Name of infrastructure: Laboratory Engineering of the solar technologies

Location (town, country): via anguillarese 301 00123 Rome ITALY 

Legal name of organisation operating the infrastructure: Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA)

 Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

Description of the infrastructure

The laboratory Engineering of the solar technologies is included in the framework of the activities carry on by Solar Thermal and Thermodynamic ENEA division.
The facilities included in the SFERA II transnational access are located at Casaccia Research Centre. The ENEA Casaccia Research Centre is one of the largest public research centres in Europe. The centre extends over an area of around 90 hectares, with 188 buildings (offices, laboratories, facilities and service infrastructures). Casaccia regularly hosts more than 1400 employees. Besides ENEA personnel, Casaccia hosts every day 300-400 people, from national and international universities, research institutes and industries.
The activities of laboratory Engineering of the solar technologies has been started in year 2000 and since that time ENEA has gained a specific experience in several fields of CSP technologies, mainly in Parabolic Trough system operating at high temperature (550°C) with MS (Molten Salts) as HTF (Heat Transfer Fluid). The laboratories offer services that cover all the aspect of the molten salt technology, ranging from the material compatibility tests to the efficiency test at high temperature. The ENEA experience in such technology is internationally recognised thus guaranteeing to the visiting scientists a unique opportunity to work closely with experts to answer pressing questions related to in-house developed CSP technology.

The infrastructures opened at the transnational access of SFERA II are the experimental workshops of the PCS (Prova Collettori Solari, i.e. Test of Solar Collectors), and of the MOSE (MOlten Salt Experiments). Each one houses several experimental facilities.

In the framework of PCS activities are included the following facilities:


In the framework of MOSE  activities are included the following facilities:

Areas of research

The main RTD activities carried out in the frame of the previous Solar Thermodynamic Project were devoted to the demonstration of the feasibility and of the setup of all the components of a CSP Trough direct system, where the same MS mixture acts as HTF and HSM with two TES tanks operating at temperature up to 550°C.
This objective has been reached, as shown by the ARCHIMEDE demonstration facility, i.e. the 5 MWe CSP Troughs plant in operation at Priolo (Sicily), and by the consolidation of the related innovative industrial chain (ARCHIMEDE chain). It has its point of excellence in new factory of the receiver tubes, patented by ENEA, able to operate with MS up to 550°C and belonging to ASE (Angelantoni Group and Siemens), but it regards also solar collectors, the TES system and all the other components. The actual activities are focussed to the improvement of this chain, in order to reduce the cost of LCoE (Levelized Cost of Electricity) by enhancing the performance and the dispatchability of the systems.
More recently ENEA has directed its activities also to the development of a very innovative chain, named T.R.E.BIO.S. (Trigeneration power plants by Renewable Energy: BIOmass and Solar), consisting in multifunctional hybrid CSP plants, for combined Heat and Power, in small/medium modular size for distributed energy applications in civil and industrial sectors
Summing up the above descriptions, the areas of RTD on CSP currently considered are:
Components and Systems: Thermal Energy Storage and Heat Transfer Fluid, Steam Generators, New generation of Solar Collectors, Receiver Tubes, System Engineering and Management, Numerical Analysis/Simulation Codes.
Solar fuels: Hydrogen from water by thermo-chemical cycles; Hydrogen from steam reforming of natural gas/ethanol/glycerol; fuels from biomass (for seasonal storage) by the following processes: steam explosion of ligno-cellulosic material (ethanol by fermentation), steam gasification (syngas), supercritical water (liquid fuels).
Medium/small size plants, up to 30÷50 MW, fed by solar and biomass, multifunctional and suitable to the requirements and vocations of the territory for generation of electrical power combined with: Heat and Cool production, sea water desalination, hydrogen production (steam-methane reforming), solar fuels (gaseous and liquid) production from treatments of residual biomass
European project developed or ongoing at PCS and MOSE workshops:
Other Italian national projects: ELIOSLAB 2, METISOL


For further information on these facilities, visit the web site or request for further details to where your request will be redirected to the appropriate partner.