The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $12 million of federal funding to 15 projects that will research high-temperature CSP components and systems, the DOE announced October 23.

«These projects will develop materials and designs for collectors, power cycles, and thermal transport systems that can withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius (C) while being corrosion-resistant,» the DOE said in a statement.

Nine of the projects are classed as Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS) while three projects will study advanced CSP thermal transport systems and components, and two projects will research advanced CSP power cycles. SolarReserve, a global CSP developer, has also gained funding to research a fully autonomous heliostat system.

      DOE’s CSP cost reduction goals (Sunshot)

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Source: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In U.S. and Europe, CSP developers are pursuing new high-temperature designs which should lower the cost of CSP storage and open up new market opportunities.

The DOE’s Gen3 CSP program, launched in May, will see Brayton Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia Laboratories compete for a $25 million grant to build an integrated high-temperature system demonstrator.

The three companies will develop and test their cost-effective CSP plus storage designs, which heat transfer fluids (HTFs) to over 700 degrees C. They will each complete a design detail for a test demonstrator facility and can incorporate, if required, learnings from parallel component-level research.

The demonstrator plant is a key step towards the commercial deployment of high-temperature CSP technology. The facility is scheduled to commence operations in mid-2020 and operate until around 2023.