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Re-deployable solar boilers based on concentrating solar collecotors for ESCO type sale of thermal energy to industrial processes.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Re-Deploy (Re-deployable solar boilers based on concentrating solar collecotors for ESCO type sale of thermal energy to industrial processes.)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-01-31

Our SME project addresses the vast and under-served market for solar process heat, defined as the provision of solar generated heat to industrial thermal processes up to 250°C. This market is worth more than 26 billion €/year, with a current penetration rate of traditional solar thermal technologies of less than 0.02%.Our business idea eliminates any risk for the end user thanks to a first-of-its-kind business model which can be implemented only by exploiting our company’s unique set of achieved and planned technical developments on concentrated solar thermal systems.
We will develop cost competitive re-deployable solar boilers, i.e. turn-key and easy-to-install concentrating solar thermal systems of at least 1MWt which can be used to sell heat (as opposed to equipment) to our target customers. Industrial users rarely want to commit to long term heat purchase contracts. Re-deployability and competitive cost enable us to offer minimal initial commitment (only 3 years) for the purchase of solar heat.
Afterwards, if the client is happy he will continue to buy the energy, otherwise we can take the system back and re-deploy it (i.e. use it again at a different user’s site). This highly innovative commercial approach, made possible by the technological breakthrough of the system’s re-deployability, will boost market penetration.

The specific Technical developments (TDs) planned within Re-Deploy are Redeployability Enablers (REs), i.e. technical innovations that are specifically developed to reduce the cost (including Logistics and Installation) of re-deploying a solar boiler from one location to another. More specifically, the REs are
1. Develop tools and procedures to disassemble receiver tubes and reuse them in another installation without losing performance
2. Optimized plug-and-play- solar boiler BOP, integrating overall electrical connection and solar field control cabinet, with max 5 hydraulic connections and standardized pump, heat exchanger, vessel and control panel
3. Adoption of reusable foundations (metal poles/screws) instead of concrete blocks
4. Design the solar field in modular subfields with predesigned components to minimize piping activities and facilitate recycling of piping and insulation materials
5. Integrate actions to reduce packaging and transport cost:
a. Adoption of custom-designed reusable racks
b. Optimized use of container space (eg.: compenetrating pieces to reduce air gaps)
c. In-house containerization station to reduce containerization cost from shipping cost
6. Minimize solar field erection effort:
a. Avoid field adjustments and regulations via manufacturing built-in
precision (CNC machining,..) and installation procedures (sequenced
installation, cross referenced components)
b. Reduce the number of connections per module required during erection
c. Limit welding activities to receiver tube connections
7. Detailed guidelines for Engineering and Project Management
During the first reporting period we made very good progress - both on the development of the product and of its manufacturing system - and we are achieving the so-called Re-Deployment Enablers(REs). In particular:
1. Tools and procedures to disassemble receiver tubes have been successfully developed for both Fresnel and parabolic trough collectors
2. Optimized Balance Of Plant (BOP) is being developed. In the absence of specific installation requirements, a parametric technical specification is being developed for steam applications, inclusive of P&I and single line diagram. This will accelerate implementation of the pilot and will also provide a useful tool for exploitation after the project end. So far, we have implemented some of the enablers in the BOP of a project to generate hot air, successfully reducing site works (installation and commissioning).
3. Reusable foundations: they have been developed with metallic posts and optimized for linear Fresnel, with particular attention to allow for installation tolerances. Calculation for parabolic trough are being carried out
4. Solar field modular subfields: Relevant parts of the solar field have been developed for Fresnel (pre-insulated descending tubes with integrated flow sensor) and are being studied for the parabolic (“U” connection in the hydraulic loops).
5. Reduce Packaging & shipping + in house containerisation: Packaging of several components of both Fresnel and parabolic has been optimized, with a record 75% increase in the packaging of Fresnel primary mirror beams. Also we moved to re-usable dedicated metallic racks, which reduce cost and environmental impact. Containerisation station is being studied.
6. Minimize solar field erection effort:
avoid field adjustment and regulation: for both Fresnel and parabolic: manufacturing and quality control of the structure (e.g. mirror supporting beams) has been improved also within an ISO 9001 framework. Field assembly sequence has been optimized and simplified. We are developing a smartphone based app to accelerate the control on the field.
Reduce number of connections: so far, we have modified the assembly procedure and the shipping sub-assemblies in order to reduce the connections in the field, while also reducing the shipping volume. We
might go one step further and reduce the number of some bolts by adopting some additional welding limited to the received tube.
Limit welding activities to receiver tube connections: has been achieved
7. Detailed guidelines for engineering and project management: they are being developed based on Soltigua’s experience from past projects. They shall be refined during period 2
The progress made in the achievement of the Re-deployment enablers makes us confident on the completion of the technical foundations of the re-deployable solar boiler, which is the primary technical target of the project and which is clearly going beyond the available state of the art for solar process heat systems.
Beyond this technical impact, an unexpected but very promising technical spillover was uncovered during coaching sessions in the contiguous sector of PV trackers, a high-growth industry where we could leverage our technical excellence and exploit several of the technical achievements that we have been realizing so far within Re-Deploy.
This makes it possible to create a unique cross-technology solar platform which exploits synergies in engineering, manufacturing and marketing.
This is also documented by the fact that the solutions that we can offer for PV trackers have raised significant interest among many of the potential solar EPC partners that we have met so far.
We shall pursue this opportunity and offer/develop a product line of innovative PV trackers as additional revenue stream for the Re-Deploy project.
The business impact of the revised business plan is foreseen in 18 m € revenues in Year 3 after project completion and in 300 annual EU jobs created