The DLR site in Jülich is located about 60 kilometres west of Cologne and, since mid-2011, has been home to a working group of the Institute for Solar Research. On 1 July 2011, DLR acquired the Jülich experimental solar thermal power plant (STJ) from Stadtwerke Jülich GmbH (Jülich Public Utility Company).
Solar researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have investigated whether it is economically viable for a solar thermal power plant to convert excess photovoltaic and wind power into heat and store it. Heat can be stored more cost-effectively than electricity, and can be recovered from the storage system as required in order to generate electricity.
There are currently no uniformly applicable standards or regulations for approval and market introduction of novel heat transfer fluid for operation in solar thermal parabolic trough power plants. In principle, the medium must be independently qualified in terms of its chemical and thermodynamic properties.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have taken a major step forward in the development of receiver technology for solar tower power plants. The innovative radiation receiver CentRec in the solar tower at the DLR facility in Jülich passed its first test at extremely high temperatures in May 2018. During the test, the researchers heated ceramic particles in the receiver to over 965 degrees Celsius, and in doing so demonstrated that concentrated solar radiation can be used to generate and store energy at very high temperatures.