ASU & AORA Solar Forge Research Partnership on Tempe Campus

March 19, 2014

I had the pleasure of seeing AORA Solar and its CSP Tulip system two years ago when it was unveiled in Almeria, Spain. I have been waiting for the day when this exciting renewable energy platform might be tested in the United States. In an interview, CEO Zev Rosenzweig told me the company wanted to test in America as part of its long-range planning. Now the company is ready to lay down CSP roots in Tempe at the ASU campus. We look forward to reporting more good news concerning AORA Solar.

Please read the new announcement below.

Arizona State University and AORA Solar NA announce a collaboration that will begin the development of a hybrid concentrated solar system on the Tempe campus 
that employs a Solar Tulip to concentrate the sun’s energy, turning it into electricity.

Solar generated electricity, which can suffer from intermittency issues and related impacts on the grid, is about to blossom at Arizona State University. Work will now begin on the development of a hybrid concentrated solar system, following a contract signing with ASU and AORA to provide research expertise in order to enhance the efficiency of this unique technology.

ASU and AORA image003

Left to right: Gary Dirks, director of ASU LightWorks, Zev Rosenzweig, CEO of AORA Solar and John Riley, associate vice president of university business services and sustainability operations officer.

AORA Solar NA, a U.S. company, will work with a multi-disciplinary ASU team to research options to increase efficiency, improve reliability, utilize the exhaust heat and decrease the cost of this Israeli developed technology. AORA will construct the demonstration power plant, which includes a tower (approximately 100 feet high) appropriately called the Solar Tulip, on undeveloped land near the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. The technology includes a collection of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays to heat compressed air to more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and drive a gas turbine. The rated output of the Tulip system is 100 kilowatts of electricity and an additional 170 kilowatts of thermal energy, about enough energy to power between 60-80 homes.

At night, or when overcast, the Tulip can use a wide range of fuels to heat the air and is thereby able to produce power and heat round the clock. The system is modular in design, allowing for multiple Tulips to work together, enabling the technology to match growing electric demand requirements. The relatively small footprint makes this system a potentially perfect complement to housing developments, or industrial parks, and offers an option to enhance grid stability in the presence of transient renewable generation.

“ASU is a natural partner for us, not only because of its sunny location, but b