What are the advantages of CSP technology?
CSP systems are modular, varying in size from 10kWe to 200MWe. Therefore they adapt well to decentralised generation systems. They can be installed in hybrid applications to allow for 24-hour operation. This technology can be exported to the developing world. Since CSP systems produce both heat and electricity, they can replace all or part of the energy requirements in some industrial applications. They also have durability and low operating costs.
What is the future potential of CSP technology?
Current development costs mean that CSP is best suited to operate in sun-belt regions with low rainfall and scant cloud cover. CSP systems are adaptable and may be connected to existing regional power generation and industrial infrastructure.
What specifically does it offer the EU?
The EU's long-term objective is to ensure a sustainable energy supply based on Renewable Energy Sources (RES). CSP could contribute significantly to total EU energy supply and may be easily integrated into existing electricity infrastructure in Southern European countries.
How does CSP contribute to achieving EU objectives?
- A realistic CSP market potential in the Mediterranean region is 23GWe. Electricity market liberalisation permits power producers to trade anywhere in the EU. As CSP systems will be able to service industrial end-users, they offer the EU a further option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide for security of energy supply.
- CSP technology can be easily exported. EU companies are taking the lead in the creation and development of this market. According to a World Bank study, an annual increase of 2,000MWe in installed capacity can be achieved in the long term. EU-based CSP companies have positioned themselves to create and sustain employment in the medium to long term.
- CSP technology may be adapted for use in developing countries. They offer a broad range of installed capacities - large systems of between 50 MWe and 100MWe and smaller systems of between 10kWe and 1MWe - that can be integrated into mini transmission grids. CSP technology therefore contributes to EU efforts in supporting sustainable development in these regions.
A look into the futureWhat are the future applications for CSP systems?
CSP systems are area-dependent (providing approximately 1GWhr per hectare per year) and flexible, so they are well suited for decentralised electricity generation and industrial applications.
How can this technology be used in the short, medium and long term?
- Centralised large-scale (up to 200MWe installed capacity) electricity generation where small and medium sized producers are connected to large transmission grids.
- Decentralised medium-scale (up to 80MWe installed capacity electricity generation. These may be connected to mini transmission grids.
- Remote applications (from 10kWe installed capacity) which can be used to provide heat and electricity in small villages.
- Industrial applications where sectors such as food, textile, chemical, etc. will be provided with clean energy in the form of steam, heat or electricity to replace all or part of the fossil fuels needed during their manufacturing processes.
What are the research and technology development requirements?
- Cost reduction is the key issue which needs to be tackled in order to bring CSP technology into the market. This can be achieved through the manufacture of low cost components and higher overall efficiency.
- Additional research is needed in three main areas:
- Low-cost components for industrial application
- Low-cost solar reactors for high-temperature chemical processes
- Research into electricity/thermal storage and how to make new technologies suitable for CSP use
How can we develop a stronger market for CSP technology?
In addition to technological development, market development is a prerequisite for further growth through:
Setting the legal, fiscal and political framework.
This will define the conditions for transmission grid access as well as the technical standards for the grid's quality, reliability and safety. Fiscal measures, such as subsidies, VAT exemptions or eco-taxes, are needed to support the introduction of renewable energy and to allow renewable energy technology to compete in the market.
Marketing of CSP-added value.
The added value of CSP systems, in terms of quality, reliability and service delivery, requires an improved common marketing effort.
Creating a 21st century image.
The creation of an image for CSP systems as high tech but green, readily available almost everywhere, capable of being easily integrated into new or existing infrastructures, and adaptable for new applications could greatly contribute to CSP market growth