2013 February – SMEThermal, Berlin: Trends in tanks for solar thermal systems

Solar thermal systems are enjoying strong growth in many countries around the world, and creating many challenges for the solar thermal storage tank industry. Jens Grützmann, sales director for cathodic corrosion protection products at Magontec GmbH, Bottrop, Germany reported on new trends in this segment at the SMEThermal in Berlin, Germany in January 2013.

Recent industry studies have offered insights that will impact future product design. Nearly half of the respondents in a recent global survey by market research company Solrico saw traditional domestic solar hot water tanks as the fastest growing product segment. Similarly important are storage tanks with two heat exchangers. Other strong growth areas include storage connected hydraulic pump stations, particularly in Germany, Austria and Spain.

Domestic solar hot water tanks are experiencing higher demand levels as they extend comfort features and tap performance. In northern Europe there is growing demand for enamelled systems with volumes from 1,500 to 3,000 litres. For the manufacturers of these storage products high quality materials are essential for high-performance insulation. In many countries this is generating strong pricing pressures.

Enamelled and stainless steel on the rise

Worldwide, more than two thirds of respondents expect that the future material for storage tank walls would be enamelled and stainless steel. While in the mature European markets the proportion of enamelled storage walls is expected to slightly decline in the future, in China it is expected to double.

Currently stainless steel tanks dominate in growth markets such as India and Brazil but in the future, the market for enamelled hot water tanks is expected to grow to about 15% market share in these territories. In most European countries and in Mexico, the experts surveyed said they expected an increase in the proportion of enamelled hot water tanks in the solar thermal market.

“With product lines such as Correx © and HyTonic © Magontec owns a variety of well-respected brands that address the requirements of cathodic corrosion protection in water storage,” says Jens Grützmann in his presentation. “Magontec’s products can easily manage the different water qualities found in different regions of the World. Furthermore Magontec specialists provide manufacturers with the benefit of experience gained over decades, which is essential for both series manufacturing and for trouble-free use by the end-customers.

Hot water tanks are a key component of solar thermal systems and for a long storage life metal tank walls require efficient corrosion protection. The role of Magontec in cathodic protection has been central to the success of industry leaders represented at SMEThermal.

In addition to European participants SMEThermal guests came from Egypt, Brazil, China, Israel, Canada and Mexico. The international importance of the Forum for solar thermal systems was underlined by the impressive attendance levels. More than one hundred companies and research institutes were represented at SMEThermal 2013.

Photos: © Magontec, J. P. Meyer

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