Cost reduction in solar thermal seems essential to reach a greater number of customers who choose to replace or combine their homes heating and air- conditioning with natural gas or electricity. Research into new components that result in cash savings and efficiency of the final products is one of the activities carried out by experts of the International Energy Agency (part of the committee 39 of the Solar Heating and Cooling program) in a workshop organized by the German Fraunhofer ISE and the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands in Pozo Izquierdo.
26 technicians and scientists of the European industry in the field of polymeric materials for solar thermal applications attended the meeting. There, they reviewed progress and new research and market analysis related to the development of sensors and components for solar thermal power applications and use of new polymeric materials.
The SHC (Solar Heating and Cooling) program’s goal is to assess the implementation and the cost reduction potential that the use of polymeric materials and innovative designs offers in the solar thermal industry, building confidence in the use of these products in the sector. Research is thus ongoing to provide less expensive materials or low cost manufacturing processes. The committee develops numerous research projects to assess the durability and reliability of these materials.
On the other hand, technical experts and participants at this meeting could see first hand the activities being developed by the Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias in the field of distributed power, desalination with renewable energy, energy storage and biotechnology, through a technical visit to the facilities of Pozo Izquierdo and through technical presentations by the Institute. Among the facilities visited was the new test bench in Pozo Izquierdo by the German Fraunhofer ISE. There, the behaviour of materials and components for solar thermal and photovoltaic energy under high salt corrosion conditions is being investigated.