Solar heating - important piece in the puzzle for future energy

In a new project, researchers at Dalarna University will investigate the possibilities of building large solar thermal fields in combination with so-called pit layers that can store heat from summer to winter. For the project, the Swedish Energy Agency has granted the University SEK 2.8 million.

Solar heat is especially interesting for smaller companies that burn more expensive fuels, such as pellets. In Denmark, this piece of technology has already had an impact and been commercialised. Now the University will investigate whether it can work in Swedish conditions as well as whether it can store heat between seasons. 

– Large-scale solar heating will be an important piece in the puzzle when it comes to the future supply of energy in Sweden and the world. Sweden is home to one of the leading manufacturers of solar collectors for such systems, and a solar heating park is currently being constructed at Högslätten in the northern Swedish town of Härnösand. Of course, the currently high energy prices make this technology even more interesting, says Chris Bales, Professor of Energy Engineering at Dalarna University.

Dalarna University has a long tradition of research in solar heating and since the 1980s has been a home to research in the field of solar energy. The University offers a popular master's programme in solar energy engineering, the students of which will now benefit from this new solar heating project.

– Results from the project will lead to new course components and the plan is that our project partners will serve as guest lecturers in our courses. There will also be opportunity for several degree projects that have a direct link to the project, says Chris Bales.  

Dalarna University will investigate which district heating networks in Sweden offer good conditions for large-scale solar heating plants along with Halmstad University and the company Absolicon Solar Collector AB. 

About the Project 

Project Title: Solar-powered district heating with pit storage for Swedish conditions 

Project Manager: Chris Bales, Professor of Energy Technology at Dalarna University 

Researchers: Tomas Persson, Associate Professor (Docent) of Energy Engineering, Puneet Saini, Doctoral Student, Energy Engineering 

Project Duration: October 2022-December 2024 

Financing: SEK 2.8 million from the Swedish Energy Agency and Absolicon Solar Collector AB 

Chris Bales
Professor Energy Engineering
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