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A range of scientific contributions of AEE INTEC to the German-speaking conference “Solar thermal and innovative heating systems 2021”

Developments and innovations in the area of solar thermal technology and innovative heating systems are presented to an audience of experts every year on this conference. This year, AEE INTEC contributed with 5 presentations.

On April 29th, the event focused on solar process heat (SHIP). Together with Felix Pag (University of Kassel), Jürgen Fluch (AEE INTEC) showed the benefits of standardised industrial load profiles (energy demand) for planners, technology providers and industrial companies. The aim is to provide them with a tool with which possible integrations of SHIP can be quickly identified and concepts can be evaluated in combination with equally standardised weather and solar radiation profiles. This is currently being worked on in IEA SHC Task 64.

Building on this, a topic table was organised in the afternoon together with Mercedes Rittmann-Frank. The discussion focused on the correct marketing of solar process heat and what can be learned from other renewable technologies. In the lively discussion, new ideas and solutions were raised, which will be actively taken up again in the IEA task mentioned.

The presentation of Walter Becke (AEE INTEC) was centred on monitoring results of the niche application of solar thermal, namely solar air collectors for drying applications.

On April 30th, AEE INTEC presented three more lectures.

Wim van Helden (AEE INTEC) presented the results of the flagship project “giga_TES”, that is aimed at developing and testing materials, building concepts, numerical simulation techniques and system integration of very large water-based thermal storage systems for district heating and industry.

Samuel Knabl (AEE INTEC) presented the development and results of the demonstration of a seasonal thermochemical solar storage system based on salt hydrates designed for single-family and multi-family homes will be presented.

The last presentation was given by Veronika Hierzer (AEE INTEC), who showed interesting monitoring results of systems combining activated building mass with solar thermal technology, also discussing the partially still unused potential of building mass activation for sector coupling.


Webinar – Business Venture on Thermal Energy Efficiency and Solar Heat for Industrial Processes

On Monday, 19 April 2021, a webinar was held as part of the ongoing UNIDO gef5 project "SHIP Malaysia - Energy Efficiency and Solar Process Heat in Malaysia". Juergen Fluch (Head of Department Industrial Systems at AEE INTEC) together with speakers from Heliac Denmark and Ecoligo Invest GmbH showed which innovative financing models can contribute to the decarbonisation of industrial heat demand in Malaysia. The webinar was organised by MAEESTA, the local UNIDO Project Management Unit, and the online event was moderated by Mohammad Iskandar Majidi (MAEESTA).

The challenge of solar process heat in the coming years in Malaysia and other countries will be to be able to realise technically and economically viable projects even without funding. Therefore, the webinar showed especially for stakeholders from the financing sector as well as from the energy supply and industrial sectors, which challenges but above all solutions exist. A new financing model was shown by Juergen Fluch (AEE INTEC) based on the results of the recently completed H2020 project TrustEE (www.trust-ee.eu). The basis for this is a standardised project evaluation (technical and economic), with the help of which TrustEE financing supports projects in implementation.

Jakob Jensen (Heliac Denmark) showed possibilities from the technology providers' point of view and finally Mr. Thuong Duong, representing Mr. Martin Baart, presented the business model of Ecoligo Invest GmbH to the interested participants. The many questions at the end of the webinar showed the great interest of all stakeholders in clean energy solutions in Malaysia.


Austria Solar Webinar "Digital Energy Twin: Solar Heat Revolution in Industry"

On 22.04.2021, the Austria Solar association organised a webinar with the aim of putting the digital twin at the centre of new developments to strengthen solar process heat in Austria and beyond. The energy transition poses major challenges for the industry and the need for profound changes. These are associated with great uncertainties in both planning and operation. The basis for sound investment decisions is lacking.

A modern planning tool should quickly eliminate such concerns in the future. Juergen Fluch (Head of Department Industrial Systems at AEE INTEC) is currently working with a multidisciplinary project team on the development of the so-called digital energy twin.

By transferring reality into a virtual mirror image, innovative ideas, new technologies and optimisation approaches can be tested without directly affecting the reality of industrial production. The risk of real implementations can thus be minimised and the companies supported. In the webinar, Juergen Fluch showed the current research and initial results that have already been achieved together with the partners of the DigitalEnergyTwin project. For solar process heat, this method offers a new opportunity to take on the important role in decarbonisation that is also demanded of it. Currently, work is being done on models for solar thermal energy in the simulation environment, as was shown in the presentation. The discussion at the end of the project showed the interest of the industry in the solutions developed.


