Masdar begins R&D phase for CSP solar 'beam down' tower

15 January 2010 - Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy initiative, 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.

Al-Bawaba reported that 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.

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