INIESC - National Research Infrastructure in Solar Energy Concentration



INIESC is focused on thermal conversion of solar energy at medium/high temperatures, and aims at the development of solar energy concentration technologies.

INIESC integrates two institutions: the University of Évora (UEvora) and the National Laboratory for Energy and Geology (LNEG)-comprising in their respective Solar Energy units the most significant expertise and infrastructures available in Portugal in this field; it is likely and desirable that others will join in the future.

Integrating the most prominent European R&D initiatives in the management of these infrastructures, the establishment of INIESC enables an ideal framework for the activities already in progress by both partners at computational (modeling and system simulation), laboratorial (materials and solar fuels), infrastructural (solar concentrators testing bench, solar concentrator collector fields with molten salts as HTF and heat storage fluid, technological development of line-focus Fresnel and other concepts) and capacity building (full academic offer) levels.


Not neglecting important complementary technologies (e.g. storage), and the importance of capacity building in the training of new researchers and professionals, the scientific objectives of INIESC are focused on the following topics:

  • To develop new line-focus and point-focus concentrators addressing specific applications;
  • To standardize concentrators testing and concentrator field testing conditions, through new optical and thermal characterization experimental procedures;
  • To assess and demonstrate medium temperature applications (process heat, desalination, cooling, combined heat and power applications);
  • To engineer and control solar plants with new concentrators and advanced heat transfer fluids and storage concepts;
  • To assess and demonstrate high temperature applications (CSP, solar fuels, waste treatment, new materials);
  • To develop and test new materials and components for high temperature applications;
  • To propose and study new energy storage (thermal, thermochemical and electric) concepts with different materials and applications in mind.

Action Plan

The 6 years Action Plan (AP) defined for INIESC is built around 8 strategic areas (A), each of them oriented to the development of innovative solutions, tackling identified needs of both the industry and the market.

A1  - Solar concentrators for thermal conversion of solar radiation (Leader: Univ Évora)

A2  - Standardized methods and experimental testing of solar concentrators (Leader: Univ Évora)

A3  - Solar Energy Storage (Leader: Univ Évora)

A4  - Solar Fuels (Leader: LNEG - UTCAE)

A5  - Applications and system demonstration (Leader: LNEG - UES)

A6  - Solar materials and components (Leader: LNEG - UES)

A7  - Promotion and dissemination (Leader: LNEG - UES)

A8  - Training and Capacity building (Leader: Univ Évora)


  • UE- SOLARIS - "European Distributed Large Scale Research Infrastructure for CST technologies", FP7 Grant Agreement 312.833.
  • STAGE-STE – Scientific and Technological Alliance for Guaranteeing the European Excellence in Concentrating Solar Thermal Energy” FP7 IRP Grant Agreement 609837
  • SFERA II, "Solar Facilities for the European Research Area: Phase II" ,FP7, Grant Agreement 312.643.
  • IEA SHC Task 49 / SolarPACES Anexo IV - "Solar Heat Process to production and advanced aplications".
  • Heating and Cooling (IEA Program - Solar).


Product development

Concept development and design optimization, consultancy on materials selection, pre-prototyping simulation and prototype testing of solar concentrating systems suiting specific operation temperatures and/or heat applications. The product development process includes system engineering (hydraulic circuits, accessories, etc.), system performance and yield assessment. Service to industrial partners (under a direct contract or under a R&D consortium basis).

Engineering consultancy

Consultancy to the manufacturing industry on system engineering, materials selection or system assessment and geographically distributed yield calculations.

Consultancy to EPC companies on technological offers selection, solar systems experimental assessment and yield measurement, glint and glare studies and life cycle analysis of the overall system.

Consultancy to promoters, banks and insurance companies in technical project analysis, technical liability assessment or guarantee of results.

Solar Resource data and data forecasting

Solar irradiation and solar irradiation statistics provided to users, Power Plant operators, promoters, financing entities ( banks, etc.) and insurance companies.

Optical characterization of different collector components

Services on optical characterization of the collector components, such as reflectors and absorbers. 

Prototype testing

Experimental optical and thermal characterization of solar concentrator prototypes, using pressurized water (up to 220°C) or thermal oil (up to 350°C) as Heat Transfer Fluids (HTF). Experimental procedures in accordance to the international standards for solar collector testing, providing information useful for product certification.

Materials characterization and durability

A set of services can be provided to industry on the area of materials, based on expertise, equipment and facilities existing in INIESC related with the low, medium and high temperature applications, like materials design, materials ageing, corrosion and degradation studies; polymeric materials studies and materials protection studies with organic or metallic coatings.

Solar fuels production

The activity in solar fuels will enable the Research Infrastructure (RI) to develop the reactor design expertise where the thermochemical reactions will occur, in addition to studies of the different solar fuels production possibilities that high solar concentration can provide. The combination between reactor design expertise, existing facilities and high cost characterization equipment are the base of the set of services in this area that the RI can offer to industry.

Technical training

Besides a complete university courses offer (provided by UEvora, from engineering degree to doctoral program and Master Courses - UEvora/MIEEA/FCUL on the field of Solar Energy supported by experimental works developed with access to the RI infrastructures, the RI services comprise also the development of training actions to professionals, either fitting general technical audiences, professional certification schemes or the precise needs of a given company.

INIESC web banner EN_small