The Solar Thermal Training & Demonstration Initiative

South Africa: Specialised course on solar heat for industrial applications a success

Written by Stefan Hess on 26 July 2017
Participants at the specialised course

A specialised course for a restricted number of experts was held in Stellenbosch in early November, giving insight into state-of-the-art design, simulation, planning and installation of advanced high quality solar thermal (ST) systems for industrial applications in Southern Africa.

Despite the restriction of only admitting participants with previous experience in ST system design and installation, the number of applications far exceeded available capacity, and 40 participants were accepted, of which about half were planners from the solar thermal industry. The remaining participants comprised SOLTRAIN partners, researchers and members of public institutions.

The course was lectured by SOLTRAIN coordinator, Werner Weiss, from AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies in Austria, and by Dr Stefan Hess from CRSES and STERG, the Solar Thermal Energy Research Group of Stellenbosch University.

On the first day, delegates visited the TIA Helio100 demonstration site and the CBC brewery solar thermal installation in nearby Paarl.

The second day focused on the status of large-scale stationary systems in Southern Africa and provided extensive theoretical background on planning and installation of such systems.

The third day and final day was used for a simulation exercise, for which all participants had been provided with a free T*SOL license in advance. A realistic example of a laundry was used to determine the optimum collector area and storage volume for different framework conditions. Afterwards, all course material was made available for download.

The feedback of participants was unanimous in that they derived great benefit from attending the course, and expressed great interest in any future SOLTRAIN courses. It was suggested that future training also includes economic performance assessment in addition to the hydraulics of large-scale ST systems.