The SOLSTICE Laboratory of excellence

Presentation of the “laboratory of excellence” SOLSTICE (Solar Energy: Science, Technology and Innovation for Energy Conversion)

SOLSTICE project (Solar Energy: Science, Technology and Innovation for Energy Conversion) aims at creating the National R&D reference and one of the two European leading groups on concentrating solar energy including all the aspects of the conversion processes: solar thermal electricity (STE or CSP), concentrated photovoltaic (CPV), solar fuels, process heat for solid processing and one of the key teams on innovative solar processes for low temperature uses in building, for PV thin film processing and for photo-chemical treatment of polluted water (organic pollutants).

SOLSTICE project coordinates the research and education efforts of about 200 persons from four laboratories and research teams: PROMES (CNRS, leading lab), S2N (team of UPVD), COSEE-IES (team of UM2) and EE-RAPSODEE (team of EMAC). The main contributions of each partner may be summarized as follows:
PROMES: concentrating solar systems (CSP, CSF, CPV, high temperature materials and large scale concentrating solar facilities), thin film processing for PV cells, solar thermal energy for building heating and cooling and solar photochemistry;
S2N: light matter interaction at nano-scale for applications to new PV concepts;
COSEE-IES: Solar cells and systems for high concentration photovoltaic;
EE-RAPSODEE: radiation modeling, synthetic fuels from biomass, solid waste treatment and valorization.

The scientific project of SOLTICE labex is centered on solar energy conversion and valorization by both thermal and photonic systems.
It includes five (5) main research fields that address the following questions (objectives): (1) How to increase efficiency and to reduce cost of solar energy conversion into electricity or useful heat and coldness using both thermal and photovoltaic systems? (2) What is the next generation of materials that can achieve high temperature operations without damages? (3) How to produce synthetic fuels using solar energy and renewable resource of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen? (4) Can solar energy help reducing pollution, recycling wastes and processing commodity materials without environmental impacts? (5) How process optimization can contribute achieving the goals of the previous topics?
The five domains corresponding to research projects are:

  1. High efficiency and low cost conversion processes of solar energy
  2. Ultra high temperature materials for next generation of CSP plants
  3. Synthetic fuels from solar energy
  4. Solar eco-technologies
  5. Solar systems optimization

The education project includes the Perpignan University (UPVD), the Montpellier University (UM2) and the Albi-Carmaux school of engineering (EMAC). The main targets are the following:

  • To graduate 30 PhD per year,
  • To graduate 200 master (including engineering schools) students per year,
  • To graduate 15 European master per year,
  • To graduate 100 Bachelors per year,

in the domains of the SOLSTICE lab project.

Exploitation of results includes, Scientific Communication, Patents, Links with the competitiveness cluster DERBI (Development of Renewable Energy in Building and Industry), Creation of spin-offs, Social, industrial and economic impact in the field of CSP (12 billion € and approximately 100,000 jobs), IP rules.

The governance is based on four action levels: Proposition (research, education and innovation teams), consultation (Project councils), decision (Management Council and Strategy Committee) and execution (project responsible).

Gilles Flamant coordinates the project that is supported by CNRS, UPVD, UM2 and EMAC.