Standalone thermal storage: “Incredibly cheap grid-scale storage with a very long calendar life” The new Venture Capital (VC) firm Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) only invests in technologies they vet as both “scientifically feasible at scale” and with the potential to reduce “at least half a gigaton of greenhouse gases every year.” Along with Alfa Laval […]
Retiring coal power plants could see a new life serving the green economy by storing renewable energy as thermal batteries, delivering the stored energy back to the grid using the former coal plant’s existing power blocks and grid connections. Leveraging the low cost of the molten salt thermal energy storage used in CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) […]
A study commissioned by the Chilean government and presented before the SolarPACES Conference in Morocco makes data available to potential participants in a Chilean CSP industry. The study, Local Content in CSP:CST Projects- Assessment of the Chilean Industry is designed to put together useful information for both international CSP developers bidding in auctions and local […]
China could be the first to deploy s-CO2 in CSP The world’s initial Concentrated SolarPower (CSP) plants continue to use the legacy steam cycles of conventional thermal plants. But steam cycle is a mature technology with temperature-based efficiency limits, hampering the potential to raise efficiency and lower costs. Consequently, international researchers have investigated a new […]
Algae is a potential energy feedstock that is synergistic with solar fuels because algae can be grown in salt water on cheap desert land with a good solar resource, and it also contains the chemicals needed for making solar fuels (hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen). Research is ongoing into reducing the cost of farming algae. To […]
The tower form of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is very young technology. Less than a gigawatt is deployed globally, making it a nascent technology at the “Cambrian explosion” stage; multiple innovations are still being explored to cut costs. (How tower CSP works) A new economic study looks at reducing its Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) […]
Thermal energy stored in steel slag could replace fossil fuels used for heat in steel production
With China in the game, the outlook for the technology has gone from from gloomy to better than ever – however it also carries great risk
Renewable energy researchers have been looking into how to cut CO2 emissions from processing industrial minerals like cement and lime, as these are responsible for a high share of the global greenhouse gas emissions. For every 10 tons of cement we produce, we release 9 tons of CO2, with much of that through the burning […]
Instead of running air conditioners on fossil-fueled electricity, University of Bergamo researchers Guiseppe Franchini and Antonio Perdichizzi propose an alternative cooling technology; using a thermal form of solar energy to provide solar district cooling in the Saudi Kingdom. Their study of the economics of solar district cooling was published at Energy Conversion and Management, in […]
California is a global leader in climate policy, and its goal of 100% clean energy by 2045 is now law in the 5th largest economy after China, the US, Japan and Germany. While the state has had a cap and trade program in place since 2013, it has been the simplicity and directness of a […]
A New Paper Describes a Solar Thermal Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide with Amino Acids Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) will play a key role in a decarbonized economy because it can produce heat without adding any carbon emissions. Though for centuries we’ve produced heat for industrial uses by burning a fossil fuel like coal, or […]
An interview reveals Morocco’s secret: MASEN (the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy) is actually a renewable energy “one stop shop” – starting with climate policy, through needs assessment, planning, infrastructure development and finally structuring to mobilize project finance.
The time is right to consider what went wrong and what went right with Spain’s previous CSP policy – because an election in June put the renewable-friendly coalition that developed it back in power. Spain’s socialist-led coalition government jumpstarted virtually all the Concentrated Solar Power/CSP deployed in Europe, 2.3 GW, creating a supply chain of Spanish […]
Could a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) power plant tap the waste heat it produces to desalinate water? Scientists at find that the answer is yes – in a co-generation setup where CSP using a supercritical carbon dioxide (s-CO2) power cycle is combined with thermal desalination – and they go on to figure out the process that […]
The DOE announced $72 million in funding of three novel pathways to raising temperature and efficiency to lower costs for three CSP tower technologies
Solar thermal energy turns out to be the key to China meeting its climate commitments. A new study investigates the best combination of renewables for providing the lowest cost to power system operators in two of China’s provinces best suited to scale up renewable energy. China’s power systems operators must invest in renewable energy to […]
The first-ever 35-year solar power contract – ACWA Power’s with DEWA in Dubai – had a record-low price, for CSP+storage of just 7.3 cents per kWh. Did a longer contract enable the record low price?
