Masdar, Tokyo Institute, Cosmo Oil partner to develop solar thermal 'beam down' technology
Source: BI-ME and WAM , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Sun December 23, 2007 12:00 am

UAE. Masdar, Abu Dhabi's hub for clean future energy solutions, and Japan's Cosmo Oil Co on Monday signed a contract with the Tokyo Institute of Technology to research and develop solar tower 'beam down' technology, an advanced solar thermal process that offers lower electricity generation costs and higher efficiency.

The signing took place in the presence of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda at the later's residency.

The partnership involves a commitment to joint research and the exchange of scientific information.

Masdar, Abu Dhabi's multi-billion dollar, multi-dimensional response to the global need for alternative sources of energy, and Cosmo will each invest several million dollars in the beam-down research programme, paving the way for substantial technology transfer and the acquisition of intellectual property.

The beam-down project will be overseen by the Masdar Research Network, the international research and development arm of Masdar.

The network, together with industry partners, funds international energy research in collaboration with leading global scientific institutions, including the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Germany's Aachen University, the Imperial College London, Columbia University in New York, the University of Waterloo in Canada, CIEMAT in Spain and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

CEO of Masdar Dr Sultan Al Jaber said: "The partnership is an important step forward in its relationship with the world's leading research institutions, and in Abu Dhabi's efforts to create expertise and jobs in renewable energy and bring technology to the region.

"Through Masdar, Abu Dhabi is extending its energy leadership to finding, developing and delivering clean energy solutions. The Masdar Research Network is a vital part of our mission, one that gives us access to the best thinking worldwide in renewable energy," he said.

"The Tokyo Institute of Technology offers truly world-class expertise in engineering, technology and environmental research, and Masdar is proud to be its partner," he added.

Solar thermal technology, a key research area for the Masdar Research Network, converts solar energy into electricity via a system of mirrors and turbines.

The solar beam-down technology proposed by Professor Yutaka Tamaura of the Tokyo Institute of Technology moves beyond existing commercial parabolic trough systems and the newer wave of solar towers.

Existing solar tower technologies, capable of much higher temperatures and higher levels of power generation than trough systems, use an array of mirrors to direct sun rays onto a receiver at the top of a central tower.

This receiver or heat exchanger converts the solar energy into hot compressed air, which is used to drive turbines at ground level.

The beam-down design inverts this process by placing the receiver at the bottom of the tower, offering additional efficiency and reduced costs while retaining the high yield of solar thermal power plants.

As part of the research agreement, a 100kW beam-down pilot plant will be built in Abu Dhabi by the end of 2008.

President of Tokyo Institute of Technology Dr Kenichi Iga said: "Tokyo Tech?s solar tower beam-down technology is recognised as one of the world-class technologies in this area. Through this research project with Masdar, we hope to contribute significantly to the world's future energy supply and help train more researchers." Yaichi Kimura, President of Cosmo Oil Co, said the company's investment in the project is part of its long-term planning.

"Our involvement is an investment in the future and solar energy has the potential to play a major role in our non-oil business. Cosmo Oil has established a very close relationship with the UAE, especially with the emirate of Abu Dhabi, through mutual cooperation in education, culture, the environment and oil-related businesses for nearly 40 years."

The solar tower beam-down project is one of several international collaborations in solar energy, water technologies and carbon management planned by the Masdar Research Network.

The Masdar Research Network, Cosmo Oil Co and the Tokyo Institute of Technology will participate in the inaugural World Future Energy Summit, a global forum on renewable energy to be hosted by Masdar in Abu Dhabi from 21-23 January 2008.



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