The concentrated solar power (CSP) plant is located close to the ASE manufacturing plant in Massa Martana (Perugia) in Italy.

Italy’s Archimede Solar Energy (ASE) and Chiyoda Corp. broke ground on an advanced concentrated solar power installation with thermal energy storage (TES) in July.

The CSP plant, which represents the first stand-alone molten salt test loop in the world, is located close to the ASE manufacturing plant in Massa Martana (Perugia) in Italy and will provide a focus for cutting-edge CSP research.

The European Solar Thermal Electricity Association (ESTELA) said in a statement that the aim of the project is to enhance the economy and reliability of parabolic-trough power plants. Whereas today’s commercial parabolic-trough power plants use thermo oils as the heat transfer medium, allowing continuous operation with external molten salt tanks at a temperature lower than 400°C, the new 600 meter-long test loop, equipped with 5 hours of TES, is to be operated using molten salts only, at temperatures above 550°C.

The higher-temperature steam produced in this way will enable more efficient operation of the steam turbine for power generation, and the TES tanks using molten salts can be significantly smaller compared to those operating with oil plus molten salts. Molten salts are already currently being used as the heat transfer medium at the Archimede ISCC located in Priolo Gargallo, Sicily, a plant also equipped with receiver tubes manufactured by ASE for Enel Power.

Archimede Solar Energy (ASE), a subsidiary of Angelantoni Group, is the sole worldwide producer of commercially-available receiver tubes for solar thermodynamic plants with parabolic trough technology, which use sodium and potassium nitrates as their heat transfer fluid.