and cooling as well as      One major field of research activities
                                             has to be the development of small-
centralised    systems     should    be
                                             scale    systems     that   can    cover
predominant in new infrastructure
design concepts for the city of              simultaneously heating and cooling,
tomorrow.                                    so-called “solar-combi-plus systems”.
                                             The aim is to achieve commercial
                                             compact products that can be offered
4.5.2   Very large seasonal                  to consumers as alternatives to the
        storages                             small-scale     conventional    chillers.
                                             Furthermore, significant development
Very large seasonal storages within          work is required in their integration
district heating systems are necessary       into general building technology.
in order to cover a large share of the
heat demand by means of solar                In the short term, the main tasks for
thermal and will be common in 2030.          research and development are: state-
They benefit from the reduced surface        of-the-art system technology and
area to volume ratio and therefore           design,    operation    and      system
lower     specific   heat    losses     in   monitoring     as    well     as     the
comparison      with   small     seasonal    development     of    "best    practice"
storages in detached houses. The first       guidelines         and          general
demonstration       plants    of    large    standardisation. In the medium term,
seasonal storages with a volume of           compact     combined     systems      for
some 10,000 m³ are installed in              heating, cooling and process water
Central and Northern Europe as pit           heating      (solar-combi-plus)        in
storages, ground storages and aquifer        residential and small office buildings
storages. Further development is             must be developed and the know-how
necessary to reduce costs and                must be transferred to the planners
increase the efficiency.                     and installation engineers. These

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                                 Page 13

systems have to be in the form of             4.7 Solar sea water
packages involving a minimum of
construction effort in the building in            desalination and
order to achieve maximum reliability              water treatment
comfort. In the long term, units must
be developed that are significantly           New         processes     are      under
more compact, especially in the areas         development        to   design     small,
of lower power systems and for                decentralised, solar thermal driven
decentralised use in single rooms or          sea water desalination and water
integration into a facade. Facade-            treatment       systems     which    are
integrated   modules     will  provide        especially tuned to match the special
heating, ventilation, cooling and             conditions       for    solar     energy
dehumidification as required.                 applications.     New   processes    are
                                              necessary because the well-known
R&D effort is needed for systems with         processes such as MED (Multi Effect
sorption processes on the low driving         Distillation) and MSF (Multi Stage
temperatures market, between 85 and           Flash) which are used in large-scale
110°C.     Further      development      is   sea water desalination systems are
necessary       to       lower     driving    not suitable for small solar thermal
temperatures without efficiency losses        systems. The first approaches are
in order to raise the heat production         membrane distillation, humidification-
efficiency of solar thermal collectors,       dehumidification stills and multi-stage
especially flat-plate collectors. In          solar stills.
existing buildings and distribution
systems, cooling systems with high
driving temperatures are usually
necessary since the installed systems         4.8 Auxiliary systems
require     low    inlet    temperatures.
Therefore it becomes necessary to use         The remaining heat requirements of
highly efficient solar collectors.            buildings which are 50% to 100%
                                              solar heated will be covered in a CO2-
For    multi-stage     processes    with      neutral manner by the use of biomass
maximum efficiency, solar collectors          or geothermal energy, in single
for high temperatures between 140             buildings as well as in block and
and 180°C have to be developed.               district heating systems. In these
Promising possibilities are also offered      systems, the integration of the
by systems that operate as single-            auxiliary heat source has to be
stage systems under low levels of             optimised in order to guarantee
solar irradiation and then switch to a        optimised efficiency of the entire
two-stage system when the solar               system.
irradiation is higher, or when a backup
heat source such as a biomass burner          The 100% solar heated buildings and
is used.                                      processes will cover the heat demand
                                              in years when average weather
The success of solar thermal assisted         conditions prevail. In order to provide
cooling systems depends on the                heating under occasional extreme
availability of highly efficient systems      weather conditions, small backup heat
which are able to replace the                 sources will be installed. The brief
electrically   driven    split   systems      usage periods of these devices allow a
currently being used. Significant R&D         low-cost design to be used. The
work     is   required in      order    to    renewable backup systems could be
substantially improve efficiency in the       pellet burners or biogas boilers. It is
heat and mass transfer of the reactor,        also conceivable that, by 2030, small
as    well     as    in   the     internal    chemical or hydrogen-based storage
interconnection for maximisation of           systems will be available, which can
heat recovery.                                be loaded in summer and then used
                                              as a backup system to cover peak

                  European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                             Page 14

4.9 Regulations and                        the thermal performance, durability
                                           and    reliability   of   systems   and
    other framework                        components, as well as tools and
    conditions                             education packages for installation
                                           engineers, planners and architects,
In order to support the further
                                           awareness           campaigns       and
development and market deployment
                                           improvements to subsidy schemes
of solar thermal energy, it is
                                           and     solar     thermal    ordinances.
necessary to provide, in addition to
                                           Additional effort is needed to develop
the technology itself, the appropriate
                                           contracting and financing instruments.
framework conditions. Among these
are methods of testing and assessing

5 Perspective and support requirements
5.1 Cost reduction
                                           The learning curve of the costs for a
    perspective                            typical DHW system in Central Europe
                                           as shown in figure 6 indicates the past
In previous years, the price of solar      cost development as a function of
thermal systems for single family          time and increasing installed capacity.
houses, which have a market share of       The estimates as to further cost
more than 80% in Europe, decreased         development are based on the typical
continually. In all European markets       learning curve theories, depending on
the trend has been equal, although         the expected growth of installed
the system costs vary a lot according      capacity.
the typical size, type and quality.

