The Masdar Institute Solar Platform (MISP) allows for concentrating solar power (CSP) and thermal energy storage (TES) technologies to be developed on a wider scale by providing access to high- performance CSP research and demonstration infrastructure.
Initially built in 2009 as a demonstration plant by Masdar and a Japanese consortium (Tokyo Tech, Mitsui Engineering, Cosmo Oil, and Konica Minolta), the facility has been significantly modified and extended by Masdar Institute, now part of Khalifa University, in 2014 to become a user research facility also valued by industry and capable of testing large scale TES units up to 500 kWh storage capacity.
A 20-meter-high tower is surrounded by a solar field of 33 heliostat mirrors in three concentric rings which adjust their angle to track the movement of the sun while directing the reflected light to the top of the tower.
Lining the top of the tower is a 45-mirror array which redirects the light from the heliostats towards a receiver at the tower’s base.
The facility is being used to test reflector technologies, solar receiver, absorber tubes, heat transfer fluids, mirrors, thermal energy storage systems and a variety of components used in the CSP industry.
Located in Masdar City and operated by the Masdar Institute in conjunction with Masdar as part of the Masdar Solar Hub, the Masdar Institute Solar Platform offers a valuable resource to equipment manufacturers, system integrators and installers, project developers, utility companies, investors, private end users, research organizations, and the public.
The facility is pushing the boundaries by being multipurpose, modular and the first one of its kind worldwide, bringing new unique capabilities to the UAE.
In January 2020, Khalifa University and Wahaj Solar (Wahaj Investment L.L.C) installed Wahaj Solar’s patented solar concentrator prototype at MISP.
Wahaj installed its ASC-10 model, a high-temperature CSP system that can supply clean electricity on-demand, and clean heat and steam for solar fuels and industry. It consists of a high-flux solar furnace, measuring 10 meters in diameter. The metallic reflector-based giant Fresnel lens can concentrate sunlight to intensities of 1,000 suns, producing temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius.
The Masdar Institute Solar Platform at KU is dedicated to testing and verifying new solar technologies like Wahaj Solar’s concentrator to bring game-changing innovations in solar energy to the market.
Following a research project conducted during 2018-2019 at laboratory scale called Suntrap, Khalifa University, Masdar, and Azelio AB (Sweden) signed a new research collaborative agreement in September 2019 to install Azelio’s electrical thermal energy storage system at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform in summer 2020.
The innovative system utilizes recycled aluminum used as a phase change material (PCM) to store electricity or heat as thermal energy and can be applied to renewable energy in general (photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), or wind) or to excess grid electricity. A Stirling engine can convert this stored heat into electricity on demand. The pilot will be installed at MISP. It will be charged using clean electricity from PV panels and will produce 50 kW of electricity at night to power the Masdar Park.
Direct absorption volumetric molten salt receiver/storage in collaboration with MIT (Boston, USA)
In this CSPonD Demo project, a new concept of direct absorption molten salt solar receiver combined with the storage unit is demonstrated for the first time worldwide at pre-commercial scale. The Masdar Institute Solar Platform was a unique place to test this new technology which will have a significant impact on decreasing the cost of solar systems and increasing their efficiency.
High-temperature concrete storage testing in collaboration with EnergyNest A.S. (Norway)
The EnergyNest prototype built in collaboration with the EnergyNest Company and currently under operation at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform, is the first large scale pilot in the world demonstrating the Heatcrete® technology. It is also the first high temperature concrete storage system ever built in the UAE. This demonstration at the pre-commercial scale will enable this start-up company penetrating the CSP market with a versatile and cost-effective solution leading to much cheaper CSP plants in the close future. More than 280 cycles have been performed with success since November 2015 which makes of this technology a proven solution.
New lightweight silicon carbide (SiC) mirrors testing in collaboration with Ibiden Co., Ltd. (Japan) & Masdar
The new Silicon Carbide coated mirrors developed by IBIDEN were tested at the Solar Platform from August 2014 to December 2015.
The advantages of these innovative mirrors are:
The new mirrors will lead to significant cost savings on support structure as well as maintenance (lower or even no water use). This Japanese Technology was tested in the UAE thanks to the Masdar Institute Solar Platform to be adapted to local climate conditions. The new product was launched at the last World Future Energy Summit 2015 in Abu Dhabi.