SUPOSS - Sustainable Power Supply for Supermarkets and Surroundings

Developing technical and business concepts and strategies for a sustainable power supply of supermarkets and local consumers - supply of heat, electric power and cooling energy on the basis of solar energy and solid biomass.

Short Description

The vision of a sustainable power supply for supermarkets and other local consumers of electricity, heat and cooling energy (e.g. private households, industrial consumers) is the fundamental idea of SUPOSS. This vision should be put into practice in three steps (STEP 1: Technical and commercial feasibility - STEP 2: Components development & system integration - STEP 3: Pilot projects).

STEP 1 is now completed. In cooperation with SPAR Warenhandels AG the participating project partners carried out an extensive feasibility study. The aim of the study was manifold - to identify already existing energy systems on the basis of biomass or solar energy that meet the commercial and technical requirements of supermarkets and their local environment, to identify needs for further research and development and finally to make transparent existing commercial and legal barriers that have to be overcome to make progress towards a sustainable power supply for supermarkets.

An in-depth energy analysis was carried out for seven supermarkets of different sizes (3 Spar Markets, 3 Eurospar Markets, 1 Interspar Market). At the same time relevant data had been collected in the local environment of these markets and based on this data the heat demand of potential local consumers was estimated.

A lot of technical concepts for delivering electricity, heat and cooling energy were developed, considering the findings of the energy analysis and state-of-the-art studies of relevant biomass and solar energy technologies. A more detailed economic and technical evaluation was carried out for the most promising solutions.

Solid biomass based Combined Heat-Power (CHP) systems were identified as highly attractive and consequently examined for all supermarket sizes.

For the biggest market size Interspar Biomass based CHP systems using stirling machines were examined in more detail. Also possibilities to combine CHP systems with different thermal driven cooling technologies were analysed. The conclusions of the calculations were that biomass based CHP systems or biomass based district heat systems could be commercially successful operated if there is a high demand for district heat in the local environment of Interspar markets. A combination of thermal driven cooling technologies with these concepts is not possible at the moment due to technical and economic parameters.

Another Biomass based CHP technology - a linear piston machine by Button Energy which is currently in its demonstration phase - was examined for the smaller market sizes Spar and Eurospar. This linear piston machine can be fired with chipped wood and pellets. A pay-back-period of 7 to 13 years (depending on market size and technical concept) was calculated for the higher investment costs compared to oil or gas heating systems.

A lot of different solar energy based concepts were designed and analysed as earth coupled heat pumps for solar heating and cooling, air and earth collectors for pre-heating and cooling, flat plate collectors for water heating, photovoltaics, DEC-cooling.

Earth coupled heat pumps for heating and cooling could be operated economically successful if there are good ground conditions (such a system is already in operation at a Spar market). Low tech applications as air or earth collectors for preheating and cooling in combination with modifications of the building (as low temperature heating systems, better insulation, etc.) are also economically attractive due to the fact that the installation of other cooling devices could be avoided.

The study also showed a technological field - thermal driven cooling - where extensive further research and development is needed. For deep temperature cooling there is only NH3 - H2O absorption available. Markets like Spar and Eurospar markets need small deep temperature cooling devices that are not on the market in the moment. For air conditioning several thermal driven technologies like LiBr absorption, adsorption fluid adsorption and absorption technologies and steam jet technologies are currently under development.

At the time being all these technologies are far away from being economically competitive. Further progress has to be made to raise Coefficient of Performance and decrease costs.

For a further step forward towards sustainable power supply systems in the context of SUPOSS such thermal driven cooling devices would also have a positive impact for the above mentioned biomass based CHP or district heating systems. R&D activities heading in this direction are strongly recommended.

Based on the developed concepts technology roadmaps were created for each market size. These roadmaps show basic technical concepts that contribute to sustainability. They are placed along a timeline that gives an indication when they will be available. This information will give value to those people involved in developing and planning future sustainable energy systems for supermarkets and their surroundings.

With the help of the roadmaps important areas for further research and development could be identified. For these research fields a couple of project specifications were elaborated. In addition to the technical side a short market potential analysis was also done. Currently estimated 200 to 250 projects per anno (erection of new markets, refurbishments) are carried out in the food trade sector in Austria where sustainable power supply systems can be introduced.

Based on the findings of this study SPAR Warenhandels AG is already planning pilot projects for sustainable power supply systems which will be erected in the near future.

Project status


Project Partners

Project leader

DI Dr. Manfred Peritsch
IMG Innovation-Management-Group GmbH
Parkring 2, A-8074 Graz-Grambach
Tel: +43 (0)676-848464646

Project partners

TU Graz, Abt. f. Industriebetriebslehre u. Innovationsforschung (Werkvertragspartner)
Button Energy Energiesysteme GmbH (Werkvertragspartner)
BIOS Bioenergiesysteme GmbH (Werkvertragspartner)
Ö sterreichisches Forschungs- u. Prüfzentrum Arsenal GmbH (Werkvertragspartner)
SPAR Oesterreichische Warenhandels-AG (Finanzierungspartner)