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Non-nuclear energy

Selected Concentrated Solar Power Projects

Fission and radiation protection

1. Parabolic trough

  • Contract Reference: ENK5-CT-2001-00540
    Title: Integration of DSG Technology for Electricity Production

    Direct steam generation in the absorber pipes of parabolic trough solar collectors (the so-called DSG process) is a promising option for cost reduction and could achieve a 26% cost cut in the electricity produced. INDITEP is based on the experience and knowledge gathered by the partners of the DISS project and it is the logical continuation of DISS. Once the technical feasibility of the DSG technology has been validated experimentally in DISS-phase II, INDITEP will undertake four main work packages aimed at integrating DSG technology into the energy market:
    1. The engineering design of a first 5MWe pre-commercial DSG power plant.
    2. The development of advanced components to enhance the ability of DSG technology to compete, e.g. cheap water/steam separators, and advanced components to increase the steam temperature from 400ºC to 500ºC etc.
    3. The qualification of key components and operation procedures for DSG power plants.
    4. Socio-economic research on DSG technology.

Expected Impact
The main expected result will be the design of a modular parabolic trough system adaptable to both electricity and steam generation. The project is also expected to improve the cost reduction potential of the DSG technology so that installation costs could fall below 2000€/kWe.
Co-ordinating institution
Iberdrola Generation S.A.
Hermosilla 3
ES-28001 Madrid
Start Date: 1 July 2002
End Date: 30 June 2005
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: €5,397,570
EC funding: €2,698,784
Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details

  • Contract Reference: ERK6-CT-1999-00018
    Title: EuroTrough II, test and qualification of a full scale loop of eurotrough collectors
    ACRONYM: EuroTrough - II

    The objective is to extend the total collector length from today's 100m state-of-the-art to 150m and to reduce the number of tracking systems, controllers and flexible joints in a solar field by 33%. The goals and criteria are the following:
    • To track with one central drive, and six instead of four, 12m length collector segments on each side, thus extending the collector unit length by 50%.
    • To reduce installation costs below 200 €/m2.
    • To reduce solar thermal electricity generation costs at Mediterranean sites with 2300 kWh or more annual direct solar radiation to €0.08 per solar electric kWh in parabolic trough plants of installed capacity of 80MW or higher.
    • To control average wind induced optical losses due to bending and twisting of the 150m Eurotrough collector so that they remain the same, or lower, than those for the 100m state-of-the-art LS-3.
    • To reach a maximum angular deviation of the most outward collector element of 6 mrad or less from the optimum tracking position for wind speeds up to 7 m/s.
    • To halve critical stress to mirror facets.
    • To demonstrate a 60% thermal collector peak efficiency at a normal incident design radiation of 850W/m².

Expected Impact
The project will provide a more competitive parabolic trough design which the consortium will be able to market worldwide.
Co-ordinating institution
Instalaciones Abengoa S.A.
C/ Manual Velasco Pando, 7
ES- 41007 Sevilla
Start Date: 1 October 2000
End Date: 31 December 2002
Duration: 27 months
Total cost: €1,993,707
EC funding: € 996,851
Web site:
Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details

  • Contract Reference: JOR3-CT98-0277
    Title: Direct solar steam (DISS-Phase II)

    This project aims to investigate the Direct Steam Generation (DSG) process under real solar conditions. It will use the test facility implemented at the PSA during DISS-phase I (contract JOR3-CT95-0058). Three DSG processes - once-through, re-circulation and injection - will be studied to determine the operational limits, temperature gradients and how the process may be controlled under real working conditions. Test results gathered at the PSA will be evaluated, and the thermo-hydraulic aspects of the DSG process will be investigated. Further objectives include:
    • The defining of more promising concepts for a DSG commercial power plant.
    • The study of how a DSG process could be integrated into both Combined Cycle and SEGS-like plants.
    • Various options will be compared to find the optimal one.
    • The development and testing of improved components for parabolic trough collectors.
    • The development and testing of reinforced mirrors for parabolic trough collectors.
    • The manufacture and testing of a prototype absorber pipe with a secondary concentrator.
    • The technical, economic and commercial analysis of the need for a second row of collectors at the PSA DISS test facility.

