Despite process heat is recognized as the application with highest potential among solar heating and cooling applications, Solar Heat for Industrial Processes (SHIP) still presents a modest share of about 0.3% of total installed solar thermal capacity.
As of today's technology development stage - economic competitiveness restricted to low temperature applications; technology implementation requiring interference with existing heat production systems, heat distribution networks or even heat consuming processes - Solar thermal potential is mainly identified for new industrial capacity in outside Americas and Europe.
In this context, the project INSHIP (Integrating National Research Agendas on Solar Heat for Industrial Processes) aims at the definition of an ECRIA (European Common Research and Innovation Agenda) engaging major European research institutes with recognized activities on SHIP, into an integrated structure that could successfully achieve the following coordination objectives:
- More effective and intense cooperation between EU research institutions
- Alignment of different SHIP-related national research and funding programs
- Avoiding overlaps and duplications and identifying gaps
- Acceleration of knowledge transfer to the European industry
- To be the reference organization to promote and coordinate the international cooperation in SHIP research from and to Europe
Another leg of INSHIP is the development of coordinated R&D activities (TRLs 2-5) with the ambition of progressing SHIP beyond the state-of-the-art through:
- An easier integration of low and medium temperature technologies suiting the operation, durability and reliability requirements of industrial end users
- Expanding the range of SHIP applications to the EI sector through the development of suitable process embedded solar concentrating technologies
- Overcoming the present barrier of applications only in the low and medium temperature ranges
- Increasing the synergies within industrial parks through centralized heat distribution networks and exploiting the potential synergies of these networks with district heating and with the electricity grid