BEST – Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies GmbH (former BE2020) is an Austrian competence centre for renewable energy with a special focus on energetic biomass utilization, supported in the COMET programme by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology and by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. Performing mostly public-private-partnership R&D projects, it bridges the gap between academic research and industrial applications. About half of the total budget is acquired outside of the COMET programme in national and international calls, including EU projects (FP6, FP7, Horizon2020).

While the core expertise of BEST is biomass use, current challenges in solar thermal systems have a lot of similarities to those encountered in thermal biomass use. Furthermore, combinations of solar thermal plants with biomass boilers are often used to reliably provide renewable heat. Starting from this situation, the control area of BEST has expanded into control development for combined biomass-solar systems. This has led to intense R&D activities both on advanced control of solar plants and on superordinate energy management for complex systems that contain various renewable energy sources.

By now, the cooperation of BEST with S.O.L.I.D. for developing and implementing advanced control strategies for solar thermal devices is well established, both in a general context (mainly for heating grids) and with a clear focus on improving the operation of solar thermal plants. Both model-based basic control and superordinate model-predictive control strategies are developed and implemented for such systems.

Role and main activities in SHIP2FAIR

BEST will analyse the general setup of SHIP2FAIR and in particular the demo-sites from the control-engineering point of view (WP2). It will advance present energy management strategies (based on mixed integer linear programming and on stochastic nonlinear optimization) to the case of several temperature levels, as required for industrial applications and for seamless integration into Pinch-analysis based concepts (T4.3), to be developed in this project.

Models for the selected collector types and the hydraulic setup will be established or refined. Models with different levels of detail will be used as foundation for development of model-based basic control, of super-ordinate model-predictive control (i.e. energy management) and for complementary simulations required to test and validate control strategies before implementation at the test sites. (WP4 and WP5)

BEST will supervise the actual implementation of the control strategies and tools developed within the project (T6.3) and also be strongly involved in monitoring and optimization (WP7).