SOCO.net - Solar Cooling Network for AUSTR(AL)IA
Solar Cooling is one of the applications of solar thermal energy conversion, where the solar supply and the energy demand show an almost perfect temporal accordance.
Therefore, the Austria Solar Innovation Center (ASiC) has been working in this research field of solar cooling for many years now and can provide a good network of Austrian and European partners in both the industrial and the scientific sector. Due to a university exchange the ASiC could gain contact to the Australian National University in Canberra, where a group of researchers is working on the development of a concentrating hybrid collector, which would be highly suitable for delivering the energy of a thermally driven cooling machine.
Contents and Objectives
Basing on that, the project SOCO.net was initiated with the main goal of combining the competences of the ASiC and the ANU by establishing an international cooperation, so that the research field of solar cooling could be worked on with high efficiency with maximized output. The inclusion of industrial partners on both sides of the cooperation should already provide a sufficient view to a possible industrial implementation of any research results.
The main focus for establishing a cooperation of very diverse and international partners must be concentrated on personal contact and the consideration of the different interests and various requirements of the potential participants. Therefore, the organisation of numerous meetings was one of the central tools during the entire project. The geographical distances between the potential partners have to be mentioned as one of the challenges within the project.
On the scientific level it was possible to found cooperation by strengthening existing contacts and setting up important new contacts, leading to new impulses for future scientific work. Furthermore, experiences made on the industrial level are highly relevant for further activities in an international context.
Prospects / Suggestions for future research
The results of SOCO.net provide a very positive outlook for the further research work of the ASiC, mainly because the arisen scientific questions led to an initiation of two further research projects. Therefore, solar thermal energy conversion in general and more specifically the technology of solar cooling can be investigated further on.