Fewer greenhouse gases and more green energy in north-western Europe. That is the aim of the ICaRE4Farms project. With partners from Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, France and the Netherlands we are working on a solution. That solution can be found in solar thermal energy. There are plenty of possibilities for the agricultural sector in north-western Europe to make use of this green energy. After all, solar thermal energy is an excellent source of energy for heating water and in the long term, can replace many fossil energy sources. For example, one solar thermal panel can save as much as 500 kilos of CO2 in a single year.
Does solar thermal energy work?
Certainly it does! ICaRE4Farms gives as an example a French farm that made the switch a few years ago. The farm produces cattle fodder, which costs a lot of energy. 800 litres of water has to be heated twice a day, for which the farm uses a gas boiler. To heat this water, they needed about 4.4 tonnes of gas per year, which costs a lot. An installation by one of the partners, Feng Technologies, changed this. The solar thermal system consists of four modules and uses three types of solar energy: direct sunlight, scattered light (when there are clouds between them) and reflected sunlight. As a result, the installation always works, even when the sun is blocked by the clouds.
As a result of this installation, the farm now uses only 2.8 tonnes of gas per year. In addition, the installation saves around 6 tonnes of CO2 per year. The goal of ICaRE4Farms is that many more installations of this kind will be operational in the coming years. In ten years’ time there should be 1000 active solar thermal installations in northwestern Europe.
The future of ICaRE4Farms
CCS Energie-advies is one of the Dutch partners of the project and is happy to contribute to a more sustainable agricultural sector. In the Netherlands they are already working on solar thermal energy, so a European project is a logical step! For ICaRE4Farms they will run a pilot in the Netherlands. In this pilot it is the idea to use a solar thermal installation to provide a manure digester with hot water. Together with Feng Technologies the installation will be installed to provide insight in the workability. Through this project page we will of course keep you informed of developments within this beautiful European project!