Solar Heat for Industrial Processes (SHIP) has a huge potential, however this potential is still largely untapped. Within the past years of activities in IEA SHC Task 49/IV1 (duration 2012-2015; operating agent Christoph Brunner), several shortcomings that were hindering a successful market deployment could be overcome: This relates to a number of guidelines and papers on how to place solar thermal plants best within the complex industrial environment. It also relates to available simulation tools and design strategies of solar thermal systems. Suitable process heat collectors are also well established, although research on new low-cost and low-weight collectors for the medium temperature range is still required.

Besides the ongoing optimization of the technology of solar process heat collectors, there are some main topics however that still need to be addressed for successful market deployment: To reach high solar ratios, available area and easy installations are one requirement, but also new technologies will be a decisive research topic to really allow for significant solar shares in industry. Future energy systems in industry will rely on hybrid solutions, and the interactions of solar thermal systems with other energy supply technologies, storage management and industrial heat flows will become of high importance in these thermal energy networks. These networks might also cross boundaries of industrial sites and relate to larger city areas or regions. The development of new process technologies will also have an impact on solar process heat or vice versa an economic availability of solar process heat might stimulate the use of low exergy technologies in industry.

An important field of application of solar energy could be identified in the field of water treatment technologies.

Just recently the IEA underlined the importance of NEXUS Water-Energy by performing a workshop of the Experts’ Group on R&D Priority Setting and Evaluation (EGRD) where amongst others the interaction of water and energy in industry has been addressed.

On the one hand about 20 % of water utilization in the world is devoted to industrial use and is therefore an essential economic good. On the other hand, fresh water is a scarce resource in many regions today while the disposal of waste streams comes along with destructive environmental impact. Additional resources as sea- and brackish water are utilized by means of desalination with exponential growth rates since the 1950s. Theoretically 100 % solar ratio could be envisioned in solar heat supply for water treatment technologies, as it is common to work with large volumes and buffer storages in this sector allowing to some extent production capacity variation along with solar availability.


This Task will develop and provide the most suitable and accurate information on the technical and economical possibilities for effectively applying solar thermal energy and solar radiation to disinfect, decontaminate and separate industrial process water and waste water. Water shortages in specific regions worldwide as well the need of CO2 reduction and primary energy savings underline the importance of this research area and specific technological development will be required to develop tecno-economic solutions. This task will support specifically the solar energy industry, the water technology sector and the producing industry in identifying new technologies, innovative fields of application and business opportunities.

The scope of work covers all low temperature solar radiation technologies supplying either thermal or photon primary energy for fluid separation and water treatment in regard to industrial applications and sewage plants either in the context of municipal water treatment/purification or development cooperation.


The main objective of the Task is to improve the conditions and increase the applications of solar driven separation and water purification technologies in industrial applications in order to push the solar water treatment market, solve water problems at locations with abundant solar energy resources and reduce the fossil-fuel consumption.