June 12, 2024

DAWN construction update: mirror field installed

The heliostat field is installed, and the construction phase of plant DAWN is completed. Synhelion is proceeding with its effort to commission plant DAWN and will soon start solar fuel production.

In late 2022, Synhelion broke ground on its first industrial-scale demonstration plant DAWN, located in Jülich, Germany. In 2023 and 2024, plant DAWN was under construction. Simultaneously, Synhelion began commissioning DAWN in late 2023. Now that the mirror field is installed, the construction phase of plant DAWN is completed.

At plant DAWN, Synhelion demonstrates its Sun-to-Liquid technology for the first time on industrial scale. The technology uses concentrated solar radiation for the thermochemical production of synthetic fuels. The solar thermal energy is generated with mirrors, also called heliostats, and a solar receiver. The heliostats follow the sun, reflect its radiation, and concentrate it directly onto the solar receiver at the top of the tower. Synhelion’s in-house developed heliostat design is optimized for generating high-temperature process heat. The drive and control systems combine high precision, durability, and cost-efficiency. The ultra-thin mirrors are bent into the optimal shape, which allows us to achieve outstanding accuracy and minimal deviation when targeting the receiver. This precision ensures optimal performance and helps to maximize the energy yield throughout the lifetime of the plant. To optimize the calibration of the heliostats, Synhelion has developed an AI-based method using drones. This allows to speed up the calibration process by more than 200 times compared to the traditional camera-target method.

“The installation of the heliostat field was the final step in the construction of DAWN,” says Philipp Good, CTO of Synhelion. “Now we will inaugurate plant DAWN and continue with the ongoing commissioning of the plant to start fuel production.”

DAWN is a crucial step in Synhelion’s strategy to scale up its solar fuel technology, as with this plant, we demonstrate the robustness of the Sun-to-Liquid technology at industrial scale.

The inauguration event for plant DAWN will take place in June 2024. Fuels from DAWN will be used in showcases throughout the transportation sector to demonstrate the importance of sustainable fuels in the energy transition. Future solar fuel plants, such as Synhelion’s commercial solar fuel plant in Spain, will exceed the size of DAWN and offer significantly higher production capacity.

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