Project launch of the industry research project: Digital Building Twin - BIM-based open platform for monitoring, evaluation and optimisation of building operations

The aim of the project is to develop a BIM-based building operations platform to provide building owners and operators with better insight into real-time building performance throughout the lifecycle of the building. In doing so, the project delivers a 7D-BIM platform for building owners, planners and operators in which digital building twins are the starting point and centre for innovative BIM workflows, design optimisation on the virtual building twin as well as operational optimisation and fault detection based on the coupling of the BIM standard with operational data from classic BUS systems or Internet Of Thing(IOT) sensor technology.

Project partners:


State Prize for Architecture and Sustainability 2021

The call for entries for the State Prize for Architecture and Sustainability has started. Projects can be submitted until 31.05.2021. The awarding authority is the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) within the framework of its climate protection initiative klimaaktiv.

All information can be found at www.klimaaktiv.at/staatspreis.


KEM - Lead project „Quick BIO-NET“ presents analysis tool for local heating net works

Climate and energy region managers receive a new advisory tool

In the lead project "Quick BIO-NET", a quick check tool for the initial analysis of local heating networks was created. This tool enables the heating plant operator an easy benchmarking and identification of the status quo of his local or district heating network. By entering a few parameters of the heating plant, the various possibilities are analysed as regards how alternative energy technologies - e.g. solar thermal energy, buffer storage, combined heat and power, photovoltaics or even (industrial) waste heat - can be integrated. The results of the tool form the basis for decisions on the further development and optimisation of the heating plant. In the project, several case studies of the participating regions were calculated and partly documented in implementations.

The climate and energy model region managers now have a tool that provides initial answers to questions such as the economic efficiency of the overall system, winter and/or summer operation with solar integration, buffer storage, PV, CHP, etc. or grid expansion. This forms the basis for a basic decision and further detailed planning!

The project team - consisting of AEE INTEC, the Innovation Centre Weiz, the KEM Energiekultur Kulmland, the KEM Holzwelt Murau and the KEM Naturpark Almenland - was funded by the Climate and Energy Fund.

Further information

Project coordinator
Mag. Martin Auer, Klima- und Energie-Modellregion „Klimafreundlicher Naturpark Almenland“ www.almenland.at/kem

Project manager
Carina Seidnitzer-Gallien

Klima- und Energiefonds

Project partner
AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC)
Innovationszentrum Weiz, https://www.innovationszentrum-weiz.at/
KEM Energiekultur Kulmland, https://www.kulmland.com/
KEM Holzwelt Murau, https://www.holzweltmurau.at/


AEE INTEC wins Helsinki Energy Challenge together with international partners

Helsinki aspires to be one of the leading cities in the transition to a sustainable future, with the goal of becoming CO2 neutral by 2035. To achieve this goal, the city decided in February 2020 to launch a competition - the Helsinki Energy Challenge - to take on the challenge of decarbonizing its district heating network in a sustainable way. On Tuesday, March 16, an international jury selected four winners, including as first-place winners out of a total of more than 250 entries the European team HIVE (Hyvä means "good" in Finnish). HIVE consists of the international group ENGIE (FRA) and its subsidiary Storengy (FRA), the Finnish solar collector manufacturer SAVOSOLAR (FIN), the technical consultants from NEWHEAT (FRA) and PLANENERGI (DK), and AEE INTEC.

HIVE proposes a solution for the City of Helsinki that includes an end to coal burning by 2028, no fossil fuel burning beyond 2035, and a reduction in biomass use to 50% of demand by 2024. This solution, based on both proven and innovative solutions, envisions a combination of seawater heat pumps, solar thermal, electric boilers, and large-scale thermal storage to provide district heating in a sustainable and efficient manner. This mixed plant portfolio of mature technologies further increases the reliability of the system. Furthermore, optimization and digitalization measures help to operate the overall system more efficiently and provide flexibility in both operation and planning. This plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78%, in line with Helsinki targets. Implementing the plan over the next 15 years will increase local value and create local jobs.

This solution was only possible thanks to the good and close cooperation of competent industrial partners such as ENGIE and the innovativeness and technical expertise of research partners such as AEE INTEC, which is also a member of ACR (Austrian Research Cooperation). Ingo Leusbrock, Head of the research department Cities & Networks at AEE INTEC, said: "The collaboration in HIVE for the Helsinki Energy Challenge was an exciting challenge for us, where we had to cover all facets of decarbonization in a city, addressing both innovation and cost-effectiveness. Our team was an excellent combination of individuals and organizations with extensive experience in the energy sector and in developing complex district heating and cooling projects and was instrumental in this success. With our experience and expertise in innovative district heating, we were able to make an important contribution to a truly successful overall idea. We are very much looking forward to seeing how Helsinki puts into practice a combination of HIVE's master plan and the plans of the other award winners. We would be happy to continue the journey with the city by participating in its implementation."

