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Direct Normal Irradiance Nowcasting methods for optimized operation of concentrating solar technologies (DNICast) is a project under the European Union's Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration framework.

The goal of this project is to improve forecasts of Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). These forecasts are needed for efficient operation of concentrating solar technologies (CST) which have proven to be very efficient sources of clean power for the electrical grid. Currently, DNI forecasts are made by several techniques, which have their own merits and drawbacks. The uncertainty in the forecast of DNI is still too large and must be reduced. The DNICast project brings a series of innovative components which will advance current state-of-the-art in a number of ways.

The Rhenish Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Cologne is engaged in the aerosol nowcasting activity within the DNICast project. Assimilation-based simulation is performed using the EURAD-IM model including a 3D/4D-Var data assimilation scheme and sophisticated aerosol dynamics and aerosol chemistry schemes.