On the afternoon of December 9, nearly 130 participants visited the world’s first large-scale parabolic trough-type solar heating project as well as biotechnology constant-temperature room on the first floor of the numerical control center built and operated by Inner Mongolia Sunshine Energy Co., Ltd. (“Sunshine Energy”) under the sponsorship of China Solar Thermal Alliance. Visitors experienced the tropical garden landscape and the warm solar energy in Baotou city in the chilly winter.
Picture: visit led by Wang Yu, General Manager of Sunshine Energy
According to Wang Yu, General Manager of Sunshine Energy, the project, which covers an area of some 248.1 mu (1 mu equivalent to 666 ㎡) with a total investment of 377.28 million yuan, is jointly built by Sunshine Energy and Inner Mongolia Xinyuan Photothermal Co., Ltd. The parabolic trough-type solar heat collection field covering an area of 71,000 ㎡ is equipped with 9 hot water storage tanks, and is capable of supplying heating for an area of 355,000 ㎡. Coupled with the 22,000 ㎡solar concentrators installed on the the company’s production plant of medium and low temperature tube receivers, the system can supply heat for a heating area of 500,000 ㎡ in the heating season, and has the capacity to produce over 2.8 million tons of domestic hot water each year. Since its operation in 2016, the project has been running stably for 5 heating seasons, with a good heating effect.
It is understood that the project provides heating for the Outlets commercial and residential building as well as surrounding industrial enterprises, and providing hot water to bath centers in non-heating period. Moreover, it provides thermal energy for the 6,191 square meter solar heating operation numerical control center (including biotechnology constant-temperature room on the first floor of the numerical control center) to maintain constant temperature and humidity. In the constant-temperature room, visitors see plants and tropical fruit forest, and babbling streams in the pleasant spring scenery.
Picture: Biotechnology constant-temperature room
Wang Yu said that “we have an in-depth insight into solar heating technology after decades of R&D and project construction. The ‘solar energy +’ we put forward incorporates upstream and downstream component products in the industrial chain rather than other energy sources. The upstream and downstream areas of the industrial chain are integrated to promote the development of the industry. At the same time, we also actively explore increasing more ‘added value’ to the solar heat collection systems, such as ice-making and deep integration with the tourism sector, including energy conservation, environmental protection, ecology, water entertainment, leisure and holiday.”
Sunshine Energy worked with Handan Construction Investment Group to build the Handan solar “solar thermal+” integrated development demonstration project with a total investment of 5 billion yuan in Handan city, Hebei Province. It chiefly operates ice-snow and aquatic tourism projects. Using solar energy conversion technology, the project transforms ice-snow and aquatic tourism projects prone to the climate change into tourism projects throughout the seasons. Thanks to the unique off-season tourism complex model, tourists will have a one-stop refreshing experience of spring flowers, clear landscape, autumn harvest, and snowy winter. After completion, the project can create the cultural tourism brand of Cixian County in Handan City, promote the cluster development of the cultural tourism industry, and boost the strength and competitiveness of cultural tourism.
Picture: Group photo of some visitors
During the “2020 International Conference on Renewable Energy Heating Technology and Solar Energy-based Building Heating Technology Forum”, He Yaling, professor of Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Wu Yin, especially invited researcher of the Counsellors' Office of the State Council, former Deputy Director of the National Energy Administration, and vice chairman of China Energy Research Society; Zhang Yuqing, chairman of the conference and former deputy director of the National Energy Administration, as well as Zhou Hongchun, a researcher and former deputy inspector of the Development Research Center of the State Council, and other industry experts visited the project. Wu Yin spoke highly of the parabolic trough-type heat collection system built by Sunshine Energy, saying that “It has been operating for 5 heating seasons. This is a great job. The combination of the cooling and heating monitoring systems is flexible, and a lot of data and experience have been amassed. Great improvement has been made in the technical and equipment level. This achieved a good demonstration effect. The safe, efficient, clean, and low-carbon characteristics are what we require for the construction of a modern energy system.”
In June 2018, Li Zhanshu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, also made a special trip to the company to learn about the R&D and promotion of clean energy technology while leading the law enforcement and inspection team of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to inspect the implementation of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution Air in Baotou city. He stressed that we should take multiple measures to solve the problem of clean heating according to local conditions and use alternative methods such as centralized heating, gas, electricity, and solar thermal methods to reduce the pollution caused by scattered coal burning, and ensure a warm winter for the populace.
According to publicly available data, energy consumption for buildings accounts for about 21% of China’s energy consumption, of which energy consumption for heating and cooling accounts for about 22% of building energy consumption; in 2018, the average carbon emission intensity for heating in north China was 37.3kgCO₂/㎡. Emission reduction in the construction sector will be the top priority. Renewable energy heating will surely provide important technical support towards the goal of “carbon emission peak in 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060”.
As He Yaling said at the conference, solar energy is intermittent and unstable. In view of the rigid demand for continuous heating in winter, we face some challenges when applying solar energy to building heating. She hoped that all sectors of society should seize the industry opportunities in the new circumstances, and reshape the solar thermal utilization industry, so that solar energy utilization features higher overall efficiency, more application functions, lower use costs, and higher annual utilization rate. Efforts should be made to develop the solar energy industry according to local conditions and tap the market.
The direction of light is our future direction. General Manager Wang Yu stated Sunshine Energy’s confidence in the solar thermal industry.
About Sunshine Energy
Founded on April 13, 2016 with a registered capital of 300 million yuan, Sunshine Energy is located in the newly-planned area of Qingshan District Equipment Manufacturing Industrial Park in Baotou City, Inner Mongolia. It is engaged in the R&D, manufacturing and sales of solar thermal systems.
Upholding the core concept of “technological innovation and pursuit of excellence”, the company specializes in the research on trough-type solar energy medium and high-temperature heat collection and supply (cold) project. It holds 59 core patents and more than 100 pieces of technologies with proprietary intellectual property rights. It obtained the patented technology under the “Blue Sky Award”, one of the world’s top ten leading technologies awarded by the United Nations Renewable Energy Promotion Center. In 2017, “Inner Mongolia Sunshine Comprehensive Solar Energy Photo-Thermal Utilization R&D Center” was recognized as “Autonomous Region Enterprise Research and Development Center” by the Inner Mongolia Department of Science and Technology; it becomes a council member of China Solar Thermal Alliance in 2018; in December 2018, it was rated as “High-tech Enterprise” by the autonomous region; in September 2019, the company representative attended the 16th China Scientists Forum and received the “Honorary Title of Science, Technology and Innovation Company in China”.
The company’s parabolic trough-type vacuum tube production plant covers an area of about 50,000 ㎡. It has built two intelligent production lines with an annual output of 200,000 metal straight-through vacuum heat collection tubes, production line for heat collector support and the production line for CPC heat collectors. These have the heat collection mirror field of 2.5 million ㎡, and can meet the centralized heating area of about 10 million ㎡.