Industrial Applications of Solar Radiation

Karl-Heinz Funken

German Aerospace Center, Institute of Solar Research, Department Facilities and Solar Materials, Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne, Germany




The lecture introduces the principles of solar thermal power production and solar process heat generation and outlines recent developments of its industrial implementation. The appropriate technologies address both increasing demands in power and industrial process heat on the one hand and huge markets in the said branches on the other hand. Industrial implementation achieved a multi-MW scale.

In addition to these thermal applications, in the long term future solar radiation may be used for the operation of chemical processes or for the production of commodities or fine chemicals either directly in photochemical conversions or indirectly in thermochemical or electrochemical processes. In the last two decades feasibilty of several solar chemical processes has been proven up to an engineering scale of several hundred kW. Some characteristic examples will be discussed in order to derive key challenges for r+d or eventual barriers that would conteract an industrial acceptance.