Energy Department Announces Projects to Advance Cost-Effective Concentrating Solar Power Systems and 2014 CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER REPORT
By: +David Herron; Date: June 28, 2014Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a technology that harnesses the sun’s energy potential and has the capacity to provide renewable energy to hundreds of thousands of customers in the United States. This report discusses how 2014 marks a significant milestone in the history of American solar energy—with five U.S. Department of Energy-funded CSP plants expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.
On May 21 the US Dept of Energy announced $10 million in grants for six new research and development projects that will advance innovative concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The projects will develop thermochemical energy storage systems to enable more efficient storage of solar energy while using less storage material, cutting the cost for utility-scale CSP electricity generation as a result. They also released a report, which you can read below.
Concentrating solar power technologies use mirrors to focus and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver from which a heat transfer fluid carries the intense thermal energy to a power block to generate electricity. The research projects announced will explore novel thermochemical energy storage systems, which could store the sun's energy at high densities and temperatures in the form of chemical bonds. The chemical compounds used to store the chemical energy are later broken down to release energy when needed. Six teams from universities, national laboratories and research institutes, working with industrial partners, will test different chemical processes for CSP thermochemical energy storage that could further advance CSP technology, helping the industry step closer to meeting the SunShot Initiative’s technical and cost targets for CSP and moving the U.S. toward its clean energy future.