Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Advanced Solar Volumetric Air Receiver for Commercial Solar Tower Power Plants - SOLAIR, Final Report

Funded under: FP5-EESD


Solar thermal power plants in Mediterranean region present an excellent option to contribute to the global objectives to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and to provide a sustainable and secure source of clean energy. The European first solar thermal tower power plant to be operated on a commercial basis is being planned in Southern Spain, an 11 MWe system working on a grid connected mode. One of the technological options considered for this plant was based on a metallic volumetric air receiver, taking a conservative design approach to minimise technical and financial risks. The objective of this project is to develop and demonstrate a new volumetric air receiver technology based on ceramic volumetric absorber modules, which will result in improved reliability and performance with reduced component costs for the next generation of solar tower power plants.
The project consists of two consecutive phases. During the first phase, the design, manufacturing, treatment and assembly of the ceramic absorber modules is optimised according to specified cost and performance requirements. The absorber module was qualified in small-scale pre-tests. Steel structure supporting the absorber, warm air return system and passive control elements to homogenise the outlet air temperature were developed. The qualified components were assembled and tested at the 200 kWth receiver test bed at the Plataforma Solar de Almería. Material investigations on absorber material degradation were performed with the exposed elements in order to estimate lifetime expectations of these new elements.
The second phase provides the necessary intermediate step in the scale-up to a large scale application, to reduce technical and commercial risks. A 3 MWth scale-up receiver was designed, manufactured and tested in the existing 3 MW solar test bed for volumetric air receivers at the Plataforma Solar de Almería.

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