The Helsinki Energy Challenge was endowed with a total of 1 million euros, and the prize amount for 1st place for the HIVE consortium is 350000 euros. In the coming weeks and months, the HIVE consortium will work with the city of Helsinki and the local energy provider to discuss implementation of the proposed measures and take these ideas forward.

AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19
Tel.: +43 (0)3112 5886-261
Mobil: +43 (0)664 1012851
E-Mail: i.leusbrock@aee.at


CRAVEzero - EU Horizon 2020 Project successfully completed

Building planners, architects and the construction industry will have to realize cost-optimized buildings with minimal energy requirements from 2021 onwards due to the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (2018/844). The technologies for near-zero energy buildings (nZEBs) are largely available today.

In the "CRAVEzero" project, a consortium of nine partners from research and industry in five European countries worked on accelerating planning and construction processes, optimally integrating efficient technologies as well as renewable energy into buildings, developing new business models and reducing costs.

The project focused on analizing cost structures over the entire life cycle of buildings - from design, planning, construction and operation to end-of-life. The main cost-saving potentials for each step of the building‘s life cycle were defined. The cost-optimal integration of efficiency measures and renewable energies throughout the entire planning stage offers opportunities for cost reduction.

Components of the pinboard are:

  • Life cycle cost analysis tool
  • nZEB cost database and tool for optimization and cost reduction of nZEBs
  • Benchmarks of realized near zero and plus energy buildings in Europe
  • Information on business models and business model development
  • Tool for process optimization (regarding the entire life cycle)

EUREMnext - Energy data management and audits

On 16 March 2021, the German expert forum "Operational Energy Managers in Exchange" took place, this year within the framework of the EU project "EUREMnext" in cooperation with the EUREM network and the IHK UserClub "Energy - Climate".

Energy data are the basis of functioning energy management systems. They are a necessary prerequisite for analyses of strengths and weaknesses, for optimisation measures and even for company energy audits. Jürgen Fluch, Department Head at AEE INTEC, showed in his presentation the hurdles of energy audits, and with the Energy Audit Support Tool also a way to overcome them. Within the framework of the H2020 project EUREMnext, this tool was further developed and can now be used for a wide range of industrial companies and sectors. In the process, concrete optimisation measures are identified and evaluated based on a sound analysis of the current status as a kind of energy management light. 85 participants showed the high level of interest in the challenges for industry and its role in achieving the climate targets set.


KooWo - Housing project serving as an example in rural areas

The demonstration project "KooWo" (cooperative living) and the connected research project "KooWo Volkersdorf" was set up to define new possibilities of constructing efficient and sustainable houses in rural areas with a maximum of participation of future owners and tenants. The goal was to shift the individual system boundary to a collective living space. The shared use of infrastructure with regard to the heating network, the power generation, the workshops, vehicles and cultivation areas produces individual as well as social added value. Even the residential complex was developed collectively: Numerous workshops with the future residents took place in order to define the architecture and the energetic concept, and to set up environmental goals.

Scientific monitoring and quality-assurance during the phase of construction as well as monitoring of the operation serve to optimize the system and to revise the targets. A specially developed energy management system ensures that the energy from the PV system is used as efficiently as possible. The project’s success could encourage replication.


Workshop - Experimental Analysis, Simulation and Control of Absorption Heat Pumps/Cooling Machines

As part of the HPC (heat pumping system control) research project, a free workshop will be held on 09.04.2021 to present the aggregated results.

The increased integration of absorption heat pumps and chillers into existing and future energy systems in the cooling and heating sector can significantly increase the share of renewable energies. However, in order to implement this successfully, the operating strategies and controls of these systems must be able to deal with dynamic and highly varying operating conditions. This challenge has been addressed by the HPC (heat pumping system control) project funded by the FFG. The results and their benefits for practice will be presented and discussed at the workshop. The workshop will be held in German. You can find out more about the project funded by the Climate and Energy Fund here.

WHEN: Friday, 09.04.2021, 09:00 -12:00 hrs

WHERE: online

REGISTRATION: (free of charge) until 08.04.2021 HERE

Contact and questions: Christoph Rohringer
c.rohringer@aee.at or +43-3112-5886-662


Issue 01 | 2021 of "sustainable technologies" is online

For many years now the importance of introducing energy space planning in communities has been emphasized with regard to the sustainable development of urban and municipal structures. However, little progress has been made concerning the transfer of the findings into practice. Actually, the topic is gaining momentum, not only in Switzerland, where there has been experience in dealing with so-called energy master plans for several years, but also in Austria. In the province of Salzburg, the topic of energyspace planning is fixed in so-called "spatial development concepts (Rämliche Energiekonzepte - REK's)", which are mandatory for municipalities. In Styria, the topic was introduced as a contribution to the local development concept (ÖEK); and in Vienna, the mandatory implementation of energy master plans was already decreed in eight districts in 2020. The new magazine „nachhaltige technologien“ presents success factors for this development in respect of the availability of special digital planning tools as well as the establishment of suitable framework conditions and process flows in public administration.


