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Thu 14 Jan 2010 02:51 PM

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Masdar launches R&D solar initiative

The project's 'beam down' technology has potential to revolutionise the future of solar towers.

Masdar launches R&D solar initiative
SOLAR POWER: the project will test ‘beam down’ technology. (Supplied)

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar has joined forces with Japan’s Cosmo Oil Company and the Tokyo Institute of Technology to launch an advanced concentrated solar power (CSP) research and development project.

Also involving the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), the project will test ‘beam down’ technology, which places a receiver at the base, rather than the top of a tower, thus eliminating the need to pump water higher.

This method has the potential to convert solar irradiation into electricity in a more efficient way.  

“The initial project findings have been very positive and if the results continue to be successful, ‘beam down’ technology has the potential to revolutionise the way in which all solar towers are built in the future,” said Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar

The news comes as around 160 solar companies – including Suntech, Azur Solar and SolarOne - are signed up to take part in next week’s World Future Energy Summit, held in the UAE capital.

Alongside the exhibition, there will also be a dedicated session on advanced solar technologies.

The high number of firms reflects the good health of the solar power sector, which is forecast to grow by 46 percent this year.

A 2006 report by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association and Greenpeace indicated that solar energy could provide 2.5 percent of the world’s electricity by 2025, potentially rising to 16 percent by 2040.   

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