Page 52 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2016 publication
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52  Summer 2016 European Energy Innovation



Solar Facilities for the European Research Area

The EU-funded research project SFERA II aims                  thermodynamic cycles,              SFERA II CSP research infrastructures
to boost scientific collaboration among the                   receivers, thermal storage,
leading European research institutions in solar               concentrating optics, control
concentrating systems, offering European research             algorithms, etc.
and industry access to some of the best research
and test infrastructures. The project incorporates the    • Solar production of chemical
following activities:                                         energy carriers: H2, Syngas, etc.

• Transnational Access: Researchers will have             • Cycles for chemical storage of
    access free of charge to five state-of-the-art high-      solar energy: ZnO, etc.
    flux solar research facilities, unique in Europe and
    in the world.                                         • Solar water treatment:
                                                              desalination, disinfection,
• Networking: This includes the organization of               detoxification
    training courses for industry, summer schools
    for the public, doctoral colloquia… The aim is        • Research in basic phenomena
    to create a common training framework and                 and nano-material production
    provides the researchers with the necessary skills        processes
    to operate concentrating solar facilities.
                                                          • Knowledge-based high-added-
• The Joint Research Activities aim to improve the            value material synthesis:
    quality and service of the existing infrastructure,       ceramics, glass, etc.
    extend their services and jointly achieve a
    common level of high scientific quality.              • High-flux photochemistry and
What is the CSP (Concentrating Solar Power)
technology that is promoted through SFERA II? CSP         • Basic knowledge of materials
is a very promising renewable source of energy.               behaviour and aging under
The best known application so far is bulk electricity         extreme conditions
generation through thermodynamic cycles, but other
applications have also been demonstrated, such as         To access the five infrastructures
the production of hydrogen and solar fuels, water         above, the users have to submit
treatment and research in advanced materials.             an application through the annual
                                                          calls that are launched by the
How is the electricity produced? CSP systems              project. Travel, accommodation
concentrate energy from the sun’s rays to heat a          and access to the installations are
receiver to high temperatures. This heat is then          all paid by the EU project. For the
transformed into electricity – solar thermal electricity  2017 year, the call will be open
(STE). When combined with thermal storage capacity        from September 2016 to the end
of several hours of full-capacity generation, CSP         of January 2017. The access period
plants can continue to produce electricity even when      will take place from March to November 2017. l
clouds block the sun, or after sundown or in early
morning when power demand steps up, making it               FOR MORE INFORMATION
a competitive technology to mitigate climate change.        You can visit our website at or follow us on
                                                            LinkedIn to get the latest news on the project.
CNRS, PSI, ENEA and CIESOL will provide access              This project has received funding from the
to their solar research facilities free of charge. This     European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme
opportunity enables to realize high-quality research        for research, technological development and
in the following areas :                                    demonstration under grant agreement no 312643.

• Solar thermal electricity generation:

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