Integrated solar supply concepts for climate-neutral buildings in cities

The transnational project Sol4City investigates the combined use of available energy technologies such as building component activation, photovoltaics and battery technologies as well as heat pumps, ice storages, etc. in the context of an overall efficient energy system for climate-neutral buildings and quarters in cities. New components and processes such as PVT hybrid collectors, sorption technologies and vacuum panels for insulation are being developed. Intelligent control algorithms and grid connection as well as maximum area efficiency of the conversion technologies should enable economic competitiveness and should eventually lead to rapid market penetration.

On 16 and 17 February 2021, the annual consortium meeting with partners from Germany and Austria took place as a virtual meeting under the coordination of AEE INTEC. In addition to reports about successful development steps and material and component tests for hybrid and sorption collectors, the program included topics on evaluation of ice storage capacity and approaches for adaptive and predictive control of overall energy systems. In addition to technical evaluation and optimization at the component level, the next phase of the project will focus on holistic modeling of Sol4City energy supply concepts.   

This project is funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) as part of the "City of the Future" program.


Biomass heating plant Weizberg getting ready for the future

With the support of AEE INTEC, a new central heat storage was recently successfully installed at the biomass heating plant Weizberg. The storage not only enables a more efficient boiler operation, but also a more efficient operation of the entire local heating network through implementation of a new intelligent control strategy involving mutual communication of all existing and new system components. In this way, an even more responsible and sustainable use of the regionally produced wood chips can be guaranteed. In addition, the storage increases the flexibility options of the overall system and prepares the heating plant for future developments.

A particular challenge during the implementation was the location of the heating plant in Weizberg, a historic and protected district in the city of Weiz. However, with this project it was possible to show that with competence and creativity energy-efficient technologies can also be implemented in such areas. Thus, this project can serve as a good practice example for further plants in other Austrian municipalities as well as beyond the borders.


Large thermal energy storage for district heating systems: international research and development work in IEA Annex39

Foto: Dronninglund Fjernvarme

Large-scale heat storage systems will play a central role in increasing the necessary flexibility of district heating networks and enabling the further expansion of renewable energies or the integration of waste heat in these systems. In order to overcome challenges in design, realization and operation of this technology and to enable its application in as many countries as possible, the International Energy Agency’s Technology Collaboration Program "Energy Storage" has initiated the new Annex "Large Water Heat Storage for District Heating Systems" (Annex 39). In the frame of the research work large water heat storage systems such as tank and earth basin heat storage systems are considered, but large heat storage systems with storage media such as aquifer and borehole heat storage systems are also taken into account. AEE INTEC leads the international consortium of more than 27 research institutions and industrial partners from ten countries. The Annex started in October 2020 and will run for 3 years.
The main objectives of the Annex include the definition of representative application scenarios and key performance indicators, the definition of storage concepts for selected application scenarios and the techno-economic evaluation of these concepts. In addition, the development, improvement and performance of new material test procedures and the creation of a database with suitable materials will be implemented.  Numerical simulation models will be compared and recommendations for the simulation of large-scale heat storage systems will be elaborated. Last but not least, dedicated information material for relevant stakeholders - decision makers of energy suppliers and heating network operators, interest groups, cities and municipalities, etc. - will be prepared.


Online UNIDO training on solar process heat for Malaysia

Figure legend: SIRIM / MAEESTA

Malaysia has set the goal of increasing the share of renewable energy through a mix of different technologies in the coming years in order to achieve the climate goals set by the Paris Convention.

Due to current Corona restrictions six full-day online workshops were held between 18 November and 2 December as part of the UNIDO training on energy efficiency and solar process heat in Malaysia. Eleven industrial companies with a total of 30 energy experts took part in the training. The aim was to develop concepts for the integration of solar process heat for the participating companies, which will subsequently be implemented. In order to design the energy concepts the participants used a tool developed by AEE INTEC facilitating the integration of solar heat into industrial energy systems. With a positive evaluation after the training, participants have the opportunity to become certified and nationally listed experts on industrial energy efficiency and solar process heat.


