Fraunhofer Institute Researches Reliable Solar Electricity Transmission in North Africa
Mar 12 2014 - IISD.org
12 March 2014: The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has announced a research project to help develop a network for the reliable transmission of electricity from solar energy facilities in North Africa, with potential future transmission to Europe. The Institute's 'Super Grid' project aims to develop and optimize technologies for the interface between electricity production and grid feed-in.
The project has three parts. The first uses computer models to simulate the interaction between renewable and conventional power plants in North Africa and Southern Europe. The results of these simulations suggest that photovoltaic plants installed in North Africa in close proximity to the load will be more profitable than distant sites, even when those sites have greater annual irradiation.
The second part simulates options for thermal storage and heat transfer media for three different solar energy technologies, namely Fresnel collectors, parabolic troughs, and central towers. This research also led to the production of a prototype to experiment on the potential of different forms of storage tanks.
The third develops technical strategies to reduce the transmission losses and total costs of the grid, and proposes technologies to make possible direction connections to the medium voltage distribution grid.
The project, an initiative of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, is being coordinated by Fraunhofer ISE, in partnership with other Fraunhofer institutes. [Fraunhofer ISE Press Release]