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Advanced materials solutions for next generation high efficiency concentrated solar power (CSP) tower systems

Project description

Shining a light on solar power system efficiency

Solar power is a crucial renewable energy source in the fight against climate change. It not only provides a commercially viable solution for energy but also ensures environmental safety. These benefits are of great importance, despite the current limited use of solar power. However, despite its significance, further innovation and novel ideas are necessary to advance solar energy technologies. In this context, the EU-funded NEXTOWER project aims to develop and introduce various novel materials. These materials have the potential to enhance efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, and increase the overall energy output of air-based concentrated solar power systems. The project takes an innovative approach by using conceptual and manufacturing processes to create materials that improve the efficiency of central receivers and thermal storage, which are crucial components in solar power systems.


NEXTOWER shall introduce a set of innovative materials to boost the performance of atmospheric air-based concentrated solar power (CSP) systems to make them commercially viable. In particular, tower systems are appealing for the great environmental compatibility and offer tremendous potential for efficient (electrical and thermal) power generation. Yet, their industrial exploitation has been so far hindered by limitations in the materials used both for the central receiver - the core component - and for thermal storage. Such limitations dictate maximum working temperature and in-service overall durability (mainly driven by failure from thermal cycling and thermal shocks). Improving the efficiency of a tower system entails necessarily improving the central receiver upstream and possibly re-engineering the whole systems downstream to work longer and at much higher temperature, especially in the thermal storage compartment.

NEXTOWER will address this need by taking a comprehensive conceptual and manufacturing approach that will optimize bulk and joining materials for durability at the component level to achieve 25 years of maintenance-free continued service of the receiver and maximum thermodynamic efficiency at the system level. This is made possible through a unique combination of excellence in materials design and manufacturing, CSP full-scale testing facilities brought together in the Consortium, supporting the making of a full-size demo modules SOLEAD (tested in Spain and Italy) within the project. The successful achievement of a new generation of materials allowing for virtually maintenance free operations (limited to ceraminc parts) and increased working temperature shall result in the next-generation of air-coolant CSP highly competitive over other CSP alternatives and sustainable power supply options.

Call for proposal


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Sub call




Net EU contribution
€ 732 250,00
Lungotevere grande ammiraglio thaon di revel 76
00196 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (23)