The Cross-Cutting Panel is currently composed of three Focus Groups:
1. District Heating and Cooling for Large-Scale integration of RES
Leader: Anna Land, Svensk Fjärrvärme AB (Sweden).
This FG addresses the key technological and market challenges for the deployment of district heating systems as important infrastructure for the deployment of RES. One critical task which is going to be performed is the definition of the priority research areas for a better integration of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
In several industry sectors such as food, wine and beverages, transport equipment, machinery, textiles, pulp and paper, the share of heat demand at low and medium temperatures (below 250C°) is around 60%. This FG also aims to deliver a strategy of research, development and deployment to provide a significant contribution of renewables to industrial thermal energy requirements. Renewable heating and cooling systems for industrial processes are explored following a comprehensive approach, which also takes into account measures for the reduction of energy demand (energy efficiency) and the integration of waste heat into processes. Finally, this FG also looks at how to change heat demand patterns and customer behaviour (propensity for networked solutions in heating and cooling).
2. Thermal Energy Storage
Leader: Luisa F. Cabeza, Universitat de Lleida (Spain).
Improved thermal energy storage is essential for the more effective and widespread utilisation of several heating and cooling concepts using renewable energy carriers. Heat storage increases the use that can be made of the fuel resource by allowing heat to be “consumed” when there is demand for it, rather than at the time when it is produced. This FG looks at the key parameters to be considered for thermal storage systems: cost, capacity, charge and discharge power, space taken up by the heat store, time between charging and discharging, transportability, safety, and capability of being integrated into buildings.
3. Renewable energy hybrid systems and Heat Pumps
Leader: Wolfram Sparber, Eurac Research (Italy).
A hybrid renewable energy system consists of two or more energy sources used together to provide increased system efficiency as well as greater balance in energy supply. This FG deals with the combination of two or more renewable energy sources to better satisfy the heating and cooling demand at any given moment. Activities within this FG aim at finding new solutions to the difficulty of characterising the behaviour of such complex and new energy systems. Because the supply pattern of different renewable energy sources can be intermittent but with different patterns of intermittency, in general hybrid systems allow the exploitation of the maximum proportion of renewable energy.
EU regulations are introducing a tightening of energy performance requirements in new and existing buildings, including the mandatory use of renewables, which will be increasingly required by governments and the market. In the future, solar active systems, such as thermal collectors, will be the obvious components of roof and façades. And they will be integrated into the construction process at the earliest stages of building planning. The walls will function as a component of the active heating and cooling systems, supporting the thermal energy storage through the application of advanced materials (e.g. phase change materials). One central control system will lead to an optimal regulation of the whole HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, maximising the use of renewable energy within the comfort parameters set by users. This FG analyses the increasing importance of integrating solar thermal, geothermal and biomass heating and cooling systems in the built environment in order to cover buildings’ thermal requirements.