The EU has set itself the challenge of tripling its renewable energy production by 2020. One technology that can make a significant contribution to achieving this target is concentrated solar energy. In particular, the countries surrounding the Mediterranean will benefit from exploiting solar resources. Its most common application is bulk electricity generation through thermodynamic cycles, although other uses include hydrogen production, water treatment and research into advanced materials.
The ‘Solar facilities for the European Research Area’ (SFERA) project aims to integrate, coordinate and focus scientific and technical collaboration among leading European research institutions in the field of solar concentrating systems.
A major goal is to build a unified virtual European laboratory for concentrating solar systems that will serve the growing demand in this field. This will help secure Europe’s energy supply and provide a firm basis for competing in the global marketplace by developing a worldwide market for the technology.
A major benefit of SFERA is that researchers will have access to state-of-the-art high-flux solar research facilities that are found nowhere else in the world. These include the medium size solar furnace (MSSF) and the solar water detoxification facility. Use of these facilities will help to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) by opening them up to European and partner countries’ scientists, thereby improving cooperation.
The project’s success will increase research capacity in the field of concentrated solar energy and improve existing facilities. This will help to attract more of the best researchers, who will help to increase Europe’s renewable energy production.
For more information: www.heatexchanging.com