While the renewable energy transformation is still an ongoing struggle on the political stage globally, within the industry and research communities it is already accepted knowledge that renewable energy is the future. This was clearly demonstrated from 10 – 13 September at the ISES EuroSun 2018, the international conference on solar energy for buildings and industry (www.eurosun2018.org). The host of the conference was the SPF Institute for Solar Technology at the University of Applied Sciences – HSR – in Rapperswil, together with the Swiss Section of ISES, Swissolar. The who’s who of the global solar scene filled the HSR campus to learn about the latest in solar energy, present their research and projects, and network with friends and peers.
Future in Focus
The conference program (see online here) provided a view into a solar powered future. In the many oral presentation, keynote speeches, workshops as well as tours of the SPF labs, the participants could learn about large scale solar desalination projects for preparing drinking water, solar cooling systems for domestic and commercial buildings, energy autonomous communities in India, or the optimal distribution of solar energy from large solar power stations, for example. Those participants who were a bit skeptical of the renewable energy transformation in light of the current political struggles, were more optimistic after learning about many of the solutions presented at the conference.
An impression confirmed by EuroSun 2018 Chair, Director of SPF and ISES Board Members, Andreas Häberle: “From the technical perspective we are in the position to achieve, in a reliable and affordable way, a CO2 free energy supply by 2050 without any problems. Solar energy will be a pillar of the energy transformation, both in the form of heat, as well as electrical power.”
The director of Swissolar David Stickelberger added: “The challenge of the renewable energy transformation needs to be addressed across borders. This conference offered us the opportunity to present many solutions and to learn from others.”
The technical possibilities of solar energy for powering and heating buildings, as well as for industry are many faceted. For a start there is the production and use of efficient of solar power and solar heat in and on buildings. Technologies for efficient energy storage and sector coupling, meaning the intelligent networking of heat, electricity and mobility sectors, are essential for the success of the energy transformation. Some examples of the technologies that are leading in these areas are for power-to-heat and power-to-gas. The best technological possibilities will not move the energy transformation forward however, if people do not know they exist or how to work with them. This is why the EuroSun 2018 also included strategic sessions in which participants learned about successful educational initiatives and new strategies to stimulate markets.
Conferences within a Conference
The comprehensive EuroSun 2018 program was enriched through several strategic partnerships. The Swiss Section of ISES, Swisssolar, co-host of the conference with HSR, brought their annual meeting on solar heat into the EuroSun program. The 2nd Conference on the Simulation of Building-Integrated Energy Systems (SIGES) and the 8th International Conference on Solar Air Conditioning (SAC 2018) were also organized in cooperation with the EuroSun 2018. These events were integrated seamlessly into one program under the EuroSun 2018.
Workshops and Educational Focus
In addition to the three partner events within the EuroSun 2018 program, the conference also offered a divers side-event program including several workshops. For example participants could learn about development projects in the mountains of Nepal during the workshop titled “Breaking the Vicious Circle of Poverty in the Napal Himalayas: Lessons learned during 20 years of bridging the gap between community development, applied research and investment”.
The Solar Energy Master’s Course was also held in conjunction with the EuroSun. The course brought 20 master’s students from eight different countries to the conference to learn about the latest in solar energy technologies and to start to build their own professional network. The course was organized by Klaus Vajen of the University of Kassel and Andres Häberle. The EuroSun conferences have offered the solar energy master’s courses since 2000. These educational events are particularly important to the goals of ISES to support young people as they develop their carriers in solar energy and to support the growing and needed global workforce driving the renewable energy transformation. During the closing ceremony each of the students read a short statement (in their own native language) on what they learned during the EuroSun. It was a highlight of the event and inspiration to all the participants to hear from a motivated group of young people who will be the future leaders in solar energy.
Photos of the EuroSun 2018 will be available soon on the website www.eurosun2018.org. Short video presentations by some of the poster authors can be viewed on the ISES YouTube channel here. EuroSun 2018 photos from HSR are available for download here.