Cost reduction for near zero energy buildings

Technologiezentrum aspern IQ, ATP Vienna
Figure legend: Kuball bzw. Bohmann /Wirtschaftsagentur Wien

The EU H2020 horizon project CRAVEzero summarizes proven and new approaches to reduce the costs of near Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs) at all stages of the life cycle. Within several case studies all over Europe, extra costs for nZEBs are revealed in relation to processes, technologies, and building operations.

CRAVEzero defined an integrated approach for planning and constructing a new nZEB that reduces the current design phase up to 20%. In particular, the process map offers a comprehensive overview of the phases, activities, and actors involved during the life cycle of a nZEB, identifying the possible pitfalls and bottlenecks and relevant countermeasures. Thanks to an optimised nZEB design with the CRAVEzero parametric method, it was shown that it is possible to save up to 16% of the financing costs, 23-29% of the operational costs and up to 30% of the replacement and investment costs.

Main Results:
❶         Reference schemes for nZEB urban planning and building design process
❷         Structured methodological approach to optimise integration of renewable and
              nZEB technologies
❸         Potential to reduce life cycle costs demonstrated by relevant case studies
❹         Demonstration of co-benefits: optimal architectural/building configurations for high-quality
              living/working environments and real estate value
❺         nZEBs lean management protocols
❻         60+ low LCC nZEB business models

Cravezero Website www.cravezero.eu
CRAVEzero pinboard www.pinboard.cravezero.eu 


Start of the EU project RES-DHC with 15 partners from 8 countries

Renewable energy sources in district heating and cooling as a path to climate-neutral cities

EUREC member AEE INTEC (Austria) is partner in the H2020 project RES-DHCRenewable Energy Sources in the District Heating and Cooling sector, which kicked off in October 2020 and will focus on increasing the share of renewable energy in district heating and cooling systems across Europe. 15 project partners from 8 countries including research institutes, companies and cities from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Poland and Denmark as well as the European umbrella organisation EuroHeat & Power, based in Brussels, Belgium have joined forces to drive the decarbonisation of the DHC sector.

This new project aims to support key actors, including industry players and policymakers, in achieving the goals of the Renewable Energy Directive RED II. Specifically, the project focuses on the goal of increasing the share of renewable energy in district heating systems by at least 1% annually. In six model regions across Europe, the project is gathering experience and building capacity on how best to transform existing urban district heating systems towards low-carbon supply. These model regions are Baden-Württemberg, the region of Graz, Parma and Aosta, Szczecin and West Pomerania, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Swiss Cantons.

The aim is to empower actors along the entire value chain to cooperate with each other and work towards the goal of sustainable heating and cooling. The transfer of know-how and best practice examples from the model regions to other regions should increase the replicability and maximise the impact of the project outcomes.

Within RES-DHC, AEE INTEC will bring in its wide experience in the district heating and cooling and coordinate the implementation of different measures in all model regions, aiming at a transition towards 100% renewable district heating. These measures are discussed and developed previously with all partners and stakeholders in the model regions and include next to technical measures also long-term planning, business model development and user integration. Here specifically, AEE INTEC together with the partners from the Graz model region (Energie Graz, City of Graz) will focus on the decarbonization of the Graz district heating system and will continue the already ongoing and successful transformation process in Graz.

The following partners are involved in the EU project RES-DHC:

  • Germany: Solites Steinbeis Innovation gGmbH; AGFW-Projektgesellschaft für Rationalisierung, Information und Standardisierung mbH, HIR Hamburg Institut Research gGmbH
  • Austria: Stadt Graz; Energie Graz GmbH & Co KG; AEE – Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
  • Italy: IREN SPA; Ambiente Italia SRL
  • Poland: Szczecinska Energetyka Cieplna Sp. z o.o.
  • France: Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Energie Environment; Commissariat a l´Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
  • Switzerland: PLANAIR SA; Verenum
  • Belgium: EUROHEAT & POWER


Projektlink: https://www.res-dhc.com/
Solites: http://www.steinbeis.de/ 
AGFW: http://www.agfw.de/
HIR: https://www.hamburg-institut.com
Stadt Graz: https://www.umwelt.graz.at
Energie Graz: https://www.energie-graz.at
IREN: https://www.gruppoiren.it
Ambiente Italia: https://www.ambienteitalia.it
Szczecinska Energetyka Cieplna: https://www.sec.com.pl
Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Energie Environment: http://www.auvergnerhonealpes-ee.fr Commissariat a l´Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives : https://www.cea.fr
PLANAIR: https://www.planair.ch
Verenum: https://www.verenum.ch
Planenergi: https://www.planenergi.dk
EuroHeat&Power: https://www.euroheat.org/dhc/


