Launch of Strategic Research Agenda for Solar Thermal Electricity setting out R&D plans towards 2025

ESTELA, the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association, has launched its first Strategic Research Agenda, which is highly welcomed and considered by the DG for Research & Innovation of the European Commission.

Since its creation in 2007, ESTELA has developed its scientific and technical activities supporting research and innovation and establishing priorities in short and long-term in order to foster the market penetration of solar thermal power plants and to consolidate the leadership of European industry at world level. ESTELA’s R&D activity has been carried out by combining the expertise of the industry and the knowledge of the main European research institutions active in the field of solar thermal electricity (STE).

In this time of growing concern for future investment, a research strategy for STE is necessary and inevitable to set up the baselines for the present and future research on STE technology until 2025.

The SRA is the most in-depth analysis to date of the research requirements of the STE sector, and is based on one year of work, collaboration and discussions by the Scientific and Technical Committee of ESTELA, which constituted by ten highly qualified researchers and experts in Europe.
This publication comes at the right moment for mainly two reasons: first of all, the economic and financial crisis calls for more innovative efforts and a mid- and long-term vision; and secondly, ESTELA should contribute to the Union’s debate on the programmes to support research, demonstration and innovation in the framework of the financial perspectives for the period 2014-2020. “This Strategic Research Agenda provides a vision for the development of the sector in the years to come and highlights priorities and areas for cooperation,” addressed Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for DG Research and Innovation, in his Preface to the SRA. “This document will be of use to the sector to contribute to the discussion on the forthcoming Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon 2020.”
The STE research priority topics encompass the four main STE technologies, Parabolic Troughs Collectors, Central Receiver, Linear Fresnel Reflectors and Dish Stirling Systems, with a dedicated chapter for cross-cutting issues, as well as some chapters attributed to what make the asset of solar thermal electricity stand out among other technologies: storage, hybridisation and international standards, since an efficient and concrete reduction of costs is not possible without their proper implementation.