TASK III: Solar Technology and Advanced Applications

Operating Agent:  Peter Heller, DLR, Germany

Nature of Work & Objectives

The objectives of this task deal with the advancement of technical and economic viability of emerging solar thermal technologies and their validation with suitable tools by proper theoretical analyses and simulation codes as well as by experiments in special arrangements and adapted facilities. For this purpose, procedures and techniques are defined for the design, evaluation and use of the components and subsystems to optimize concentration, reception, transfer, storage and application of solar thermal energy. In essence, the goals are to investigate innovative multi-discipline advances needed for the further development of concentrating solar thermal systems. This also concerns, among others, process heat applications, the utilization of solar concentration for the development of improved materials, and the introduction of hybrid solar/fossil power plant concepts.

Task III is an ongoing R&D-oriented effort with clearly defined technical objectives, time schedule and expected results. Activities are cost-shared, task-shared (either through SolarPACES or among SolarPACES participants), and/or information-shared. Cost-sharing and task-sharing activities involve cooperative efforts of two or more participants where either costs of activities or responsibilities for activities, respectively, are mutually agreed upon and shared by the Participants. Information sharing is used for the exchange and discussion of results of projects carried out independently by Participants, but of interest to all. 

Task III Objectives 2012-2016

The main important objectives for the Task III activities in the upcoming period of the IEA SolarPACES Strategic Plan reaching from 2012 to 2016 will be to achieve a further significant cost reduction for new plants and to guarantee a high performace over the life time of the plant. Cost reduction may be reached through simplifications, mass production or evolution in manufacturing processes but additionally through new developments of advanced materials, processes and concepts. A further increase of operation temperatures will have major impact on cost reductions.

As our industrial partners competitively pursue project development and R&D on component development, the following activities appear to be appropriate for supportive collaboration, moving the technology forward:

  • Guidelines for component performance measurement, which can help component suppliers and plant operators qualify and validate their specifications. 
  • Prioritization of R&D activities with high impact on cost reduction. The findings of studies like Ecostar on the impact of technology R&D on reduction in the final cost of CSP plants will be further refined. In addition, SolarPACES Task III will work as a catalyst in setting up international R&D projects by leveraging funds to follow the roadmap laid out. 
  • Reliability Evaluation of solar components and systems. SolarPACES Task III will develop methods and procedures for predicting the life-time performance of solar plant components and systems. This also includes the development of methods for long-term stability testing (e.g., accelerated aging procedures). 
  • Concentrator system quality assurance tools and methods, to assure the optical quality of concentrators during installation and operation, including fast measuring systems for internationally standardized concentrator quality control and component performance characterization, including harmonization of simulation tools to offer investors reliable product and performance data. 
  • Comparison and evaluation of storage concepts Define a methodology for comparing and assessing storage concepts and collecting design and operation data from systems under testing in different locations.


Thermal Energy Storage Working Group

Task Reports

Reflectance Measurement Guideline

Accelerated Aging Testing of Aluminum Reflectors