The THEMIS solar tower, built at the end of seventies to test at a 10 MWth scale the production of electricity from concentrated solar energy, is being refurbished and upgraded under PROMES-CNRS direction to study next generation high performance solar tower components and thermodynamic or thermochemical cycles at industrial prototype scale. The Pyrénées Orientales department council, the facility owner, organizes the site as an experimental platform for different solar technology for instance electricity production with PV cells on half of the original heliostats. The PROMES-CNRS operated plant provides industrial grade infrastructure, such as an external elevator to bring up to 25 metric tons loads to the focus. Up-to-date equipment is being installed: protected and secured network, water and air fluids, workshop... A new high performance high precision heliostats tracking system is being qualified to allow receiver temperatures beyond 900°C, still with low power consumption and low maintenance to accurately demonstrate real-world industrial-grade operating cost.

The THEMIS solar tower offers two experimental areas:

  • For the PEGASE project, the original large scale area is being prepared:
    • Power up to 4,6 MWth using all 107 PROMES-CNRS operated heliostats
    • Up to 3600 kW/m2 peak flux
    • 6,5m x 5m aperture
  • A new experimental area, "Mini Pegase" is being prepared for components qualification such as air solar receivers or other experiments:
    • Power up to 400 kWth with selected heliostats
    • Up to 600 kW/m2 peak flux
    • Hot pressurized air @ 8 bar, 1 kg/sec, 300 °C

Different instrumentation systems are available on site:

  • Solar flux qualification system with a 7 x 7 m target moveable near experimental areas
  • Weather (T°, P, Hr) and Solar radiations (DNI, DHI, GHI) continuous acquisition