Fraunhofer ISE’s report encompasses a great variety of solar engineering subjects which are all very important to the energy transition towards renewables.
The report provides many innovative ways to produce CO2-free fuels and means to support the ambitions of many countries as well as international energy companies in their CO2 reduction targets. The report states the target of 80-95% for Germany, which might seem ambitious at first. Yet, it is feasible when the country’s business and technological landscape is considered. However, many energy companies have more conservative targets; for example, Shell announced the reduction goal of their CO2 emissions as 65%.
Solar energy can be integrated with many industrial plants such as cement, water desalination, natural gas processing plants to meet their heat and power demand. Thus, solar energy would greatly help in running these plants efficiently to meet their GHG targets. Also, heat storage would allow continuous operation during night hours, allowing a robust heat and electricity supply. This is one of the research areas that is mentioned in the report “efficient conversion and transfer of thermal energy can make further contributions to the decarbonization of industrial processes.” Furthermore, “in addition to specific storage solutions and energy-efficiency measures, work is also focused on integrating solar process heat into the heat supply for industrial processes.”
The current circumstances due to COVID-19 led to a steep fall in oil prices which has accelerated the transition towards renewables. With solar power being the focus for many energy companies, the solar energy industry should be ready to undertake this challenge sooner than expected.