Avery Dennison Commissions Europe’s Largest Solar Thermal Platform, Storage Unit

Avery Dennison factory under construction, outfitted with solar panels and wind turbines

(Credit: Energy Nest)

by | Sep 7, 2023

Avery Dennison factory under construction, outfitted with solar panels and wind turbines

(Credit: Energy Nest)

Avery Dennison has commissioned a concentrated solar thermal (CST) platform and thermal storage unit at its production plant in Belgium. The installation will reportedly be the largest of its kind in Europe.

The new platform is expected to reduce emissions of the packaging and materials plant by 9% annually and will provide up to 100% of the factory’s overall heat demand in summer and high-sunshine periods. The plant uses heat-intensive drying ovens in its manufacturing process and will be able to use zero-carbon solar energy to create products for use in industries such as automotive, medical devices, and personal care.

The new renewable energy platform will cover nearly 60,000 square feet on the site and will use over 2,240 parabolic mirrors combined with thermal energy storage, generating the heat equivalent of about 2.3 Gh of gas consumption.

“We have big ambitions to tackle climate change and achieve net zero by 2050,” said Mariana Rodriguez, general manager of Avery Dennison Performance Tapes Europe. “To meet these goals we will look across our industrial processes and identify opportunities to implement new technologies that decarbonize and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. The successful commissioning of the project in Turnhout is a big step forward in our sustainability plans.”

Project Collaborators, Implementation of Solar Grazing

Azteq, an organization that builds and maintains CST facilities, will be responsible for building the new platform, and EnergyNest batteries will store solar energy as secure, green heat. By using the six battery modules, the CST system can produce and dispatch thermal energy at any time of day, on demand.

Campina Energie supplied financing for the project, and funding for the thermal battery installation was provided by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The CST platform is also partially funded by the Flemish government.

Along with the CST platform installation, Avery Dennison plans to have sheep graze the fields beyond the site instead of using lawnmowers. The practice, dubbed “solar-grazing,” has become a more common practice in agrovoltaics, which is used to support biodiversity on land used for both solar and agricultural purposes.

Solar grazing provides a mutually beneficial system for solar installations and farmers. Sheep manage on-site vegetation, ensuring solar panels are not obstructed by grasses, plus they are able to easily reach beneath solar panels in areas that are difficult to manually mow. Avery Dennison will join multiple other solar sites in implementing the solar grazing technique and in working to enable inventive solutions for further solar developments.

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