NewEnergyNews: ABU DHABI, JAPANESE PARTNER ON BEAM-DOWN SOLAR

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    Sunday, December 23, 2007

    ABU DHABI, JAPANESE PARTNER ON BEAM-DOWN SOLAR

    Beam-down solar thermal technology is not something invented by Mr. Scott, Star Trek’s first chief engineer (as in “Beam me up, Scotty!”)

    Solar thermal is a type of concentrating solar technology in which parabolic mirrors gather solar energy and focus it on a liquid running through the mirror array in a tube. The liquid carries the heat to a boiler where water turned to steam drives a turbine.

    In a variation of solar thermal, a power tower surrounded by sun-tracking mirrors has sunlight magnified and focused on it. The temperature at the focal point is yet higher than in the parabolic solar array.

    These solar thermal processes are more efficient than photovoltaic solar, the process by which sulight is turned directly into electricity by photovoltaic panels. Plants as big as conventional power facilities can be built in sunny areas (like Abu Dhabi). An even bigger advantage for soalr thermal is that either the heat or the steam can be stored, allowing solar energy to be generated at night.

    In the solar concentration off tower (SCOT) concept of Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Professor Yutaka Tamaura that will be tested in Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s groundbreaking zero-carbon city, mirrors send the sunlight up to a concentrator that then reflects it back to a ground collector which heats the liquid to make the steam to drive the turbine.

    This supposedly results in the highest megawatt potential for solar energy generation. The most admirable thing about Masdar and Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, its CEO, is that they know the only way to prove it is to do it and they are.

    Schematic of the "beam-down" solar thermal concept. (click to enlarge)

    Masdar will host the first
    World Future Energy Summit, a global forum on New Energy, in Abu Dhabi from January 21-23, 2008. (NewEnergyNews would be happy to devote exclusive coverage of the event if someone associated with Masdar could pick up travel and living expenses.)

    Masdar, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Cosmo Oil partner to develop solar thermal ‘beam down’ technology
    December 17, 2007 (AME Info)

    WHO
    Masdar, (Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO); Cosmo Oil Co. (Yaichi Kimura, President); Tokyo Institute of Technology (Dr. Kenichi Iga, President, and Professor Yutaka Tamaura, beam-down solar thermal energy concept developer); Abu Dhabi Crown Prince HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda

    WHAT
    Masdar, Cosmo Oil and the Tokyo Institute have agreed to work jointly on “beam-down” solar thermal energy. They will fund research and share scientific information.

    Conceptual representation of the device that receives from mirror array and beams down to the central collector. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    The joint project contract was signed December 16.

    WHERE
    - Masdar is the multi-billion dollar zero-carbon city being built in Abu Dhabi, home to a cutting edge Research Institute (see OIL MONEY TO BUILD GREEN CITY).
    - The Masdar Research Institute has international energy research and alternative energy industry partners that include the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Germany's Aachen University, the Imperial College London, Columbia University in New York, the University of Waterloo in Canada, CIEMAT in Spain and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
    - Cosmo Oil is based in Japan, home to the Tokyo Institute.

    WHY
    - Masdar and Cosmo will each invest several million dollars in “beam-down” research.
    - The project will be overseen by the Masdar Research Network.
    - A 100kW beam-down pilot plant will be built in Abu Dhabi by the end of 2008.
    - Masdar Research Network is developing a variety of solar energy, water technology and carbon management projects in support of the remarkable zero-carbon city under construction.

    Masdar is little more than a plan in the sand right now - but this artist's rendering shows that the plans are ambitious. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO, Masdar: 'Through Masdar, Abu Dhabi is extending its energy leadership to finding, developing and delivering clean energy solutions. The Masdar Research Network is a vital part of our mission, one that gives us access to the best thinking worldwide in renewable energy…The Tokyo Institute of Technology offers truly world-class expertise in engineering, technology and environmental research, and Masdar is proud to be its partner…'
    - Dr. Kenichi Iga, President, Tokyo Institute of Technology: 'Tokyo Tech's solar tower beam-down technology is recognised as one of the world-class technologies in this area. Through this research project with Masdar, we hope to contribute significantly to the world's future energy supply and help train more researchers.'
    - Yaichi Kimura, President, Cosmo Oil Co.: 'Our involvement is an investment in the future and solar energy has the potential to play a major role in our non-oil business. Cosmo Oil has established a very close relationship with the UAE, especially with the emirate of Abu Dhabi, through mutual cooperation in education, culture, the environment and oil-related businesses for nearly 40 years.'

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