The European Hiflex project, financed by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 programme, aims to run a pasta factory by continuously feeding it with renewable sources. Eleven partners from different countries, including Sugimat, are part of this project.
The initiative will develop a flexible CSP pilot plant with ceramic particles to supply one of Barilla’s factories, in Foggia (Italy). The thermal storage system will operate at temperatures of around 700°C and is expected to provide 2.5 times the energy storage density at 50% lower energy storage costs.
HiFlex’s high temperature particle system requires a customised steam generator design. Sugimat will be responsible for its manufacture. This will take into account various factors such as the temperature reached inside the exchanger, the thermal conductivity coefficient and density, among others.
The starting point of the pilot plant is a solar tower power plant. About 500 moving mirrors, called heliostats, will focus the sun’s rays on a point at the top of the tower, where a special solar receiver will absorb the concentrated solar radiation. One-millimetre ceramic particles will flow through the receiver. The solar energy will heat them to temperatures of up to 1000°C. This heat energy can be used to generate steam for energy production or to produce industrial process heat. The plant will also be able to provide power at night. Large heat-insulated containers will be able to store the hot particles and pass the heat on when needed.
Once the particles have released their heat and cooled down, they will be transferred to a second tank and then transported back to the receiver and reheated. On cloudy days the particles could be heated by renewable wind, solar or biogas.