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Exploitation of solar heat

What is solar thermal? Roughly half of the world's energy need comes in the form of thermal energy – heating, cooling or steam.

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When energy is needed in the form of heat, it is more economically beneficial to utilise direct solar thermal energy using solar collectors. Solar cells that directly convert sunlight to electricity are only able to make use of a small part of the solar spectrum, where maximum efficiency typically lies around 20%. Solar collectors are on the other hand in theory able to exploit the entire spectrum, with a maximum efficiency of 70-90 %.

Solar energy can, depending the specific temperature needed, be collected using planar solar collectors or concentrated solar power. Planar collectors are well suited for hot water production and space heating, while concentrated power can be used to produce steam and high-temperature heat for industrial use, power production or in CCS (carbon capture and storage). The exploitation of solar heat has a high potential to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions considerably through the replacement of fossil fuelled steam production. 

SINTEF has broad competence within design of thermal systems for production, utilization and storage of solar heat, both at component and system level, as well as insight into the industry's need for heat and steam. The need for heating in one process is commonly combined with the need for cooling in another, and SINTEF has a long history within design of heat-driven cooling processes suited for system integration. 

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We work within these areas

  • Modelling of thermal systems for optimal design of the system as a whole
  • Thermal energy storage
  • Heat-driven cooling
  • Heat exchanger design
  • Using high temperature heat pumps for to upgrade heat
  • Power production from heat
  • Process integration and exploitation of heat in industrial processes
  • Use of nanofluids as a heat transfer fluid

Typical projects for us are

  • Develop energy efficient and competitive system solutions using a holistic approach
  • Analysis, evaluation and comparison of different technologies and concepts
  • Concept development to tackle specific issues
  • Experimental testing and development of individual components

We have advanced in-house models for i. a. 

  • System design and optimization
  • Dynamic system simulation
  • Design and optimization of single components, heat exchangers in particular 

Why choose SINTEF?
SINTES is a bank of knowledge and experience within multiple fields, with access to dedicated laboratory infrastructure and advanced modelling tools.

Who are we doing this for?

  • Energy companies
  • Industry
  • Technology suppliers

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