Four future oriented fields of research form the key areas of the German Aerospace Center (DLR, http://www.dlr.de) activities: aeronautics, space flight, transport research, and energy technology. DLR maintains eight research sites in Germany, with the headquarters in Köln. The primary emphasis is on the development of innovative technologies in close co-operation with partners from science and industry.

The Institute for Solar Research has an experience of more than 20 years in both national and international co-operative RTD projects concerning the application of solar radiation. The RTD work followed in all segments of the use of concentrated solar energy for power production, for solar chemistry, for solar materials research, for techno-economic system analyses including feasibility and market studies, for engineering, for plant operation simulation and performance prediction as well as for solar field design.

The DLR - Solar Research Division has huge experience in the development of technology and receiver-reactors for solar chemical applications from the field of high temperature treatment of solids, liquids and gases. The experience with this technology as well as the technology itself has also been widely used for experimental feasibility studies of solar thermochemical water splitting in the European projects HYDROSOL, HYDROSOL-II and Hythec. In the finished EU funded project HYDROSOL a process for solar thermal water splitting on metal oxide covered ceramic honeycombs was investigated and rewarded by the 2006 Descartes Research Prize. In Cologne, DLR operates a 25-kW solar furnace and a 25-kW high-flux solar simulator capable of powering a variety of solar high temperature processes and capable of performing material tests at high temperatures and ensuring conditions typically for the operation of thermochemical cycles (http://www.dlr.de/sf).