Energy-flexible buildings towards resilient, low carbon energy systems

The energy flexibility of different buildings and the way how this energy flexibility can be characterized were investigated in the project "Energy Flexible Buildings" of the International Energy Agency (Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme - IEA EBC Annex 67). Within the final phase of this EBC project, areas in which further research is needed were identified to ensure that the energy flexibility of buildings is indeed a support for future energy networks. These fields of investigation are:

  • the resizing of individual buildings to building clusters (aggregation),
  • energy flexibility and resilience in energy systems with different energy sources like electricity, district heating / cooling and gas,
  • the acceptance / commitment of the stakeholders and
  • business models

A new project of the International Energy Agency (IEA EBC Annex 82 - Energy-flexible buildings towards resilient, low carbon energy systems) is dedicated to these topics. The project started in November 2020 and will run until the end of October 2024.


AEE INTEC nominated for ACR Innovation Award

The innovative Smart City Sensing method developed by AEE INTEC to analyze thermal comfort in cities is one of 10 projects nominated for the ACR Innovation Award 2020. You can still participate in the online voting until 18.11.2020 12:00.

Click here for the voting: https://www.acr.ac.at/acr-preise/acr-innovationspreis-2020/

An innovative process chain providing drone based three-dimensional data as well as processing, analysis and preparation of georeferenced urban measurement data has been developed in the frame of the project Smart City Sensing. The method allows the detection of small-scale inner-city heat island effects and pollutant concentrations. In the scope of urban planning the method is used for the evaluation of the thermal situation of public places, for example, and allows a cost-effective and time efficient acquisition and evaluation of measurement data by means of drones and by using high-resolution thermographic and multi-spectral cameras.

The project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.


Change of existing urban district heating and cooling systems from fossil to renewable energy sources

On 23th September 2020, the official kick-off of the RES-DHC project - conversion of existing urban district heating and cooling systems from fossil to renewable energy sources - took place in Graz City Hall.

The project aims to investigate the various challenges of market acceptance associated with the conversion of district heating and cooling systems to higher shares of renewable energy sources. Stakeholders are to be supported in (over-) fulfilling Art. 24 of the Renewable Energy Directive II (Directive 2018/2001) by developing solutions and instruments. The main objective of the project is to support the transformation of existing urban district heating and cooling systems in six participating regions (DE, AT, IT, PL, FR and CH) towards renewable energies and thereby - from these practical cases - to derive technical and organizational solutions for such transformation processes.

In the work package "Making the change" led by AEE the regional framework conditions for stakeholders shall be improved, decarbonization activities shall be started and guidelines shall be derived which are applicable in all participating regions.

This project is funded by the European Union (Horizon2020).



At the BauSIM2020 conference hosted this year by Graz University of Technology a contribution of AEE INTEC has been awarded among 133 internationally submitted scientific publications.

Daniel Rüdisser, Tobias Weiss and Lukas Unger (Skyability GmbH) have been awarded the BEST CONFERENCE PAPER AWARD for a publication laying the scientific foundation of an innovative method concerning the three-dimensional measurement and calculation of thermal comfort in urban areas. The method has been developed in the course of the project Smart City Sensing funded by the Federal Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. It allows analysis and generation of insightful thermal maps of intra urban heat islands by means of unmanned aerial vehicle measurements and complex numerical calculations.


Final Meeting/Project conclusion DeStoSimKaFe

Picture of

Vom 10.-11.09.2020 fand das Abschlusstreffen des Projektes DeStoSimKaFe bei AEE INTEC in Gleisdorf statt. Im Zentrum des Projekts DeStoSimKaFe stand die Anwendbarkeit und Umsetzbarkeit innovativer und nachhaltiger Wärme- und Kälteversorgung auf Basis Kalter Fernwärme zu. Um das zu erreichen, erfolgte die Entwicklung komplexer technischer Systemlösungen und von methodischen und simulationstechnischen Grundlagen für die Konzeption, Planung und langfristige Bewertung solcher Systeme. Aufbauend auf die erarbeiteten Systemlösungen und der technisch/ökologischen Bewertung werden für maßgeschneiderte Produkte und Dienstleistungen für Kalte Fernwärme erarbeitet, die dann in eine ökonomische Bewertungsmethode einfließen. Durch das breit aufgestellte Konsortium aus Forschungseinrichtungen, Wärmepumpenproduzent, Beratungs- und Planungsunternehmen und einem Energieinstitut konnte eine solide Basis für die Beantwortung der Forschungsfragen geschaffen werden.

Die beiden intensiven Tage des Abschlusstreffens wurden genutzt, um finale Projektergebnisse zu diskutieren, die Berichtslegung mit den Partnern zu koordinieren und sich über die jeweiligen Branchen-Entwicklungen auf den neuesten Stand zu bringen. Darüber hinaus wurden potentielle Follow-ups und zukünftige Forschungsfragen erarbeitet und eine umfangreiche Reflexion durchgeführt.

