Under the agreement, Masdar will build a 100-kW plant using the technology in Abu Dhabi by the end of 2008.

Existing solar tower plants use mirrors to direct sun rays onto a receiver at the top of a central tower.

The receiver uses the solar energy to heat air, which drives turbines on the ground.

The beam-down design inverts this process by placing the receiver at the bottom of the tower so that the plant requires less power to move the compressed air to the turbines.

Cosmo Oil and Masdar will invest millions of dollars in the research programme, which will be overseen by the Masdar Research Network, the international research and development arm of Masdar.