The intense solar rays in the North African desert provide great opportunities for the generation of electricity. The most promising of these is the conversion of sunlight to energy by solar thermic power plants. This method is highly efficient, and by using heat storage the power plants can also produce electricity during the night.
In cooperation with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne, the Federal Foreign Office is promoting, to the tune of over 4 million euro, the identification of suitable sites and the technical optimization of power plants being planned or already under construction. Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco are the target countries for this three-year project, named “UniSolar”, which was agreed this week in support of the Union for the Mediterranean’s Solar Plan.
Another of UniSolar’s focuses is the transfer of knowhow to research institutes, universities, companies, experts, engineering offices and energy suppliers. Education measures, training and workshops will enable local experts to get hands-on experience of the high precision required by solar thermic power station technology. At the same time there will be great scope for cooperation for German industry in this field.