SolAir project

The SolAir research project addresses a technology development for cost reduction and further commercialization of Concentrated-Solar-Power (CSP) tower plants.

We all appreciate the EU ambition about assembling a variety of professionals for visionary mutual development. The R&D we all participated in really made sense. If no none takes chances nothing is achieved!

It was the objective of this project to develop and demonstrate a new air Volumetric-Receiver technology based on the good HitRec project results. Which was Silicon Carbide ceramic VR units resulting in improved reliability and performance with reduced component costs for better performing solar tower power plants. A expectation originating from the success of the Volumetric-Receiver technology was to qualify the innovative receiver design. Used SiC ceramic materials for the experimental VR unit (now increased to 200 kWth - SolAir200). Hereafter to demonstrate the technology in yet a scale-up test receiver system (3 MWth - SolAir3000) on the 90 meter high CESA tower at Plataforma Solar de Almeria in south of Spain.

The three CAD drawing show the principle where the use of AIR for exchange of energy is one of the key element. The double membrane VR units support is kept of low cost steel by advanced cooling with the recirculating air.

The key ceramic SolAir VR units mounted next to each other to receive all the concentrated solar power. The square shaped ceramic Volumetric Receiver Units (VR-units) 140×140 mm across were all developed by Stobbe Tech A/S from Silicon metal infiltrated Silicon Carbide extruded honeycomb ceramics and cast Silicon metal infiltrated Silicon Carbide cups. In larger numbers manufactured by Stobbe Tech at SGIK GmbH from Silicon metal infiltrated Silicon Carbide.

Long time development created the visionary 140×140 mm VR units. The double ceramic membrane / metal support lifted to the tower to. Individual VR units mounting by Udo Hack from SGIK.

The European Community (EU) partners covered all the sector's involved in / needed for the R&D project for the advanced air Volumetric-Receiver composed by:

  • Abengoa / INABENSA, the Spanish industrial partner
  • DLR, Germany with scientific capabilities in the field of solar thermal concentrating technologies with special knowledge of R&D of air Volumetric-Receiver -
  • Ciemat including availability of Europa’s largest solar test beds on the ”Plataforma Solar de Almeria” in South-Spain -
  • CERTH / CPERI, Greece with scientific capabilities in the field of material science -
  • IBERESE, Spain performing cycle optimization of the (CSP) tower plants
  • Stobbe Tech, Denmark for the development, manufacturing and supply of special ceramic VR units for the air based Volumetric-Receiver –

Project title: “Advanced solar volumetric air receiver for commercial solar tower power plants”

This fantastic project project was sponsored by the EU commission under FP5 – “Energy, Environment and sustainable development” with the EU scientific officer Dr. Philippe Schild - and the partners.

SolAir3000 receiver installation on the CESA-1 tower. Per Stobbe mounting the hundreds of VR-units on the SolAir receiver. Full power (1 mW/m2) on the SolAir receiver 80 meter above ground.

Project period: 1999 to 2003