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The importance of technological demonstration examples in industrial environments

The importance of technological demonstration examples in industrial environments


Fredy Velez is a PhD researcher at the Energy Division of CARTIF, in Spain. We asked him a couple of questions on the technological focus of the REEMAIN project and why integrating technologies matters to make manufacturing more efficient

Why does REEMAIN focus on those technologies (Solar ConcentrationElectricity StorageSimulation tools)?

Industries selected in REEMAIN represent different requirements in terms of required thermal load (low temperature of textiles and biscuits manufacturing compared to very high temperatures in foundry) and electricity loads. At the moment, solar thermal systems are mainly used in the field of domestic hot water generation. In Europe, the final energy consumption of the industrial and commercial sector is about 28% of the overall energy consumption and 2/3 of this energy is consumed for heating applications. More than 60% of the industry uses process heat with temperatures below 250°C. Thus, it appears that the integration of solar energy in industrial processes is quite an attractive prospect. However, it lacks of enough demonstration examples in real industrial environments.

That’s the reason why REEMAIN intends to develop a cost effective and robust concentrating solar collector that could be used profitably in industrial processes at different operation temperature (90°C - 250°C). On the other hand, using Electricity Energy Storage – EES - can decrease peak demand and increase valley demand, increase security of energy supply, etc. However, very few RES integration with ESS have been fully tested and verified in real industrial processes. From this perspective, we aim at developping a cost-effective electricity storage system prototype tailored and suitable to real industrial scenarios. Finally, simulation tools nowadays don't include real-time monitoring of the factory and its process. e.g. they don't include the integrating with the electricity grid and renewable supply in order to perform real-time demand/response and predictive tariff analysis. What CARTIFIKERLANSolera and IES (partners of REEMAIN) intend to do is developing an automated decision tool to assess in real-time the factory production processes. It will help decrease demand energy and material resources, and will allow develop better more efficient production techniques. Furthermore, it will allow know the costs and benefits of investments in energy reduction to be calculated in terms of the Return on Investment (RoI) for a range of sizes and types of manufacturer, including those factories where only relatively coarse energy data are available and those with a high level of detailed.


Why an integrated approach rather than concentrating at developing those solutions individually?

Industry has many processes that are also highly inefficient and which would allow a large fraction of this energy to be recovered, but, such recovery is not easy to use in the same factory, while the transport to other users is expensive. Many efforts have been made, however, have looked at this problem and have analyzed the factory at a granular level of detail. This is because most factories involve complex processes which are stand alone and not integrated with each other or with the factory environment. Each of these processes is specific to the industry and the product being produced and therefore not easy to find an overall solution. Thus, with the REEMAIN project, we will adopt a holistic approach, involving energy reduction, integration with RES and use of energy recovery technologies, focusing on more resource-efficiency and cleaner manufacturing technologies.