Solar Thermal

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Solar Thermal Energy

Thrust Areas for Research and Development

For the 11th Plan, activities on research, design and development leading to deployment and commercialization of various solar thermal technologies for power generation, industrial process heat systems, solar cooling are proposed, in addition to the continuing efforts to develop technologies for improvements for various low temperature applications viz. solar water heating, solar cooking. The major thrust areas include the following:

(i) Solar thermal power generation

The proposed activities would cover design and development of concentrating solar thermal power systems including parabolic troughs, central receiver systems and dish/ engine systems.

a) Parabolic Trough technology

Design and development of systems having performance characteristics of internationally available technology.

This will include

RD&D of components viz. receiver tubes for operating temperature range of about 400 C., parabolic reflector, tracking system and structures.

RD&D on heat transfer medium, such as, oil, water and room temperature ionic fluids for receivers.

RD&D on 1 MW capacity system; higher capacity system based on proven technology may also be considered

b) Central Receiver Technology

RD&D of components such as heliostats, tracking mechanism, tower structure, receiver etc.

RD&D on 2 MW capacity system with provision of storage

c) Dish/ Engine/ Turbine Technology

  1. The following activities/ programmes are envisaged to explore dish/ engine technology for solar thermal power generation:
  2. Design and development of large area solar dish with Stirling and other  engines to produce power in kW-range.
  3. Design and development of dish/ Stirling engine power plants for distributed generation in the capacity range of 100 kW and  above.
  4. Design and development of Stirling engines, having capacity in the range of 500 W to  1500 W (suitable for family, community and distributed power generation) along with appropriate balance of systems including solar dish and controls.
  5. Design and development of other solar compatible power generation technology like Brayton cycle turbines.

(ii) Solar Heat (up to 250o C) for Industrial Processes

The efforts will be made at to develop advanced solar collectors with optical efficiency greater than 75% and overall heat loss coefficient reduced to 4.0 W/m2K (or lower) for flat plate collectors. For industrial process heat applications, the development of high performance solar concentrating collectors and systems will also be undertaken. It is proposed to undertake up to 20 R&D installations, each of about 50 kWth capacity based on the developed technology in different industries with a view to fine-tune the technology as well as technology validation.

(iii) Low Temperature Applications

a) Solar cooking Systems

Newer, more efficient and cost effective designs of solar cookers will be developed to suit different cooking habits of the people.  Studies related to storage of heat in solar cookers are also envisaged. The concept of multipurpose use of Solar Cookers towork as a cooker/ dryer/ water pasteuriser is to be tested to make it more useful there by reducing energy consumption. Training programmes and pilot demonstration projects for newer technologies/ concepts are also proposed to be taken up.

b) Solar Distillation/ Water Purification Systems

There is a need to develop high yield designs of solar distillation system with a view to produce practical installations of the capacity ranging 1000 litres per day and above for water purification for variety of applications.

c) Solar Air Heating, Drying and Food Processing Systems

The research activities to produce standardized and cost effective designs of solar air heating and drying systems for different products viz. agricultural produce, fruits, vegetables, tea, spices, fish, bagasse, urban & industrial wastes and fuels etc. are proposed to be taken up.

d) Solar cooling

Development of cooling systems in appropriate capacity ranges for space cooling as well as applications in cold storages with active involvement of industry is proposed. For establishing the technology, installation of about 500-ton capacity systems is proposed for monitoring, evaluation, and design optimisation studies.

(e) Solar Architecture

The work in the area of solar assisted energy efficient architecture is proposed to be continued, especially, with regard to the following:

  1. To evaluate performance of such buildings with a view to disseminate the information on a wider scale.
  2. To develop advance components viz. smart windows, building integrated solar devices etc.
  3. To develop rating procedures for buildings based on energy efficiency and commensurate with the Indian climate and uses.

f) Solar Detoxification of Wastes

It is proposed to continue studies in the area of solar detoxification of different type of wastes with the objective to develop suitable catalysts and the processes for solar detoxification of wastes.  A few pilot demonstration plants are envisaged in industry.

g) Development of Low Cost Materials

For manufacturing of various types of solar collectors, there is a shortage of low cost and suitable materials along with development of new fabrication processes such that bulk use of materials is reduced and production process is automated to achieve cost reduction goals. It is proposed to take up R&D projects in this area during the 11th Plan.

iv) Development of performance standards and support to RTCs

Development of performance standards for new range of products will be undertaken. The Regional Test Centres for testing of solar thermal devices and systems, which have been supported by the Ministry and have been accredited by BIS, will continue to be supported and strengthened to undertake testing of new products as per requirement of the industry.