Fig. 2: Development of specific costs and installed capacity for small solar
thermal systems with forced circulation in Central Europe

Within 20 years, costs will be reduced     is already cost-competitive with heat
by more than 50%. In Southern              produced by fossil fuels. Further cost
Europe, solar thermal energy is much       reductions   will   depend    on   the
cheaper due to higher solar radiation      development of the market and of the
and lower costs for solar thermal          technology.       Therefore    market
systems. Therefore, in a lot of            entrance policy and R&D activities
Southern European regions, solar heat      have to be continued or strengthened.

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                              Page 15

5.2 Economy of the solar                    The most important aspect of a
                                            successful subsidy scheme is that it
    thermal sector                          works continuously over a longer
                                            period. If there are grants, the budget
By 2030, solar thermal technology will      has to grow every year in order to
have developed into a large economic        cover the expected growth of the
sector, both worldwide and in Europe.       market and therefore the growing
There will be a strong solar thermal        numbers       of   applications.    The
industry with significant exports. More     alternative is to provide a tax
than 200,000 jobs will be created in        reduction for solar thermal systems
the European Union based on a               which is not limited.
annual production and installation of
solar thermal systems with a power of
more than 20 GWth. Many of these            5.3.2   Budget for research and
jobs will also be linked to the                     demonstration programs
installation and building sector. These
jobs    will   therefore   be    spread     In order to create an innovative
geographically and between SMEs and         atmosphere in the solar thermal
large companies.                            branch, there is a need to have
                                            sufficient R&D activities in public
Current annual turnover in the EU           institutions as well as in industry, and
market (2005) is over 1 billion euros       therefore a sufficient budget for R&D.
and sharply rising. Although no actual      Up to now, the public R&D budget is
employment statistics are available, it     too low to trigger a dynamic
is estimated that the current solar         technological development. In order
thermal industry (complete supply           to achieve the goals set out in this
chain) employs over 25,000 persons          vision document, a strong increase of
(full-time equivalents).                    R&D activities in the solar thermal
                                            sector in all European countries is
                                            required. Therefore the budget for
                                            R&D and demonstration programmes
5.3 Support                                 on the national and the EU level has
                                            to be increased significantly to a
    requirements                            figure of approximately 80 Mio Euro
In order to facilitate development, a
consistent   and      stable   support
environment is required in the rather       5.3.3   Additional measures to
volatile energy      market.   Support              create a solar thermal
involves general support for R&D                    market
work, implementation support for
systems      which        pass     the      To accelerate the introduction of
demonstration         stage,      and       products to the market and to
demonstration support for projects          produce a further rapid spread of solar
aiming to demonstrate and learn             thermal energy usage, support of the
about the innovations.                      following measures is also necessary:
                                                Implementation of awareness,
5.3.1   Subsidies for market                    marketing, image-building and
        deployment                              informational campaigns
                                                Training of installation engineers
Technological    development       needs
market      development.      Therefore,        Development of processes for the
market deployment measures are                  comprehensive evaluation of solar
necessary, as long as solar thermal             thermal systems
energy is more expensive than heat
                                                Introduction of mechanisms for
from fossil fuels. Currently, most of
                                                controlling/monitoring the
the subsidy schemes provide grants
                                                functions of solar thermal systems
like in Germany or Austria, or tax
reduction for the installation of a solar       Further development of European
thermal system like in France. In               and international standards and
Spain, solar thermal systems have to            guidelines for solar thermal
be installed due to a solar ordinance.          systems and components

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)
Solar Thermal Vision 2030                                                             Page 16

6 Summary

                                                   Cooling technologies
At     the    beginning     of    2005,
approximately 10 GWth of solar                     Large-scale solar energy
thermal capacity were in operation in               systems (district, process
Europe. In the Solar Thermal Vision                 heat/cooling, desalination)
2030, it is believed that with the right
                                                   Advanced control strategies
mix of R&D, industrial deployment
and          consistent          market
implementation, the total installed        The learning curve for solar thermal
capacity could well increase to at least   systems indicates the past cost
200 GWth by 2030. This goal is             development as a function of time and
ambitious but well achievable given        increasing installed capacity. Further
the right mix of support measures and      reductions are based on the typical
increased R&D. By 2030, solar              learning curve theories which see a
thermal technologies will cover up to      further reduction as the market
50% of all applications which require      development progresses and the
temperatures of up to 250°C.               technology matures.

Solar thermal has a huge potential for     In order to facilitate development, a
innovation that should now be fully        consistent    and     stable    support
exploited. This covers the areas of        environment is required in the rather
efficiency increase, as well as cost       volatile energy      market.    Support
reduction of solar collectors and other    involves general support for R&D
components used in solar thermal           work, implementation support for
energy production. In particular,          systems       which       pass      the
system technology and heat storage         demonstration stage, and demon-
systems are key elements which must        stration support for projects aiming to
be developed further.                      demonstrate and learn about the
This vision of solar heating and
cooling in 2030 refers to both             The     European      Solar     Thermal
decentralised and centralised systems      Technology Platform will further
as appropriate for domestic and            follow, monitor and identify the areas
commercial buildings, both newly built     in which strengthened R&D efforts will
and existing building stock, cooling       have the highest positive impact on
applications, process heat, block &        the uptake of solar thermal energy.
district heating, and desalination.        One of the goals of the ESTTP is to
Technical      developments       and      develop and implement a strategic
requirements are addressed, such as:       research agenda for the solar thermal
                                           sector, which will help the industry,
       Solar absorption surfaces          the research community and public
                                           funding bodies to focus on high-
       Heat storage (as one of the
                                           impact topics. This will reinforce the
        key research topics for the
                                           European     solar  thermal     sector's
        coming decades)
                                           leading technological position.
       Heat transfer

                 European Solar Thermal Technology Platform (ESTTP)

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