Interviews > Pedro Correia de Carvalho, CEO at Richworld Renewables

Pedro Correia de Carvalho "The quality and delivery performance are a top priority for Richworld Renewables"

Richworld Renewables, initiated activity in January 2008 within the Martifer group, spinning off in June of 2009 and becoming independent; how it is to begin alone? And what was the reason for the separation?

Richworld Renewables (RR) at that time Martifer Ener-Q was a company created to develop the thermal technology inside Martifer Group. However after 1.5 years was decided to spinoff based on a MBO, due to the very few synergies existing inside the group. This decision allows RR to be more flexible and fast on its decision processes.

Portugal is a country where Richworld counts on and has experimented in as solar thermal energy grew around 60%
of the market in 2008. How has this data translated in numbers of business and the expectations of market?

Richworld Renewables have produced over 10.000 collectors on its first production year. To highlight that RR produces in exclusivity on OEM regime, this gives a clear picture about what we are and a guarantee that RR is not competing with its customers. Yet the quality and delivery performance are a top priority for Richworld Renewables, we clearly want to be recognized as a European reference on quality and delivery performance. As a matter of example RR got 100% quality reliability, until now RR didn’t receive any quality or delivery complains from its customers.

In Richworld product portfolio there are three families of solar thermal receivers, hot water production, sanitary
hot water for industrial use and hot water for swimming pools it could elaborate about them?

Three families of collector's as well two thermossifons for 200L and 300L got already the Solar Keymark. To mention that one of them have an efficiency of 83.4% being one of the highest in the world. It's based on a very innovative technology developed in-house by the R&D department. Currently a new family is just to finish the solar keymark certification process, to be more competitive and more efficient. This family production will be launched end of May-10. To highlight that we have chosen Cener for all necessary tests to get the Solar Keymark due to its reliable equipment and technology and professional staff.

Which is your star product for the Iberian market?

Clearly are the family A with gross areas of 2.2 m2 and 2.7 m2, the rises are in harp and the absorber in aluminum highly selective.

The last recent development are receivers that arise from the necessity of development of more versatile solutions in terms of dimensions and that allow more competitive prices: New Family L. Which are their main characteristics?

A wide range of sizes from 1.8 m2 up to 3.3 m2 for vertical and horizontal solutions and capable to be effective on domestic and industrial usages. In terms of material quality are as good as the current products on production, with tubes in harp and absorber in aluminum highly selective with titanium. The frame is anodized with 15 microns to assure a long life.

In order to cover new business areas, Richworld has also invested resources in two new scopes, heat pumps and solar concentrators. What is the potential in this sector?

First of all it’s imperative to say that in Europe 49% of energy is consumed for heating and cooling. Based on this statistic the market for the heat pumps is not just promising but is already pushing up due to the high energy efficiency of this technology. RR is developing a heat pump to generate space heating and cooling and heating sanitary waters. The machine is to be connected with the solar thermal collectors and to be used with a high level of electronic integration to assure the best energy efficiency. In the scope of the renewable and efficiency energy management Richworld Renewables engineering’s are working hardly to assure the best technology with the best performance. Regarding the concentrator we are now focusing on the market priorities for Richworld Renewables, the concentrator development is now on standby, will be re-started not before 2011 but probably then with a wide range of applications.

Models KT200 and KT300 are systems that work according to the principles of the thermo siphon. How do they complete the product range of Richworld?

Richworld Renewables is a very dynamic company permanently looking for solutions to complete its customer needs.
The KT200 and the KT300 are a plug and play solution, very easy to install with an extremely good compromise between value and quality.

In Portugal solar thermal energy has a great future ahead, although it is with some barriers. Are the Regulations of the Characteristics of Thermal Behavior of the Buildings (RCCTE) and RSECE sufficient?

Probably some improvements could come in force, such for public buildings and condominiums’. On the new one is
already obliged the solar thermal installation, on the old one probably some additional effort could be done. On 2011 most probably the Portuguese Government will launch a solar thermal program for large public installations, this will be including municipal and state own buildings and facilities. We expect to have further news soon.

Before the imminent approval of the Plan of National Action of Renewable Energy in Portugal, What are the expectations of the sector? What do you think of this new national strategy?

There is not yet a clear picture about what will happen, but solar thermal is recognized as the one financially efficient, meaning that an investment on solar thermal even without financial grants is interesting and defensible, assuring a positive IRR – Internal Rate of Return compared to alternative investments. The Portuguese Government is well aware of these premises and is willing to continue to promote and invest on this technology.

Richworld has recently shown interest in the Spanish market. What hopes do you have of this market? What is the attraction?

The Spanish market is a long way from its enormous potential, naturally due to the financial crises is now falling down, on 2009 fell down 14% and on 2010 the falling might be even higher, about 20%. I believe that the Spanish Government should introduce more active policies to promote the solar thermal for several reasons. Just to simplify I’d identify two – the immediate impact on the energy reduction and the positive impact caused by the CO2 emissions reduction together with dependence on oil reduction.

Do you have new projects in your sights for Spain currently?

We are now dealing with a large Spanish retailer to study solutions based on solar cooling systems. Richworld Renewables has a partnership with Yazaki, one of the best absorption chillers producers in the world to complete the range of technologies on energy efficiency.
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