A R+D activity integrated in Plataforma Solar de Almeria

Due to the growing interest of Hydrogen as an energy vector for the transport sector and the undisputed attraction of its clean production, the Solar Production of Fuels and Commodities Unit pays special attention to Hydrogen production by concentrating solar thermal technologies at high temperatures. Another objective of ATYCOS is the application of concentrating solar thermal systems to thermochemical processes in industry, bearing in mind that such processes tend to be large thermal energy consumers.

The activities of SOLFUEL are specified in two main research fields:

  • Development of processes and technologies for the decarbonisation of fossil fuels and their valorisation by solar gasification, paying special attention to low-quality carbonaceous materials.
  • Demonstration, on a pre-commercial scale, of the technological and economic feasibility of water dissociation for Hydrogen production through thermochemical cycles driven by concentrated solar thermal energy.

For developing these research fields we,

  • Perform studies of the integration of thermochemical industrial processes in central receiver plants.
  • Analyse the chemical equilibrium, thermodynamic and kinetic performance of innovative thermochemical processes, based on new materials.
  • Simulate, design and operate, both in laboratory conditons and in real solar conditions, chemical reactors with different configurations: volumetric, cavity receivers, fluidized beds, etc.

Simulated thermal map of a tubular reactor under concentrated solar radiation

From the experience gained with thermochemical reactors for Hydrogen production, a new line of R&D&I arose, with the objective of producing Oxygen from Lunar regolith. The specific boundary conditions on the Moon impose a new design for the concentrating mirror that has to be microlight.