Als konkrete Forschungsresultate wurden Modelle für die Simulation und Bewertung von verschiedensten Systemkonfigurationen auf Basis kalter Fernwärme erstellt. Diese wurden zur Langzeitbewertung der jeweiligen Systeme unter sich ändernden Rahmenbedingungen genutzt. Daraus konnten die Verhalten, Einflüsse und vor allem die Einsatzgrenzen einzelner Systemvarianten und Einflussparameter abgeleitet werden.

Als wichtigste Take-aways zeigten sich, dass für eine erfolgreiche Implementierung von kalten Fernwärmelösungen eine gute Verfügbarkeit von lokalen Wärmequellen wie Abwärme vor Ort unabdingbar sind. Das Konsortium stimmt ferner überein, dass es vielerorts Abwärmepotential nicht erkannt wird: bereits niedertemperaturige Ströme (z.b. bei 30°C) stellen sehr gut nutzbare Potentiale dar, die in Kalte Fernwärme-Anwendungen einem enormen Beitrag liefern zu einem Ausstieg aus ineffizienter und fossiler Wärme- und Kälteversorgung liefern können. Hier besteht jedoch noch weiterer Bedarf an Demonstrationsprojekten und Umsetzungen, um dieses Potential auch sichtbar zu machen für die breite Öffentlichkeit.


Smart city surveying

In August 2020, experts from AEE INTEC and Skyability took advantage of excellent weather conditions to investigate urban heat islands (IUHI) in the old city of Graz.

The innovative method developed by AEE INTEC in the frame of the FFG-funded project SmaCiSe uses a drone equipped with a thermographic and multi-spectral camera to precisely detect both heat radiation and reflected solar radiation. In hot urban environments, the radiation temperature significantly determines the sensation of heat, both in terms of the subjective perception of temperature and objective physiological stress. The project team uses sophisticated measurement technology and complex numerical methods to determine the above mentioned radiation parameters as precisely as possible.

A comprehensive article was published in the newspaper (Kleine Zeitung, 23-08-2020), and a report will shortly be broadcast in the programme Road to Digital Austria on ATV and Puls 4.


News from the lead project giga_TES

Large-scale thermal energy storage systems (TES) of about two million cubic meters increase the flexibility of district heating systems in transforming the supply system to 100% renewable energy through seasonal heat storage. Building on the know-how gained in the project giga_TES with respect to large-scale thermal energy storage for renewable district heating systems, a demonstration project in Austria is to be implemented. The expertise gained in the project giga_TES regarding large-scale thermal energy storage for renewable district heating systems should be integrated to a follow-up demonstration project in Austria.

On 18 and 19 June 2020, the semi-annual consortium meeting of the project partners took place as a virtual meeting. The consortium consists of four Austrian and two European research institutes and twelve key companies of the European materials, components and construction industry as well as engineering offices and district heating network operators. The experts reported of successful material and component tests leading to patent applications in the field of storage components and covers for large heat storage tanks. Furthermore, results of the validation of simulation-based storage and component models were on the agenda. The project partner Planenergi presented projects implemented in Denmark lately. 

Besides technical optimisations, lifetime analysis for large heat storage systems and holistic system simulations of actual district heating systems, models for assessing economic efficiency are in the focus of the final project phase.

Further information and results of the lead project can be found on the project website. https://www.gigates.at/index.php/de/

The project "giga_TES" is funded by the Climate and Energy Fund and is carried out within the framework of the programme "Energy Research (e!MISSION) - 3rd Call for Proposals in the Frame of Energy Research 2016".


Create - compact thermal energy storage system

The CREATE project developed a heat battery, that can store heat in a compact way with virtually no heat losses. With this storage technology, heat from solar collectors can be stored in summer to be used for room heating and warm tap water in winter. The EC-funded project developed storage material and components and put them together in a prototype heat battery that was demonstrated in a house in Warsaw, Poland.


Waste heat recovery for industrial processes

Jürgen Fluch (AEE INTEC) moderated the risk minimization section in one of two four-hour workshops in the scope of IEA IETS Annex 15 / Task 3 (International Energy Agency Industrial Energy-Related Technologies and Systems - Industrial Waste Heat Recovery), which took place on 25 and 26 June 2020.

Economic, financial or technological barriers are challenges for the implementation of waste heat projects in industry besides soft facts like lack of confidence or subjective risk assessment. Unforeseeable changes of the energy prices, a lack of reliable business models for financing or technological problems that occur during the planning and operation phase are further reasons why waste heat utilisation projects are hesitantly implemented.