Expected Impact
The project validated the technical feasibility of direct steam generation using parabolic trough collectors. It demonstrated a large range of applications available for such technology. The next stage is defined under the INDITEP project.
Co-ordinating institution
Plataforma Solar de Almeria
P.O.Box 22
ES-4200 Tabernas
Start Date:1 December 1998
End Date: 31 December 2001
Duration: 37 months
Total cost: €5,592,620
EC funding: €2,500,000
Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details

  • Contract Reference: JOR3-CT98-0231
    Title: Development of low cost European desalination and process heat collector
    ACRONYM: EuroTrough

    European companies and research organisations working in the field of solar parabolic trough technology want to join forces to develop an advanced, low cost European parabolic trough collector for electricity generation and heat process applications.
    The project was successful in achieving its objectives. The estimated manufacture and installation cost was around 200€/m² for a collector weighing less than 30kg/m².
    Co-ordinating institution
    Instalaciones Abengoa S.A.
    C/ Manual Velasco Pando, 7
    ES- 41007 Sevilla
    Start Date: 1 August 1998
    End Date: 31 January 2001
    Duration: 30 months
    Total cost: €2,402,514
    EC funding: €1,199,899
    Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details

2. Parabolic Dish

  • Contract Reference: JOR3-CT98-0242
    Title: Cost reduction for dish / Stirling systems
    ACRONYM: EuroDish

    Acceptable costs are the main hurdle for the introduction of Dish / Stirling systems into the market. Costs for SBP's dish/Stirling design have already reached an estimated 11,000 €/kWe for single prototype installations. Further cost reductions are only possible through the development and testing of new cost optimised components and the preparation of small series production. System costs have to be lower than 5,000 €/kWe at annual production levels of 100 to 500 units (1 to 5 MWe), and for initial installation in remote areas and on islands. Thus the overall industrial objective of this project is to develop new innovative components, manufacturing/construction procedures and associated tools which will reduce system costs to below this level.
    The project achieved its objectives successfully. The new concept which was developed offers high performance and easier manufacturing and installation procedures. The consortium is actively looking at defining the reliability and availability of the dish/Stirling system under real conditions.
    Co-ordinating institution
    Schlaich, Bergermann und Partner
    Hohenzollernstrasse 1
    DE-70178 Stuttgart
    Start Date: 1 June 1998
    End Date: 31 August 2001
    Duration: 38 months
    Total cost: €1,665,531
    EC funding: € 750,000
    Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details

3. Central Tower

  • Contract Reference: ERK6-CT-1999-00021
    Title: Advanced solar volumetric air receiver for commercial solar tower power plants

    EU policy strongly supports the development of renewable energies as one measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The target is to double the share of renewables in the EU energy balance by the year 2010. Solar thermal power plants in Mediterranean countries present an excellent opportunity to contribute to this goal at competitive CO2 emission avoidance costs. Europe's first planned commercial solar thermal tower power plant is to be located in southern Spain. The 10 MWe capacity system, based on a metallic volumetric air receiver, will take a conservative design approach towards minimising technical and financial risks. The project's objective is to develop and demonstrate new volumetric air receiver technology based on ceramic volumetric absorber modules. This will provide improved reliability and performance and a reduction of component costs for the next generation of solar tower power plants.
    The project will develop a detailed design of a modular second generation volumetric air receiver. It will also demonstrate the operation of the 3 MWth test receiver system. This will enable the consortium to utilise the technology in the next plant to be constructed. In addition, an optimised cycle design will be available which will takes advantage of the improved receiver capabilities regarding high flux levels, a large air return ratio, and an increased air outlet temperature. An overall 10% reduction in solar electricity generating costs is forecast compared with the costs associated with current volumetric air receiver technology.
    Co-ordinating institution
    Instalaciones Abengoa S.A.
    C/ Manual Velasco Pando, 7
    ES- 41007 Sevilla
    Start Date: 1 February 2000
    End Date: 31 July 2003
    Duration: 42 months
    Total cost: €3,312,110
    EC funding: €1,497,092
    Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details
  • Contract Reference: ENK5-CT-2000-00333
    Title: Solar Hybrid Gas Turbine Electric Power System
    ACRONYM: Solgate

