EDF’s R&D division is engaged in a joint thermodynamic solar research programme in China. This cooperative venture with the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEE-CAS), via the EDF R&D Centre in Beijing, focuses on research work and innovation initiatives conducted at a dedicated thermodynamic solar technology facility at Badaling.
This new type of power plant aims to make solar energy more available. Located near Beijing, its array of heliostat solar collectors (mirrors) focuses the sun's rays onto a receptor mounted on a 108-metre tower! The solar collectors are arranged in an arc at the foot of the tower to capture the sun's rays and reflect them to the receptor.
The heat generated by concentrating solar radiation in this way can be used to generate electricity, and the system can remain at high temperatures for several hours – even under heavy cloud cover. The power plant also has an energy storage facility to keep the system running for one hour. This project explores how to make electricity generation more consistent given the inherently intermittent nature of solar energy.