Advanced Solar Volumetric Air Receiver for Commercial Solar Tower Power Plants

Title of Programme
Financing Code for Project
Project start year - end year 1999 - 2002
Financing organisation
Instalaciones Inabensa, S.A. (INABENSA)
Other partners
Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas (CIEMAT)
Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
HelioTech (formerly: Stobbe Technical Ceramics Aps, STC)
Aerosol and Particle Technology Laboratory (APTL)
Iberese SA (IBERESE)
Sanlucar Solar Solucar, S.A. (SASO)
Budget / APTL Budget 3.312.110,00€ / 172.558,00€
Scientific Manager / Project researcher A. G. Konstandopoulos
Project website -
Summary description
This project addresses a technology development for cost reduction and further commercialisation of solar tower plants. A broad introduction of solar thermal power plants of the electric power size of 30MW to 100 MW in southern Europe would clearly help to support the EU target of doubling the shareof renewable energies in the EU energy balance from 6 % to 12 % in the year 2010. Europe's first solar thermal tower power plant to be operated on a commercial basis is being planned in southernSpain. This 10 MWe system based on a metallic volumetric air receiver, will take a conservative design approach to minimise technical and financial risks.
It is the objective of this project to develop and demonstrate a new volumetric air receiver technology which is based on ceramic volumetric absorber modules, resulting in improved reliability and performance with reduced component costs for the next generation of solar tower power plants. A prerequisite of the economic success of the volumetric air receiver technology is to qualify the innovative receiver design and the used ceramic materials in an experimental receiver unit (200 kW) and, after that demonstrate the technology in a scale-up test receiver system (3 MW) on the PSA. Simultaneously, optimised power plant cycles and operational strategies of the next generation powerplants using the innovative receiver system need to be analysed.
The areas of southern Europe with high insolation and potential installation of solar tower plants (>1800 kWh/m²/year of direct normal solar radiation) are mostly coincident with economically depressed regions. This is the case of Andalucia or Extremadura in Spain, Alemtejo in Portugal, Sicilyin Italy or some areas in Greece. The construction of at least 1000 MW of such plants in those areas can create a number of new industries for the fabrication of components (mirrors, drive mechanismsfor heliostats, control systems or ceramic materials for receivers), assembling and operation and maintenance (about 1500 new local permanent jobs). The technology required in most cases is accessible to the local industries and gives the opportunity to create links with developing countries and their markets (Magreb or South-America).