EIES22 – Dutch company Suncom Energy can produce concentrated solar heat for industry. Moreover, it also developed an affordable heat battery. Continuous supply of heat and power from solar energy thus seems a step closer. During Dragons’ Den of Transition (DDoT), the start-up is looking for industrial partners to make this more marketable.
Founder Henk Arntz deliberately wanted to keep his company under the radar for a while. First, he and his team needed proof that their designs worked. With two patents in his pocket, he recently dared to do so. And immediately he won an innovation award from TKI Energy and Industry and will be on stage on November 30 during the second Dragons’ Den of Transition, during EIES22 at Brightlands Chemelot Campus.
500 degrees Celsius
Suncom’s concept is a combination of two techniques. First, the company uses parabolic mirrors to capture solar heat. Not a new technique, but the start-up has managed to do it with a much more compact system. Existing parabolic mirrors are easily seven meters wide and a hundred meters long and are enormously expensive. Suncom’s mirrors are much smaller. The systems must fit into container-sized modules, which are much more affordable individually.
The crux of Suncom’s technology lies in a specially designed reciever in the focal point of the mirrors. Liquid is pumped through this, which is heated by concentrated solar heat. Because of the receiver’s special design, temperatures as high as 500 degrees Celsius can be reached. The hot liquid can be stored intermediately in a heat battery. A temperature that is therefore even interesting for the chemical industry.
24 hours a day
What makes Suncom’s concept even more attractive is the heat battery. The starter has succeeded in very efficiently storing large amounts of heat in inexpensive materials. ‘Plenty of available natural rock,’ states Henk Arntz. ‘As a result, our technique allows us to store energy as much as ten times cheaper than lithium batteries, for example.’ The great thing is that the high-quality heat can also be converted into electricity if necessary. As a result, the intended system will soon be able to supply heat or electricity 24 hours a day.
Not only has Suncom already extensively tested the innovations, including in the Spanish town of Almeria, it has already managed to attract financiers and investors. After being granted a financation by the Dutch government, four investors joined, including a crowdfunding group of more than fifty friends and family members. The investment totaling more than 2 million euros now enables Suncom to commercialize technology. As early as next year, the startup plans to build a demonstration installation in greenhouse horticulture or on a farm.
After that, Suncom also wants to make moves into larger industry. During DDoT 2022, the company is therefore looking for industrial partners who want to work together on this and will soon benefit from affordable sustainably generated heat and power. And that 24 hours a day.
On November 30, DDoT will conclude European Industry and Energy Summit 2022, which is being held this year at Brightlands Chemelot Campus, in the Netherlands. The Den was organized for the first time last year. Click here for the report.