The Jülich Solar Tower, run by the DLR Institute of Solar Research and the department of Solar Power Plant Technology, is the only solar thermal tower power plant in Germany. The solar researchers here work with partners from industry to test and develop components and systems for commercial solar thermal power plants. In doing so, the researchers are aiming to make solar thermal power plants more efficient and thus more cost-effective. The scientists at Jülich are also testing production processes for solar fuels and the use of solar heat for industrial processes such as the desalination of seawater.
Two thousand moving mirrors direct sunrays onto the tower power plant
More than 2000 moving mirrors (heliostats) are spread across around 10 hectares in front of the solar tower operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Jülich, directing the Sun’s rays to the top of the 60 metre-high solar tower. There, the concentrated rays are picked up by a 22-square metre solar receiver and converted into heat. The air that is sucked in is thus heated up to 700 degrees Celsius, producing water vapour that drives a turbine, which in turn produces electricity via a generator.
The central element of the tower is the solar receiver at the very top. A separate research level within the tower provides room for the installation of a second receiver for testing new technologies and processes using highly concentrated solar radiation under almost real condition.