Currently, only the Access to Facilities pages are online with the new SFERA User Research Proposal Form.

Soon, the other headings will be filled.

The joint research activities (JRAs) are planned to increase the research capacities and services of the RIs and to improve the existing ones, in such a way that the researches can be extended in number and in quality. This improved infrastructures and services will surely attract an increased number of new users, thus contributing to the overall goals of this SFERA-II project.

These JRAs cover the entire spectrum of current CSP research themes to address several challenges that matters in the develoment of CSP technologies and high-temperatures activities. Below are the 5 Work Packages dealing with Joint Research Activities: One essential subject for the industrial clients is related to the calibration of sensors, which is addressed in (WP 11).

Research centres and industry need joint calibration facilities and agreed procedures to calibrate sensors which are used for thermal performance testing and for measuring the solar resource. These sensor calibrations lead to the required high measurement accuracy and reliable test results over all European research centres.

In addition sensor calibration provided as a service to the industry will support industry in the implementation of the technology. Only by achieving high accuracy in the European test facilities, innovative products (collectors, receivers, solar sensors, etc.) can be qualified and developed together with industry. The largest sensitivity on uncertainty of CSP performance testing comes from the direct normal irradiance (DNI) measurement (Janotte, 2009; Heller 2011). For parabolic troughs, the second largest influence is the uncertainty in heat capacity of the heat transfer fluid. The work package therefore target to develop and standardize calibration facilities.

A second subject addressed in (WP12), which concerns the pyrometric temperature measurement for high-concentration solar facilities and solar simulators. The objective of this working package is to further develop pyrometric temperature measurement methods suitable for use on surfaces exposed to concentrated radiation as prevail in high-concentration solar facilities (e.g. solar towers or solar furnaces) and arc lampbased solar simulators.
This is essential to evaluate and understand the solar experiments that are operated in the SFERA research infrastructure and is therefore considered as a key in improving the quality of the facility’s service.
In particular for solar simulators where the spectrum of arc lamps is continuous in the UV to IR region commercially available methods (like solar blind pyrometry) cannot be applied, a new pyrometric method will be developed that will allow precise high temperature measurement under these circumstances.

A third subject addressed in (WP13) concerns determination of physical properties of CSP materials under concentrated solar irradiation. This WP targets to extend the capabilities in the existing CSP research infrastructure that allows for a better evaluation of the material behaviour for CSP applications, such as high temperature steels or SiC ceramics.
New experimental test beds and associated theoretical models will help users develop higher performance materials for higher efficiency of the process.
A better evaluation of the material behaviour for CSP applications will also lead to better estimations of the operating cost of innovative concentrated solar power plants newly proposed or developed, such as towers with pressurized air turbines for high efficiency electricity production or with high temperature thermochemical processes for synthetic fuel production.

Since the characterization of solar concentrators for CSP plants is a growing demand activity in several facilities within the SFERA consortium, the objective of (WP14) is to define common protocols to be applied at the participating research infrastructures for characterization of solar concentrators, as well as the design and implementation of a test bench for collectors interconnections (ball joints, flexible hoses and hybrid interconnections).

The intended protocols will include not only the testing procedure for overall characterization of solar concentrators (i.e., determination of their optical and geometrical quality) but also the protocols for characterization of their key components: reflectos, steel structure and interconnections.

An important services of the research facilities is to provide precise data of these research materials. The objective of this (WP15) is to perform research in order to improve the quality of both performances and procedures regarding experimental investigations and to develop a software database where the main characteristics of each feasible HTF/HSM for CSP applications are reported along with the related components characteristics and application areas.

In particular, there is a lack of information regarding short and long period thermal fluids chemical stability. For this reason, not only the selected most interesting and feasible HTF/HSM will be characterized concerning the rate of formation of their degradation compounds, but general criteria will de developed in order to allow a ranking with respect to these characteristics.
Also the possibility to regenerate insitu the concerned HTF/HSM will be investigated.