CORDIS - EU research results

HIgh storage density solar power plant for FLEXible energy systems

Project description

A solid transfer of solar energy

Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants convert solar energy into electricity by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area. The generated heat is usually transferred to a molten salt. The EU-funded HIFLEX project will demonstrate a flexible CSP prototype where conventional molten salts will be replaced with a suspension of solid particles that can store and transfer heat. The thermal storage system will operate at temperatures of around 700 degrees Celsius and is expected to provide a 2.5 times higher energy storage density at a 50 % lower energy storage cost. The pre-commercial prototype will be built and tested at a pasta plant in Foggia, Italy.


The HIFLEX (“HIgh Storage Density Solar Power Plant for FLEXible Energy Systems”) proposal has the ambition to develop and demonstrate a complete pre-commercial flexible CSP prototype plant featuring cheap solid particles as storage and heat transfer medium. Operation of the thermal storage system over a temperature span of 700°C results in a 2.5x higher storage density and 50% lower cost. During the project a complete pre-commercial solar tower system will be developed and built. The system will be located at a Barilla pasta plant in Foggia, Italy, with the following components: a 20 MWh thermal storage able to provide 800 kWth for 24h, innovative solar particle receiver with 2.5 MWth peak power, heliostat field with about 6000m² of mirror area, a 620°C particle steam generator, a 100 kW electric heater and a 800 kW fuel heater.
Fast ramping steam generation at 620°C enabling grid balancing will be demonstrated. The renewable-fuel heater ensures weather-independent availability. Further support of grid stability is achieved by using excess or cheap power from the grid to charge the storage for time-shifted electricity production (power-to-heat-to-power).
Continuous long-term operation for 18 months will be conducted to prove the performance. The project aims to verify the technical maturity of the technology for market introduction. Based on the experience from the pre-commercial prototype, the cost reduction potential for a 100 MWe solar tower plant will be validated, as well as the least-cost mix of renewables (PV, wind power, CSP, storage capacity, power-to-heat capacity, renewable fuel) for the future commercial application at Barilla as CHP system will be evaluated.
A business plan will be developed for fast market introduction of the technology. The project will provide a strong showcase, as basis for the exploitation activities to create new market opportunities, reduce market barriers and build confidence into the technology.

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Net EU contribution
€ 1 346 381,25
00148 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 3 895 401,79

Participants (10)