Highly efficient energy conversion of solar power and storage will play a vital role in a future sustainable energy system. Thus, this project focuses on the development of a novel high-efficiency solar thermal power plant concept with an integrated electricity storage solution. The project combines air-based central receiver Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) to maximize conversion efficiency and power grid energy management, enabling a new operation strategy and business models. The hybrid concept initiates a futuristic era with adaptive renewable power plants, producing both electrical and thermal energy, including process heat supply and reverse osmosis desalination. Because cheap off-peak electricity is used to provide the air compression work of the topping Brayton cycle, the overall peak solar-to-electric energy conversion efficiency of the proposed power plant may reach up to 40% efficiency, which roughly doubles the peak efficiency with respect to state-of-the-art CSP technology. The project’s activity will cover the techno-economic-environmental optimisation of the innovative CSP-CAES plant using representative boundary conditions, provided by grid operators and specialised partners, as well as the development and extensive testing of key components needed for its implementation. The main development will cover: (i) an advanced high-efficiency solar receiver, (ii) optical sensors and AI-based control, (iii) optimized CAES with heat exchangers and compressor/expander detailed designs and (iv) innovative integration of desalination. The proposed technology is set forth by an interdisciplinary partnership spanning the entire CSP value chain. Targeting a TRL of 6-7, the ASTERIx-CAESar concept will be validated with a demonstration scale of 480 kWth prototype in a relevant environment.

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Partners: Fundacion CENER (Coordinator) (Spain); Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (Spain); Universidad de Sevilla (Spain); Doosan Skoda Power Sro (Czechia); Università degli Studi Roma Tre (Italy); Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e. V. (Germany); Clancy Haussler Rita (Austria); Aalborg CSP AS (Denmark); European Turbine Network (Belgium); Fundación IMDEA Energía (Spain); Innovation Therm Technologies SL (Spain); Pritzkow Walter Erich Christian (Germany); Diacheiristis Ellinikou Diktyou Dianomis Elektrikis Energeias AE (Greece); Engionic Femto Gratings GMBH (Germany); Apria Systems SL (Spain); Softinway Switzerland LLC (Switzerland); Bluebox Energy LTD (United Kingdom).

Funding Institution/Program: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under Grant agreement Nº 101122231.

Call: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03

Type of action: HORIZON Innovation Actions

Period: 01/10/2023 – 30/09/2027

IMDEA Energy Institute external funding: 328.476,25 €

Principal Investigator: José González-Aguilar