Techno-economic Analysis and Market Potential Study of Solar Heat in Industrial Processes : A Fresnel Direct Steam Generation case study
Abstract: The industrial sector not only has a big contribution to global emissions but also a low share of renewable energy for heat demand. Knowing that most of the energy consumption in industry is heat and that half of it is at medium-low temperature (below 400 ºC), it is a great market for the integration of solar thermal technologies. Following the criteria of high heat demand and low-temperature requirements, five promising industrial sectors and their processes have been analysed: food and beverage, paper and pulp, chemical, textile and mining. Steam generation at supply level has been considered one of the most promising systems considering its integration advantages and the potential of direct steam generation plants. The market potential study has been geographically determined performing an MCA; countries all over the world have been assessed considering their heat consumption in the promising sectors and other conditions that enhance the SHIP feasibility such as solar radiation levels, favourable energy policies, previous experience in SHIP plants, ease of doing business, etc. The price of natural gas has been also considered after selecting Europe as a suitable market. The potential heat demand that this technology could cover has been estimated considering limitations as the competitiveness with other renewable heat sources, the expected heat recovery potential for some sectors, the solar fraction of the region and roof space of the factories. The results show that the five countries with bigger potential are Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, and Spain, while the sectors with the most suitable market are food and beverage, and chemical. A case study has been selected based on the previous conclusions: a Fresnel direct steam generation plant in Sevilla (Spain) characterized thanks to the data provided by the company Solatom. The plant has been modelled using the software TRNSYS, taking special consideration in the Fresnel performance, the dynamic steam drum behaviour and its influence on the start-up time of the plant. The results achieved through the techno-economic analysis show that parameters such as solar radiation, conventional fuel prices and EU ETS prices have a major impact on the economic indicators. A sensitivity analysis shows that locations with radiation levels above 1750 kWh/m2 have positive values for NPV, and above 2250 kWh/m2 the cost of generating solar heating (LCOH) is under European natural gas prices. In addition to this, fuel prices above 50 €/MWh, which are common for SMEs, results in payback periods under 10 years. Future trends depict favourable scenarios as current European policies are causing a rapid growth of the ETS. Therefore, solar heat in industrial processes can be a feasible alternative, or work as a complement, to conventional systems. Its deployment is driven by supportive policies, high radiation levels, costly fuels prices (such as the ones for SMEs) and the necessity of reducing GHG emissions and decrease the independence on fossil energies.
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