Events and conferences

Solar expert coming to Canberra

Daniel Mugnier, chairman of the International Energy Association Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC), will be the keynote speaker at AIRAH’s Renewable Heating and Cooling Forum in Canberra on December 3.

The one-day event will explore Australia’s renewable heating and cooling sector and where it is headed. This includes the latest developments in solar, evaporative, geothermal and other renewable technologies.

Mugnier is an expert on solar cooling and solar thermal engineering. As chairman of the IEA SHC, his role is to promote the use of all aspects of solar thermal energy.

“At the Renewable Heating and Cooling Forum I will try to deliver several messages both from my IEA SHC programme chair position as well as from my position as expert on solar cooling and solar thermal engineering,” Mugnier says.

“I will especially emphasise the high level of innovation still occurring in the solar thermal sector, its economical accuracy and the ultra-useful role of the IEA SHC group to catalyse this innovation.”

Despite growth in the renewable heating and cooling sector, Mugnier says the technology faces some obstacles.

“The future of renewable heating and cooling will be challenging, because of the competition from resisting fossil fuels, and more and more competitive and available renewable electricity. For instance, for cooling purposes, renewable thermal heat sources are mostly not in the best situation to fight against renewable electric solutions.”

Mugnier notes that solar hot water heating is widespread in Australia, but there is less take-up of other technologies.

“Australia has a high level of skill in term of solar domestic hot water (DHW) systems and this is precious,” he says. “Worldwide, it is seen that low-cost and robust DHW production solutions are dynamic markets, especially in emerging economies. For other solar thermal applications, bigger and more high tech, the challenge in Australia against PV is quite hard to tackle.

“But model countries such as Denmark and Austria for large systems are to be benchmarked, especially for industrial applications, which is a significant market in Australia. For cooling, European countries are developing innovative solar cooling systems as well – mainly PV driven – which should also be of great interest for Australia.”

In total, 15 speakers have been announced for the Forum. The event is also part of the three-day Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference.

Mugnier says he is looking forward to finding out more about the renewables scene in Australia.

“I am personally very curious to have a look and an update on the ‘legendary’ Australian and regional capacity of inventiveness,” he says. “I am pretty sure this will be the case for the renewable heating and cooling innovations. Coming from Europe, where we are often Euro-centric, I am keen on discovering how cooling purposes using renewables will be addressed.”

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