PHOTON project

The purpose of the project is to develop a new, more efficient and manageable tower solar thermal power plant model to reduce construction and maintenance costs, as well as energy production costs.

Tewer Engineering (Spain) and ACCIONA Industrial (Spain)as project leaders, together with partners Aalborg CSP (Denmark), Applied Research Institute F (Lithuania) and Modern E-Technologies (Lithuania), are participating in the European project “PHOTON: High-performance solar thermal power plants based on hybrid Solar-PV heliostats and tailormade collectors”. The main goal is to research, design and develop a new, more efficient tower solar thermal power plant model.

This project has received financing from the joint Eurostars-2 programme, with joint financing from CDTI and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The kick-off meeting took place on 13 November in Madrid and was attended by representatives from all participating entities.

With a total budget of €2 million and a completion period of 24 months, the PHOTON project aims to develop a new solar power plant configuration that provides efficiently manageable energy, with a potential price reduction of between 10% and 15% for nominal power of between 50 and 150 MW. The actions will focus both on the solar field and on the collector used in these types of power plants.

They will research, design and develop different systems to configure a high-performance optical solar field that also simplifies the current assembly and commissioning operations. The solar field will be autonomous, including a wireless control network and cordless power supply, making it possible to distribute the solar energy concentrated in the collector in a more useful way due to its high optical quality. This will reduce heat spikes in the collector and will provide superior efficiency.

The project also includes the design of a new optimised solar collector, suited to solar field performance and the requirements of the plant.

The “PHOTON” project will also evaluate the possibility of developing tower solar thermal power plants of up to 150 MW, currently unavailable because of high losses due to the concentration capacity and atmospheric dimming of the heliostats located further away from the collector tower.

The solutions proposed in this project help reduce the cost of the solar field and increase its performance while improving the capacity and performance of the collectors associated with the solar field. This also affects the supply systems in the intermediate power systems. All this will help increase power production at tower plants with heat accumulation.