The works means solar energy could in the future be stored more efficiently for heating in the winter, currently one of the biggest problems facing renewable energy.
AEE intec, a research institute in Gleisdorf in the Austrian state of Styria that led the project, reported this week that the record amount of stored solar heat would cover 85 percent of the warm water and heating demands in the winter.
However, they warned that the storage technology still relies on the very expensive material Zeolite.
Storing thermal energy has become a major issue worldwide in recent years as more and more renewable energy is being used. Due to variations in the amount of solar heat that can be collected depending on the season, storing it efficiently is thought to be vital for the future of renewable energy.
The Austrian research team are working towards ensuring solar energy collected during the summer months will cover 100% of winter heating costs.
The ‘COMTES’ research project, which received funding from both the Climate and Energy Fund and the EU commission, has reported its first success just six months after starting testing solar panels.
Earlier this year, 170 world leaders signed up to the landmark agreement on lowering global emissions that was drafted at the 2015 Paris climate conference.
Austria is a leading country when it comes to renewable energy, with approximately two-thirds of all electricity consumed coming from renewable sources.
“Austria is aware of the challenges and plays a pioneering role in the energy revolution with visionary and innovative research in the field of energy technology,” Michael Paula, environmental expert at the Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, told oekonews.at.
Lower Austria – the country's largest state – announced last year that 100 percent of electricity is now produced by renewable energy.
Written by: Helena Uhl