AREVA Solar is collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories on a new concentrated solar power (CSP) installation with thermal energy storage.
The CSP storage project combines AREVA’s modular Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar design with Sandia Labs’ proven molten salt storage system. This will be the first CSP integration with Sandia Labs’ Molten Salt Test Loop System located at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico (United States).
Incorporating thermal energy storage enables CSP plants to provide power generation over longer period of times (after sunset, for instance) or to shift power delivery to another time period. Therefore, it gives plant operators more flexibility, allowing them to accurately match electricity supply with demand as well as support grid reliability.
This evolutionary CLFR molten salt storage system, commercially available in 2013, expands AREVA Solar’s suite of dispatchable CSP solutions, including solar/natural gas hybrid plants as well as solar augmentation of new and existing fossil-fueled plants. The company has CSP projects in operation and under construction in the U.S., India and Australia.
“Using molten salt storage to extend daily solar electricity generation is not new. But combining it with CLFR technology is. The result is a dependable, lower-cost storage system that provides users the advantages of CLFR technology along with the benefits of extended dispatchability through molten salt storage — day and night,” said Bill Gallo, CEO of AREVA Solar.
“We are pleased to partner with Sandia Labs, a premier research facility for solar technology innovation with in-depth experience in molten salt systems. Our CLFR molten salt storage solution is yet another example of AREVA’s ability to reliably and cost-effectively meet our customers’ peak load requirements, improve grid stability and fulfill market and regulatory needs in key global markets,” added Gallo.
AREVA Solar’s CLFR molten salt storage system begins with its proven, reliable CLFR design — an array of mirrors that concentrate the sun’s energy to heat a working fluid in an elevated receiver. But instead of using water as its working fluid, this system uses molten salt in an elevated vacuum tube receiver. The system draws molten salt from a cold (290°C) tank, uses the heat from the mirrors to heat it to as high as 550°C, and passes that hot liquid to a separate tank for storage. When needed, the high-temperature molten salt passes through a heat exchanger to produce steam for electricity generation. The molten salt then returns to the cold tank and the process is repeated in a closed-loop system.