Masdar begins research and development phase for new solar tower ‘beam down’ facility
Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted renewable energy initiative, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Japan’s Cosmo Oil Company and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have launched an advanced concentrated solar power (CSP) Central Tower research and development project at Masdar City.
The state-of-the-art, collaborative research project will test an innovative ‘beam down’ technology, which has the potential to convert solar irradiation into electricity in a more efficient way than other technologies - producing a commercially viable ‘beam down’ process would represent a significant breakthrough in (CSP) technology.
The ‘beam down’ process inverts conventional tower solar tower technologies, which uses mirrors (heliostats) to direct the sun’s rays onto a receiver at the top of a central tower to heat a heat transfer fluid (molten salt, oil, or water) in order to generate steam, which is then used to drive a steam turbine. By placing the receiver at the base of the tower (ground level), the research team believes that they can reduce energy losses resulting from pumping the fluid to an elevated receiver, raising operational efficiency and lowering electricity generation costs.
Talking on the importance of the project and the development of solar power technologies, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Chief Executive of Masdar said: “Solar thermal technology is a key research area for Masdar, and we are committed to working together with our partners to advance these technologies even further. Our strategic partnership with Cosmo Oil and the Tokyo Institute of Technology enables us to explore innovative procedures or the improvement and efficiency of solar thermal energy production. The initial project findings have been very positive and if the results continue to be successful, ‘beam down’ technology has the potential to revolutionise the way in which all solar towers are built in the future.
“Masdar has once again shown its commitment to establishing Abu Dhabi as a global renewable energy hub, consistently raising the bar in terms of our investment in new technologies that serve to create a better tomorrow for us all,” he concluded.
The research agreement between Masdar, Cosmo Oil and the Tokyo Institute of Technology is the most recent component of an ongoing effort by the UAE to position itself as a global leader in the area of renewable energy technologies, which began with the establishment of the Masdar Initiative in 2006. Earlier last year, the leadership of Abu Dhabi committed itself to a 7% renewable energy target by the year 2020 and Abu Dhabi was selected to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Masdar City.
For his part Hiroyuki WADA General Manager, Future Energy Division, International Ventures Dept. Cosmo Oil Co., Ltd. said: “We are proud to be working with Masdar and the Tokyo Institute of Technology on such a progressive project. The realities of global climate change has highlighted the importance for financially viable alternative sources of energy and the development of ‘beam down’ technology has the potential to be revolutionise the CSP sector.”
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