General Info
Parabolic trough
Research & Development
Start date: 
April, 2004
Casaccia, Rome

Solar field

Number of SCAs: 
Number of loops: 
General comments:

Info from SFERA:

ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment is a public undertaking operating in the fields of energy, the environment and new technologies to support competitiveness and sustainable development.

The Progetto Solare Termodinamico (SOLTERM-ENEA), groups any activities performed in ENEA concerning Concentrating Solar Energy. It was established in the year 2000 and since that time it has gained specific experience in several fields within the sector, such as storage media, which is considered one of the main issues for electricity generation cost reduction. SOLTERM offers a consolidated molten salt trough platform on which the more critical components and procedures may be tested under real operating conditions.

The services offered cover all aspects of the molten salt technology ranging from materials compatibility tests to high-temperature efficiency tests. The SOLTERM experience in this field is internationally known and guarantees the best effort in such problems. Users will find SOLTERM experts, scientists and technicians who will help them to take maximum scientific advantage of the facilities.

SOLTERM is located in the Casaccia Research Centre, one of the largest public research centres in Europe

Furthermore, visiting scientists could benefit from a large number of pre- and posttest services such as weather chambers for accelerated ageing, materials analysis instrumentation, etc.

The facilities offered for solar research at SOLTERM are:

  • Prova Colletori Solari (PCS) : The PCS facility is the main SOLTERM unit test loop and is unique in the world. It consist of two rows of high-temperature parabolic trough collectors using a binary component salt (60% of Sodium nitrate and 40% of Potassium nitrate) as the heat transfer fluid for operation up to 550°C. In operation since 2004, it is made up of a fully instrumented (flow rate,pressures, temperatures, etc.) closed loop with molten salt storage (5 m3 useful volume), electric heaters and salt-to-air heat exchanger.
    Its goal is to test all the main components and procedures of a molten salt solar field under real operating conditions: parabolic solar collector (including supporting structure, mirrors, tracking and driving systems and heat collecting elements), molten salt components (circulation pumps, sensors, valves, preheating systems) and operation and maintenance procedures (control loops, draining and filling procedures, etc.).
    Dynamic model of the PCS circuit is now available.
  • Molten Salt Dynamic Corrosion (MOSE): The MOSE facility covers experimental needs related to materials characterisation with respect to their behaviour with molten salt. It is suitable for dynamic corrosion testing and any other durability testing of steel, seals, or weldings. The experimental results provided by this facility could be useful for proper engineering of molten salt devices such as heat collecting elements, heat exchangers, pumps, valves, storage tanks, etc