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Open Access SOLAR-ERA.NET, ERA-NET on Solar Electricity for the Implementation of the Solar Europe Industry Initiative, FP7

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The goal of SOLAR-ERA.NET is to undertake joint strategic planning, programming and activities for RTD and innovation in the area of solar electricity generation, i.e. photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP). Joint activities, namely joint calls, are defined for key topics and priorities in accordance with the Solar Europe Industrial Initiative (SEII) based on the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan and its related Implementation Plans for PV and CSP.

The network's activities will primarily involve the launching of joint calls for RTD proposals by national and regional RTD and innovation programmes. In order to define and support best joint activities, strategic information exchange and use of implementation tools will be carried out among the network participants and associates from key stakeholder groups. As the largest European network ever - with 19 partners from 18 countries and regions - in the solar power field, SOLAR-ERA.NET will involve more than 20 RTD and innovation programmes dealing with PV and CSP. This high level of involvement of most relevant stakeholders will provide excellent outreach and coordination needed for an efficient and coherent approach in the highly diverse and versatile RTD landscape. The EC funding (for the ERA-NET project) shall be multiplied by a factor of 50 in the form of joint calls. These joint calls for RTD and innovation topics in PV and CSP shall result in a total funding volume by the participating programmes of at least 50 MEUR. Assuming an average leverage factor of associated funding by industry and research of 2,5, this shall lead to the mobilisation of at least 125 MEUR in joint projects. SOLAR-ERA.NET will thus contribute to reach the objectives of the SEII, namely boosting the development of the PV and CSP sector beyond “business-as-usual”, and of the ERA-NET, namely enhancing cooperation between the national/regional programming stakeholders at European level.

The REslag project is aligned with the challenges outlined in the call WASTE-1-2014: Moving towards a circular economy through industrial symbiosis of the European Horizon 2020 programme. In 2010, the European steel industry generated, as waste, about 21.8 Mt of steel slag. The 76 % of the slag was recycled in applications such as aggregates for construction or road materials, but these sectors were unable to absorb the total amount of produced slag. The remaining 24 % was landfilled (2.9 Mt) or self-stored (2.3 Mt).

The landfilled slag represents a severe environmental problem. The main aim of REslag is to prove that there are industrial sectors able to make an effective use of the 2.9 Mt/y of landfilled slag, if properly supported by the right technologies. In making this prof, the REslag project will also prove that there are other very important environmental benefits coming from an active use of the slag in industrial processes, as CO2 saving (up to 970 kton/year from the renewable concentrated solar power (CSP) electricity production, at least 71 kg/ton of produced steel in the electric arc furnace steel mills provided an effective waste heat recovery based on the steel slag), and elimination of negative impacts associated with mining (from the recovery of valuable metals and from the production of ceramic materials). To achieve this ambitious goal, four large-scale demonstration Pilot systems are considered in the REslag project:

• Pilot 1: High value and critical metal extraction from slag. The recovery of metallic raw materials, such as Cr, Mn and others is one of the European Commission priorities for better exploitation of the available resources.

• Pilot 2: Development of a slag-based cost effective heat recovery concept in extensive thermal energy demanding industries, such as the steel production activity.

• Pilot 3: Development of an economic and technically improved steel slag based heat storage concept for the renewable concentrated solar power (CSP) production. • Pilot 4: Production of innovative refractory ceramic compounds. The inclusion of the steel slag as an aggregate in innovative refractory recipes will decrease the overall cost of the produced material without any interference on the required material performance.

All these demonstrations will be led by a well-balanced project consortium conformed by leading industries and also research centres and universities involved on the European material, energetic efficiency and technological scenario.
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Keywords: CSP; Critical metal recovery ; FP7; H2020; Industrial waste heat recovery; RESLAG; Refractory production; Renewable energy; SOLAR-ERA.NET; SPIRE; Solar electricity; Solar power; Steel slag; Thermal energy; Thermal energy storage; Thermal energy storage in CSP; Waste; by-product reuse; circular economy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2017

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