The main objective of the SOLPART project is to develop, at a pilot scale, a high temperature (800-1000°C) 24h/day solar process suitable for particle treatment in energy intensive non-metallic minerals’ industries.

Hence, the challenges of the project are to demonstrate a pilot scale solar reactor suitable for e.g calcium carbonate decomposition (Calcination reaction: CaCO3 = CaO + CO2) and to simulate at prototype scale a 24h/day industrial process (TRL 4-5) thereby requiring a high temperature transport and storage system. The solar test site of the project is CNRS-PROMES (Figure 1) solar facilities.



The SOLPART project aims to develop and implement, for the first time at a pilot scale, a high temperature (800-1000°C) 24h/day solar process suitable for reactive particle thermal treatment in energy intensive non-metallic minerals’ industries, such as cement, lime, phosphate or clay processing. These industries, which are the second biggest energy consumers and CO2 emitter (behind the power industry), need the major part of their energy input as heat that is currently provided by combustion. Hence, the project challenges will be to demonstrate that solar energy can provide this process heat in a continuous mode including particle high temperature transport and storage systems.


Work packages and Expected Results


Assessment of technologies for solar particle processing and storage at high temperature (HT)

  • Options for solid-gas reaction and solar reactors with respect to industrial constraints
  • Indicators for selection of the suitable solar reactor
  • Specifications for HT storage of particles


Lab scale development and testing of 800-1000°C solar reactors

  • Performances measurement of new concepts (e.g. temperature, durability, integratability)
  • Identification of technological issues
  • Choice of a solar reactor design to be scaled up to pilot level


Development of HT storage and handling technologies for reactive particles

  • Particle transport and storage design
  • Construction and first testing of systems
  • Safety check and definition of detailed usage rules


Design, construction and implementation of the pilot scale solar unit

  • Detailed design, construction and assembly of system
  • Cold testing of the complete loop including solar reactor, transport and storage


Testing and performance evaluation of the pilot solar unit

  • Demonstration of 800-1000°C on-sun operation of the solar reactors
  • Demonstration of the storage capacity
  • Several days (5) of continuous operation
  • Gas and solid products analysis


Environmental life cycle assessment of the solar process and comparison to the standard technology

  • Detailed calculation of the emission reduction
  • Calculation of the environmental footprint change of the final product due to the solar process (with and without flue gas capture option)


Plant integration, scaling up, economic and risk assessment of the solar process

  • Full process flow sheet
  • Design studies
  • Process sizing
  • Business case (incl. CAPEX and OPEX costs)
  • Evaluate the risks and measures to mitigate them


Communication, dissemination and exploitation

  • Exploitation plan
  • Communication and dissemination strategy



  • Project objectives achievement


“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654663, SOLPART project.”