Establishment of a European Common Innovation and Research Agenda
Solar thermal technologies face technological and competitiveness challenges hindering a wider contribution of solar resources to the final energy consumption. When considering the use of such technologies in industrial applications, such challenges are even more demanding. Whereas economic and financial questions play a critical role in the penetration of solar thermal technologies into this market, the technical questions specific to the framework of industrial applications already point the topics requiring due attention at R&D level.
Gathering the participation of 28 European R&D institutions from 12 countries, Project INSHIP (Integrating National Research Agendas on Solar Heat for Industrial Processes) aims at the establishment of a European Common Research and Innovation Agenda (ECRIA). Establishing an integrated structure engaging major European research institutes in the development of coordinated R&D activities (TRLs 2-5), INSHIP's ambition is the progression of Solar Heat to Industrial Processes (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 Energy Intensive sectors through the development of suitable process embedded solar concentrating technologies, overcoming the present barrier of applications only in the LT and MT 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, thus aiming at a full-fledged exploitation of SHIP potential across sectors and temperature levels in both existing and new industrial capacity.
INSHIP's R&D activities are framed by coordination and support actions aiming at the alignment of policies, networking activities or dissemination, but including also a Research Infrastructure Access Scheme fostering joint research activities aligned with the ECRIA's specific research topics and open to Consortia involving INSHIP partners and Industry.
Besides the research community and considering the important contribution of different key actors in the pertaining questions addressed in the project, INSHIP ECRIA established a Stakeholders Group (SG). Composed of representatives of industrial associations of technology suppliers or end-users, funding agencies and national policy bodies, the SG will act as a consultative body providing guidance and advice assuring the match between research activities and interest of both end-users and public policies.
The project has a duration of four years and is now in the second year of activities. Information on the project, Consortium and related activities and resources is available at the INSHIP website (www.inship.eu).
INSHIP ECRIA is a Research and Innovation Action supported by the European Commission under Horizon 2020 (LCE-33-2016, GA Nr. 731287).
Dr. Pedro Horta