Insero Live Lab is testing the energy storage of the future in solar wells

Solbrønd1As part of the FINESCE project, some of the first solar wells in Denmark are now being installed in Insero Live Lab – located in the village of Stenderup just outside Horsens. The solar wells, which make it possible to store heat collected from the sun and use it during the cold months, are based on a technology developed over 30 years ago – now, the technology is a relevant solution for the sustainable and CO2-neutral heat supply of the future. 

In the demonstrations project Insero Live Lab 20 families in the village Stenderup – situated in the local area between Horsens, Hedensted, Juelsminde and Vejle – have had their homes upgraded to the intelligent home of the future with the latest equipment within energy and ICT. Insero Live Lab is part of a larger European venture – the FINESCE project – which aims at testing and developing the future Internet. It is in this project that two families will have solar wells installed; a combination of a solar heating system and a geothermal heat pump with vertical drillings. One of these families is Kirsten and Erik Christiansen, who have been looking forward to their new solar well:

We think it is kind of cool that we are among the first to have a solar well installed. It will be exciting to see how efficient the performance is and how high the savings will be. And then it is nice to get rid of our old oil boiler, explains the couple.

Solbrønd_Erik_kirsten

Efficient heat utilization without ruined gardens
During the summer months, the attached solar heating system will first of all heat up the water for domestic use. Then the extra heating will be stored in the ground – in the solar well – and with the use of a heating pump, this heat supply can later be drawn up and used as eco-friendly and cheap heating during the cold months. The main difference from a regular geothermal heating system is the vertical drillings used for the installation of the solar well. This guarantees that the soil around the pipes does not lose any heat, which is often the case with regular geothermal heating systems. The company Sunwell ApS is managing the installation of the solar wells, and behind the company are two local companies – IC Electric and Hedensted VVS Service – who are collaborating in developing the solar well concept.

The solar well is a really good alternative for many families who are looking for a new energy source, when the oil boiler needs to be replaced. And it is unprofitable to wait until the last minute, because if you have high oil consumption, the solar well will quickly become profitable. Families with a solar well not only reduce their energy bill considerably – the impact on the environment will also be reduced to the electricity used for the heating pump. Unless you decide to get solar panels as well – then the energy supply will be completely CO2-neutral, explains Carsten Due, owner of IC-Electric.

Since the solar well only measures 1.5 metres across, it can easily be installed in a lawn without having to dig everything up – or for that matter in the yard or driveway if that is more convenient.

SolbrøndenSignificant energy benefits
The solar well is a new product on the market, and as a result there are still some uncertainties about the technical data. However, through Insero Live Lab, Sunwell ApS will now get the opportunity to test the technology further and collect data to document the energy benefits. The company hopes to be able to document a COP value over six, which will make the performance better than ordinary geothermal heating systems – and also a good solution for the sustainable and CO2-neutral heat supply of the future. The COP value – or coefficient of performance – indicates the relation between the heating provided and the operating costs spent.

Insero, who is operating Insero Live Lab, is also positive towards the new technology and the value it brings to the project – not least the value for the families:

Solbrønd2We believe that the solar well will become part of the palette, which you can choose from in future when wanting to replace your oil- or gas boiler. Right now, the solar well is a little bit more expensive than other alternatives using the heat pump technology. On the other hand, the advantage is that it does not require as much space compared to the regular horizontal pipes, and there is no noise, which is the case with air/water-solutions. The demonstration and the experiences from Stenderup will contribute to making the solar well more efficient – financially and in terms of energy, explains Steen Kramer, Chief Specialist at Insero Energy, the company in charge of the energy installations in Insero Live Lab.

 

The installation of the first solar well in the project is already well under way, and the next is expected to start some time in the near future. In the FINESCE project, Insero Live Lab is run by the Insero group, which invests in companies, projects and innovative research in the fields of energy and ICT. The purpose is to spur growth and development in the local region between Horsens, Hedensted, Juelsminde and Vejle. The FINESCE project is part of the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership (FI-PPP), which is a European programme for Internet-enabled innovation.

This post is also available in: Danish