Innovative Uses of Solar Thermal Technology
Solar thermal technology (STT) is versatile as it can be used to simultaneously generate electricity, process heat, and cooling. Initially, the emphasis of STT was on, and rightly so, large-scale electric power generation. A significant proportion of worldwide energy consumption (~60%) is in the form of heat for domestic and industrial use, for which STT can play a very important role (De Decker in The bright future of solar thermal powered factories, 2011) . Substantial progress has been made in supplying solar thermal heat for domestic uses through flat plate collectors and concentrators. Use of solar thermal heat for vapour absorption cooling has also made reasonable progress. Some examples do exist where solar process heat (80–650 °C) and solar steam is being used in industries ranging from dairy to automobiles to textiles to pharmaceuticals (De Decker in The bright future of solar thermal powered factories, 2011) . However, industrial applications of high-temperature solar thermal process heat are still in a state of infancy. In this paper, we will focus on some of the innovative applications of STT.
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