In sunny regions, solar thermal power plants based on concentrated solar power (CSP) already provide dispatchable renewable electricity through the use of large thermal storage units. Particularly in combination with inexpensive PV electricity, the storage potential provided by
CSP in grids with increasing proportions of electricity from fluctuating renewable sources will become increasingly important.
Together with our partners, we are conducting research on materials, components, collectors and systems, to further increase the efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs. Cost-efficient and resource-saving operation of the systems is also the subject of current work.
Thermal storage also offers great potential for industrial processes to become more efficient and energy flows to be designed more flexibly. In addition to concrete storage solutions and energy-efficiency measures, we are working on integrating solar process heat into the heat supply for industrial processes. The efficient conversion and transfer of thermal energy can make further contributions to the decarbonization of industrial processes. For this reason, efficient heat exchangers and the materials and components needed for them are a major subject of our research. Questions of humidification and dehumidification form the link to our work on water purification. In addition to preparing drinking water from seawater or brackish water, we are working increasingly on purifying or concentrating residual materials in industrial waste water. Fraunhofer ISE possesses profound expertise in materials science, component design, characterization and testing procedures, theoretical modelling and simulation, systems control and systems development. Furthermore, the Institute can draw on many years of experience from projects on applications in solar thermal power stations and in diverse industrial sectors.