First Solar Thermal Power installations coming up in Flanders

The energy company AZTEQ, located in EnergyVille (research center for renewable energy in Thor Park, Genk, Belgium) will set up pilot installations with solar mirrors in Ostend, Genk and Antwerp. They do not produce electricity like other solar panels, but green heat that can be used by large companies.

According to Kari Ven of AZTEQ, this is a groundbreaking heat technology that has never before been applied in Belgium. The realization of the three solar parks will cost € 1.425 million. The Flemish government gives 819,000 € support to the project. The construction of the installations starts this year; by the end of 2019, the three Solar Thermal Power installations must be operational.

Flemish Minister of energie Bart Tommelein explains that new technologies deserve all the opportunities and expect a lot from this project. In a solar mirror park, the sunlight is concentrated via parabolic mirrors, resulting in high-quality heat that is released with temperatures much higher than, for example, in a solar water heater.

Installations are being equipped with parabolic mirrors of 5 m each, which are set up in lines of 120 m. Each parabola has a mathematical focus point and by capturing those focus lengths in one line temperatures of 400 to 650 ° C can be reached. This heat can be used in industrial processes, e.g. in breweries or in chemical plants. Those companies today get their heat from the combustion of gas or oil, but the solar heat is completely green.

The three test projects that the AZTEQ company will set up thanks to the investment support, all have the same capacity but always different applications. In this way, the company wants to build up expertise and gather data about the heat output, the possible application areas, the integration of existing systems and the implantation in the environment. In total, these three plants will produce additional green heat per year between 1,260 and 1,390 MWh. That is good for the heat consumption of 650 to 1,000 families, but AZTEQ only focuses on the heat supply in companies.

In Ostend the installation will be located on an old industrial estate. The green heat will be used by the chemical company Proviron. The heat required here is 260 ° C. In Antwerp the port company ADPO from Kallo is a customer for the storage of heated liquids. They need heat above 140 ° C. The parabolic mirrors come above the parking lot and the railway and under a high-voltage line. The third installation is set up on the grounds of the Thor science park in Genk. There, the high-quality heat will be used in a test laboratory for ORC installations (Organic Rankine Cycle) and for the heating of buildings connected to a heat network.

"With these test installations, we are giving the production of green heat in Flanders a boost in the coming years. The energy world is evolving at lightning speed. The Flemish government wants to give new technologies a boost until they are market-ready. Renewable energy is good for our health and provides jobs. Most investments in solar panels and wind farms serve only the needs of families, but it is precisely the energy-intensive companies that account for two thirds of the total energy consumption, "said Minister Tommelein. , - Flemish Minister Tommelein.

"That is why we also build the Solar Thermal Power installations close to the buyers. It is still relatively small projects of about 1,100 m² in size. We especially want to demonstrate the reliability of the technology. Similar projects have already been set up in North Africa and test projects are also under way in Denmark and the South of France. The parts of the solar mirror installations are only just now cheap enough to be competitive and in recent years major improvements have taken place in the field of energy efficiency. One of the great advantages of our solar thermal system is that solar heat can be stored at a competitive price to cover the heat requirements at night. It is up to us to prove that this technology is usable anywhere in Europe and even worldwide. The greening of the industrial heat demand, for the production of, for example, steam at high pressure and temperature, not only leads to a substantial reduction of CO2 emissions, but also helps to reduce the energy bill for our companies and creates sustainable jobs, "Koen concludes. Vermout, CEO of AZTEQ, and co-founder Kari Ven. , is what Koen Vermout, ceo of AZTEQ, and Co-founder Kari Ven are concluding.

Original article (dutch): Placed on WEDNESDAY 11 APRIL 2018 - 11:00 -