INAOE | Optics | Concentration Solar Systems National Laboratory

Solar Concentration Systems and Solar Chemistry National Lab

This lab is being created through the “Complementary Supports for National Lab Creation with Scientific Infrastructure or Technological Development, CONACYT 2006”

People in charge of the project:

At the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) Energy Research Center: Ph.D. Claudio Estrada Gasca
At the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics: Ph.D. Sergio Vázquez y Montiel

INAOE Collaborators:

Ph.D. Fermín Granados Agustín
MsC. Jorge Pedraza Chávez
MsC. Víctor Manuel Cruz

The Solar Concentration Systems and Solar Chemistry National Lab (SCSNL and SC) has the following main objective:
To develop a National Lab with Infrastructure in concentration systems and solar chemistry formed by a network of research groups, with the purpose of making progress in technologies development, creating scientific and technological knowledge, as well as training high level human resources in this area. This can be achieved through the design and construction of three solar facilities.

Sub-project: Solar Oven with High Radioactive Flux

Sub-project’s objectives:

  • Take advantage of concentrated solar radiation and carry out basic and applied research and technological development, with the purpose of dealing in industrial processes.
  • Contribute to technology development for the production of electrical power through thermosolar energy.
  • Supply a lab where the following activities can be done: design, test, analyze, produce new materials, sintering or compound degradation.
  • Create new fuels with a low environmental impact (such as hydrogen).
  • Provide services for: research institutions, Universities, Industrial fields like: Chemistry, ceramics, Metal-Mechanics, Blast furnaces and Electrics (among others).


Expected Results:


  • A system of solar concentration as a scientific and technological research instrument with high solar radioactive flux (30 kWt and 12 000 soles).
  • Alignment and calibration methodologies of optical, mechanical and electronic systems of the HSAFR.
  • Materials studies: thermophysical properties, malfunctions, accelerated aging, processing and manufacture of advanced materials such as: metallic ceramics, fullerenes and carbon nanotubes.
  • Study of toxic materials: industrial, organic and hospital materials.
  • Development of thermochemical reactors, for decomposing water and hydrogen production.
  • To begin using the Stirling electric generator and transform concentrated solar power into electric power.

Subproject: Solar Plant for Photocatalytic Treatment of Residual Water

Subproject’s objectives:

  • Develop environmentally friendly technology for residual water treatment through heterogeneous photocatalysis.
  • Design, construct and begin operating a plant for photocatalytic residual water treatment.
  • Synthesize photocatalytic materials for degradation processes.
  • Develop theoretical and experimental models for solar energy use in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum.
  • Carry out studies to reduce technology related costs.
  • Provide technological transfer services to related problem areas in the agricultural, industrial, tourism and energies sectors.

Expected Results:

  • A solar plant for photocatalytic degradation and for testing: reactors, materials and pollutants (that require degradation).
  • A lab for in-situ characterization of photocatalytic degradation processes.
  • Catalytic devices with different types of solar concentrators and reactors.
  • A lab for photocatalytic nanostructured materials’ synthesis and characterization.
  • Create transferable prototypes (to an industry or other sectors).


Subproject: Heliostat field testing and research

Subproject’s objectives:

  • Design, construct and start operations of heliostat field for testing.
  • Develop acquisition systems, data processing, monitoring and control for heliostat field’s operation.
  • Develop methodologies for alignment and calibration of the heliostat field’s optic, mechanic and electronic systems.
  • Develop (captured) image calibration methodologies with CCD devices through the use of radiometers and calorimeters.
  • Develop tools for design, simulation and optimization of solar plant components with central tower power.
  • Transfer the developed heliostat technology to industries.

Expected Results:

  • A test field for heliostats, for power generating systems with central tower power made up of: a tower structure, a control room and a heliostat field
  • Installation of heliostats, adjustment and operations testing.
  • Provide instrumentation for the control room and install an experiment visualization system.
  • Design the instrumentation system -both contact and non-contact- within the focal zone with infrared cameras and CCD’s.
  • Installation of DAS systems and a meteorological station.
  • Methodologies for adjustment, operation and optical characterization of the heliostat field.
  • Methodologies for heliostat evaluation.

SCSNL and SC fields of impact:

Scientific Impact: The lab will allow the creation of new basic knowledge to be applied in the solar concentration area and in that industry’s needs.
Technological Impact: With this lab, the development of new technologies will be possible mainly in the fast growing solar concentration field in Mexico.
Economic Impact: The lab will support the development of the Mexican solar concentration industry.
Environmental Impact: The lab will support the use of renewable technologies that are environmentally sustainable.
Social Impact: Technologies developed in our lab will contribute in solving health and employment problems, among others.


Last Update:
17-11-2008 a las 19:27 by

Address: Luis Enrique Erro # 1, Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico | Tel: (222) 247.29.40 | Contact: | Fax: 247.29.40


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