By investigating and combining methods for identification and quantification of usable waste heat in industry, by estimating future influencing factors on waste heat projects, aspects of operation in industrial energy systems as well as risk assessment, the IEA IETS Annex 15 / Task 3 analyses possibilities and approaches to solutions and presents innovative demonstration projects that have already been implemented or that are planned.

For further information please see the project website https://iea-industry.org/annexes/annex-xv-industrial-excess-heat-recovery

IEA IETS Annex 15 / Task 3 receives funding by the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. 


Solar Process Heat

Task 64 of the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC) focuses on the integration of solar heat into industrial processes of various industry sectors and further sectors with thermal energy demand.

On 17-06-2020 an online Task meeting took place. In the scope of the project all types of solar collectors and carrier media are analysed with regard to the opportunities they provide for the industry sector. The project experts emphasize that solar process heat is an integral part of a hybrid energy supply system for industrial applications. Focal points of Task 64 address integrated energy systems, modularisation, simulation, standardisation and market-oriented guidelines.

At the online meeting Jürgen Fluch (AEE INTEC) presented the status of Subtask E followed by a lively discussion about costs and their categorization. Within Subtask E a guideline for relevant markets will be elaborated.

For further information please see the project website https://task64.iea-shc.org/description

IEA SHC Task 64 receives funding by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.


Innovative energy technologies - Austrian market development 2019

The documentation and analysis of the market development of renewable energy technologies creates a data, planning and decision basis for numerous groups of actors in politics, economy and research and development. The present market study "Innovative Energy Technologies in Austria - Market Development 2019" creates these foundations for the fields of biomass, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, heat pumps and wind power.

In addition to the documentation of sales figures for the domestic market and the export market, economic figures in the areas of sales, jobs and the CO2 effects of these technologies are presented.

In 2019, Austrian companies in the fields of biomass, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, heat pumps and wind power generated a turnover of 5.2 billion euros and employed more than 30,000 people. The application of these innovative technologies provided 66.2 terawatt hours of renewable energy in Austria and avoided climate-damaging emissions amounting to 14 million tons of CO2 equivalent.

Authors: P. Biermayr, C. Dißauer, M. Eberl, M. Enigl, H. Fechner, B. Fürnsinn, M. Jaksch-Fliegenschnee, K. Leonhartsberger, S. Moidl, E. Prem, C. Schmidl, C. Strasser, W. Weiss, M. Wittmann, P. Wonisch, E. Wopienka


IEA SHC Solar Heat Worldwide Report Ed. 2020

On behalf of the Solar Heating and Cooling Programme of the International Energy Agency and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology the IEA SHC Solar Heat Worldwide Report is updated annually by AEE INTEC.

The cumulative installed capacity of solar technologies for solar heating and cooling in operation at the end of 2019 was 479 GWth (684 million square meters). The corresponding annual solar thermal energy yield was 389 TWh, which corresponds to a saving of 41.9 million tonnes of oil and 135.1 million tonnes of CO2, or 3.5 times Switzerland's annual CO2 emissions.

Two areas of steady growth are the number of megawatt systems for district heating and industrial applications. At the end of 2019, around 400 large-scale solar thermal systems (> 350 kWth; 500 m²) were connected to district heating networks or were in operation in residential buildings. 800 solar process heating systems with a total collector area of 1 million m² (700 MWth) are currently in operation. The world's largest solar process heat plant Miraah in Oman was expanded by around 200 MWth in 2019 and now has an installed capacity of 300 MWth.

The PVT market developed very well in 2019 and recorded significant global growth of plus 9 percent.


Methodology Development for Accelerated Generation of Thermal Energy Storage Models

A new PhD thesis at AEE INTEC deals with the numerical modelling of new energy storage technologies.

The main goal of the thesis is the development of general approaches and methodologies for building numerical Thermal Energy Storage (TES) models for dynamic system simulations. With the elaborated methodologies the development of new TES models should become faster, more efficient and less costly. In order to enable an accelerated modelling process the future promising, acausal, equation-based and object-oriented modelling language Modelica is used.

Another objective is the development and testing of these general methodologies by the development of two new built, scientifically proven and well validated TES models for dynamic systems simulations, which will be used at AEE INTEC in the scope of ongoing national and international research projects. One of the models refers to large-scale pit TES and the other one refers to compact thermochemical TES.  These two models will allow in-depth analysis, design and optimization of these emerging TES technologies  and thus enable an accelerated market launch and the integration into future energy systems.

This PhD thesis is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) in the framework of the program “Forschungspartnerschaften: Industrienahe Dissertationen 2020 - 6. AS Forschungspartnerschaften“.