PROJECT “HIGH TEMPERATURES SOLAR FURNACES FOR R & D”

Objective

This project aims at promoting a better use of solar energy for small and middle size enterprises (SMEs), particularly in rural areas and small islands. The project is to install high temperature solar furnaces (up to 3000°C) for multiple uses by SMEs and R & D. Their energy conversion efficiency is very high (60 to 70%).

These technological platforms generate local jobs, supports sales of these enterprises and promotes associated scientific tourism. It includes training and actions to ensure lasting results.

Thermosolar energy is used locally, with solidarity and devolution in mind, and with economic, environmental and social benefits, in support of visible and tangible sustainable development results.

Description

The project aims at installing high temperatures solar furnaces for SMEs, particularly in rural areas and small islands. For instance in French oversea territories, island States in the Caribbean sea and in the Indian ocean, and in Africa. Islands and island States are highly concerned with climate change and sea level rise, and also depend on costly imports of energy by sea (for oil, coal and gas). In many developing countries, rural areas are often away from energy supply, including from electricity grids.

This project includes material, their transport, furnace construction and actions to ensure lasting results (e.g. maintenance, training of trainers). It is expected that this project will have a leverage effect, thanks to supplementary territorial financing and actions. The next phase would then extend to other rural areas and small islands, public-private financing, including microcredit.

The project is to be conducted in partnership with NGOs and national and territorial authorities of the receiving countries (e.g. ministries of SMEs, of development, village chiefs) and in consultation with relevant authorities and embassies.

Accumulated experience

This project benefits of the considerable experience accumulated in Cerdagne (France) concerning solar energy in general, and solar furnaces and their non polluting uses in particular. High temperatures techniques (in areas such as waste management, pottery and ceramics, metallurgy, production of precious stones, bakery products) are fully mastered (Annex 1). Their management was validated with the production with solar concentration of objects and their sale as well as visits for scientific tourism and for adult and children education. This management is also recognized by its integration in tourism territorial and national development programs.

Sustainable development: multiple economic, environmental and social benefits

The project contributes to sustainable development through its economic, environmental and social benefits:

  • Economic benefits include job creation and a good benefit-cost ratio, thanks to reduced use of fossil fuels (oil, coal, wood, gas) replaced by free and renewable solar energy, to high energy efficiency and to tourism and scientific uses. Furnaces are off-grid.
  • Environmental benefits concern several local and international issues: recycling and reuse of materials such as common and rare metals; climate change, with reduced use of fossil fuels; biodiversity, with reduced use of wood and deforestation; soil protection and prevention of erosion.
  • Social benefits include job creation, health benefits, partnership.

This project responds to sustainable development and green economy concerns, which are at the very heart of the recent Rio+20 Summit.