Advanced materials solutions for next generation high efficiency concentrated solar power (CSP) tower systems
NEXTOWER shall introduce a set of innovative materials to boost the performance of atmospheric air-based concentrated solar power (CSP) systems to make them commercially viable. In particular, tower systems are appealing for the great environmental compatibility and offer tremendous potential for efficient (electrical and thermal) power generation. Yet, their industrial exploitation has been so far hindered by limitations in the materials used both for the central receiver - the core component - and for thermal storage. Such limitations dictate maximum working temperature and in-service overall durability (mainly driven by failure from thermal cycling and thermal shocks). Improving the efficiency of a tower system entails necessarily improving the central receiver upstream and possibly re-engineering the whole systems downstream to work longer and at much higher temperature, especially in the thermal storage compartment.
NEXTOWER will address this need by taking a comprehensive conceptual and manufacturing approach that will optimize
bulk and joining materials for durability at the component level to achieve 25 years of maintenance-free continued service of
the receiver and maximum thermodynamic efficiency at the system level. This is made possible through a unique
combination of excellence in materials design and manufacturing, CSP full-scale testing facilities brought together in the
Consortium, supporting the making of a new full scale demo SOLEAD (in Spain) within the project. The successful
achievement of a new generation of materials allowing for virtually maintenance free operations and increased working
temperature shall result in the next-generation of air-coolant CSP highly competitive over other CSP alternatives and
sustainable power supply options.
Coordinated by Antonio Rinaldi, ENEA (IT)