Solar Energy at High Temperature

Solar power systems concentrate direct solar radiation turning it into a high-temperature energy source for the generation of electricity or to trigger chemical reactions. In this process, mirrors focus solar radiation onto receivers placed at the focal point, or in the focal line, of the system, where energy is either conveyed to a heat transfer medium or used directly. Electricity production costs at solar thermal power plants (STE) are higher than those for photovoltaic systems. However, the technology brings advantages in respect of integration into the energy system, which means photovoltaic systems and STE could well complement each other.

Current research priorities

Priorities of the research promoted by the SFOE:

  • Solar thermo-chemistry (development of solar reactors and study of various thermo-chemical processes to manufacture hydrogen and syngas, the "solar fuels"): scaling up plant to achieve greater capacity.
  • Development of innovative elements for solar thermal energy electricity and process heat production: receivers with new thermal fluids, new types of high-temperature storage systems, combinations of concentrated solar energy and process heat, reductions in costs.
  • Use of plant to generate process heat in Switzerland using various pilot plants under scientific supervision (knowledge of the technical and economical potential).

Specialist staff
Last modification 16.11.2017

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Head of Programme

Stefan Oberholzer

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