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Hosting Legal Entity
German Aerospace Center
Im Langenbroich 24, Solarpower Tower Juelich of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Jülich, PO: 52428, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) (Germany)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 2008
Being upgraded since 2013 to 2015
Scientific Description
About 60 km west of Cologne on its Jülich site,the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) operates an experimental solar power station, Solarthermisches Versuchskraftwerk Jülich. The Jülich solar power tower is both a pilot installation and a reference model for future commercial power plants envisaged for suitable locations in areas such as southern Europe, North Africa or the Arab peninsula. Covering an area of about ten hectares, 2153 controlled mirrors, or heliostats, re-direct the incident solar radiation to the top of a 60 metre high solar tower where the focused sunlight is collected by a 22 m2 solar receiver and converted into heat. The receiver consists of a porous ceramic material that is constantly permeated by ambient air. In the process the air reaches a temperature of up to 700 degrees Celsius, and is then used to generate steam that, in turn, powers a turbine generator to produce electricity. In a variety of research projects, new components and processes are being tested which could help make solar power plants more cost and energy efficient. Other investigations focus on methods to produce solar fuels, and to use solar thermal installations for industrial processes (such as sea water desalination). Primary areas of research are to study newly designed mirror systems for re-directing and concentrating sunlight, solar absorbers, and the practical application of energy storage systems. Further research looks at theoretical and computer-assisted analysis and engineering developments in the field of fluid mechanics and heat transfer. For these purposes, the site has been given a number of additional office, workshop and storage facilities in the immediate vicinity of the solar tower.Funded by the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, partners from industry and research institutions are developing additional equipment and test fields to upgrade the Jülich experimental solar power plant into a complete solar research centre.

RI Keywords
Renewable energy, Solar research, Solar power tower, Solarthermal power station, Solar power station, CSP, Tower technology, Solar energy, Solar fuels
RI Category
Materials Synthesis or Testing Facilities
Energy Engineering Facilities (non nuclear)
Scientific Domain
Chemistry and Material Sciences
Testing of Concentrating Solar Power Components

Up to 1 MW of highly concentrated sunlight is available for experiments. The lab at the ‘Research Level‘ measures 80m² in floor area, 3m in height and has a 7m x 3m opening facing the heliostat field.

Research Level Lab

At a level half-way up the solar tower, project partners from industry and academia (Kraftanlagen München GmbH, Stadtwerke Jülich GmbH, Solar Institute Jülich of FH Aachen, and the German Aerospace Center) have installed the research facility. The Research Level Infrastructure is used for research and testing tasks for CSP component manufacturers and solar power tower plants. This is where up to 1 MW of highly concentrated sunlight is available for experiments. The lab at the ‘Research Level‘ measures 80m² in floor area, 3m in height and has a 7m x 3m opening facing the heliostat field. Occupying an entire level of the building, the research section has its own infrastructure, complete with electric power, compressed air and water supply, ventilation and refrigeration systems as well as CCTV cameras. Since it needs to be flexible and capable to cater for a wide variety of research requirements, it is generously equipped with data acquisition and storage capacity as well as a large variety of measuring equipment and sensors.

Date of last update: 08/02/2017
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