Italian pasta maker Barilla will be able to source renewable heat and electricity from a solar tower to be installed near its factory in Foggia, southern Italy, as part of the HiFlex project.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) announced the pilot installation last week, explaining that the goal of the project is to demonstrate the technical and financial feasibility of a new solar thermal technology, which relies on inexpensive ceramic particles as the heat transfer medium, instead of using molten salt.
DLR and Barilla are two of the 11 partners in the HiFlex project, which has received EUR 13.5 million (USD 16m) in Horizon 2020 funding.
A special receiver has been developed by DLR and tested at the Juelich Solar Tower. It will be delivered in Italy next year, for the thermal solar energy project in Foggia. At the pilot plant, some 500 heliostats will be focusing the sun's rays on the point at the top of the tower, heating the one-millimetre ceramic particles to temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. The stored heat will be used to generate steam for electricity production or hot gas for industrial process heat on demand.