    The project objective is the development of a solar-hybrid power system with direct solar heating of pressurized air in a gas turbine. A significant cost reduction for solar electric power generation can be achieved (predicted LEC of 0.069 €/kWh at 50% solar share, specific investment cost of 1,410 €/kW), together with high efficiency in combined cycle systems or recuperated gas turbines. The project aims to validate the technical feasibility, performance and cost reduction potential of such power plants.
    The project will provide a sound database for the required modifications in gas turbine technology as well as those for high temperature receiver technology and system integration aspects. Solar testing will demonstrate the predicted component and system performance. A plan for a specific demonstration plant will be developed from the design for three solar-hybrid gas turbine systems (1 to 17 MWe). The initial and long-term market potential will be determined, and a plan for market introduction prepared.
    Co-ordinating institution
    Ormat Industries Ltd
    1 Ormat Square
    P.O. Box 28
    IL- 81100 Yavne
    Start Date: 1 January 2001
    End Date: 31 June 2003
    Duration: 30 months
    Total cost: €3,156,120
    EC funding: €1,498,772
    Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details

4. High Temperature solar chemistry

  • Contract Reference: ENK5-CT-2001-00512
    Title: Solar Carbothermic Production of Zn from ZnO
    ACRONYM: Solzinc

    The technical feasibility of a solar thermal chemical reactor to produce Zn (zinc) from ZnO (zinc oxide) and carbon as a reducing agent in plant of approximate 0.5 MW capacity is being investigated for:
    • The production of Zn as a commodity with very low CO2 emissions.
    • The realisation of a cyclic process where Zn is produced from ZnO in a solar reactor and the Zn is used as a "solar fuel" for electricity production in Zn-air fuel cells.

This work includes the optimisation of the Zn-air fuel cells for solar Zn and the optimisation of the interfaces between the solar reactor and the zinc-air cells. The CO2-mitigation potential for the production of Zn as a commodity is also assessed, as well as the specific costs for the production of electricity from concentrated solar light stored as Zn.

A detailed study is being conducted of the technology costs and economics of solar mitigation of CO2 emissions and electricity generation via the ZnO-Zn cycle. The experimental, numerical, and eco-efficiency results are used to develop a conceptual design for the reactor and the other components of the ZnO-Zn cycle. This will prepare the way for a demonstration plant on a commercial scale. Numerous exploitation scenarios for a solar ZnO to Zn plant are being studied, including the option to produce H2 (hydrogen) from zinc. The expected long-term benefits of the technology include the following:

  • A reduction of CO2 emissions.
  • Conservation of fossil fuel resources.
  • An opportunity for an almost emission-free urban transport system.
  • An increase in employment opportunities in the field of renewable energy.
  • International Awards
    The “Solzinc-paper”, presented at the International Solar Energy Conference (ISEC 2003) received the Best Paper Award on Solar Chemistry & Bio-conversion. Further more the graduate student Thomas Osinga received the 2003 First Runner-up Graduate Student Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

    Co-ordinating institution
    P.O. Box 5
    FR - 66125 Font-Romeu Cedex
    Start Date: 1 December 2001
    End Date: 30 November 2005
    Duration: 48 months
    Total cost: €3,018,632
    EC funding: €1,284,282
    Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details

  • Contract Reference: JOR3-CT98-0300
    Title: Novel solar assisted fuel driven power system
    ACRONYM: Solasys

    The objective of this project is the development and demonstration of a new high temperature solar process for electricity generation. This new process comprises the solar upgrading of hydrocarbons by steam reforming in solar specific receiver reactors and the utilisation of the upgraded fuel in high efficiency conversion systems such as gas turbines (GT) or fuel cells (FC). This process may be used on a small scale as a stand-alone system for off-grid markets and also on a larger scale in conventional Combined-Cycle plant operations. The solar reforming process has an intrinsic potential for solar/fossil hybrid operation as well as the capability for solar energy storage.
    The major technical innovations include:
    1. The modification of a suitable GT to work with both synthetic gas and fossil fuel and thus ensure a smooth and steady power supply regardless of the intermittent nature of solar energy.
    2. The adjustment of GT control and operation schemes to work in solar and fossil fuel modes.
    3. Further development of the VRR (Volumetric Receiver Reactor) with its solar specific components such as a quartz window, a catalytically-active absorber to sustain higher pressures and temperatures, and to operate with LPG.
    4. The control and operation of the complete solar reforming process. The new solar assisted fuel driven power system developed here is not available on the market. As soon as the system reaches satisfactory operating conditions, the consortium will begin the marketing of a small-scale version of it. This marketing exercise will be aimed at power and gas utilities and local industry.

Co-ordinating institution
Pfafenwaldring 38
DE-70569 Stuttgart
Start Date: 1 June 1998
End Date: 30 November 2001
Duration: 42 months
Total cost: €2,536,077
EC funding: €1,568,320
Link to the European Commission’s project database on CORDIS for further details