Researchers have developed a prototype for calibrating an entire solar field in a single night, shaving months off the current calibration system for large size Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) tower plants. In tower CSP, an encircling solar field of thousands of heliostats (specialized mirrors) must continuously and precisely reflect concentrated beams from always-moving sunlight onto […]
Freshwater shortages are projected to increase in our hotter and more crowded future. Already,150 countries desalinate seawater, using fossil fuels. But supplying an ever-increasing basic need with non-renewable fuels creates a growing threat, according to Dr. Diego-César Alarcón-Padilla, who heads the Solar Desalination Unit at Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA) and is Operating Agent of Task […]
A new paper published at Solar Energy investigates Eastern Morocco’s suitability to host Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) in a multilayered assessment. Dr. Ahmed Alami Merrouni, who heads up research on Meteorology and Solar Materials Degradation at Institut de Recherche en Energie Solaire et Energies Nouvelles (), and his team determined which parts of Eastern Morocco […]
A new paper, presented at the SolarPACES Annual Conference proposes using ceria particles not only as the redox reactant in hydrogen production, but for also for heat transfer and storage.
Industry response suggests an Australian concentrated solar thermal market would be well subscribed A report out from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) this month published responses from industry stakeholders on the viability of a concentrated solar thermal (CST) energy market in Australia: Paving the way for concentrated solar thermal in Australia. Only 5 gigawatts […]
Noor III, at 150 MW, the world’s second utility-scale Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) tower with molten salt storage, will deliver power to Morocco’s electricity grid by October, if not sooner. “Noor III receiver installation on tower has been finalized already, so we are ready to continue the commissioning of the plant with the solar field […]
International solar thermal energy researchers have successfully tested CONTISOL, a solar reactor that runs on air, able to make any solar fuel like hydrogen and to run day or night – because it uses concentrated solar power (CSP) and includes thermal energy storage. The promise of solar fuels is that we could have zero carbon […]
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is suited to regions with good solar resource. CSP+desalination can simultaneously solve related water scarcity. Seawater desalination can be integrated into a solar thermal energy plant using a variety of desalination technologies. Is solar-driven multi-effect distillation a financially feasible solution for water-stressed Namibia? A research study from Stellenbosch University finds that a […]
A new solar technology is twice as efficient, cutting the cost of solar thermal energy, by raising operating temperatures to 1,000°C, almost twice the 565°C molten salt temperature in current concentrated solar power (CSP) tower plants. For most innovative research in clean energy, the dreaded “Valley of Death” after lab scale success is the sad […]
Ammonia (NH3) is key to enabling the solar hydrogen (H2) future, says a prominent Australian researcher. Solar fuel could be stored, bottled and shipped globally in ammonia
Thermochemical solar leverages heat from concentrated solar power (CSP) for chemical reactions. Research into thermochemical solar reactors to split water to hydrogen is a priority in top national laboratories internationally. (See SolarPACES Research Task II: Solar Chemistry Research). What part will thermal solar play in a future hydrogen economy? For an overview, we checked with a […]
Mintek pyrometallurgy engineer Lina Hockaday is trying a highly focused solar reactor to replace the fossil energy used as part of the steelmaking process
As prices for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) with thermal energy storage dropped an astonishing 50% between May and November this year, it seemed that 2017 saw the kind of price breakthrough that could allow CSP to compete with traditional thermal power in supplying dispatchable electricity. CSP is the heat-based form of solar, which generates power […]
GlassPoint will build an 850 MW (thermal) solar thermal facility in Bakersfield, generating 12 million barrels of emissions-free steam annually for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) replacing natural gas.
Thermochemical solar fuel manufacturing would be an energy industry with a life of centuries, rather than decades. The feedstock of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water is essentially unlimited. Scientists with the SOLAR-JET Project have demonstrated the first-ever entire process to make kerosene, the jet fuel used by commercial airlines, using a high-temperature thermal solar reactor […]
ACWA Power’s latest record-low contract signed with DEWA at just over 7 cents per kWh is no outlier, according to CEO Paddy Padmanathan. CSP is a thermal form of solar that typically includes thermal storage in a power block so that it can generate power at any time, not just when the sun shines.
BY AVI SHULTZ Dr. Avi Shultz is the acting program manager for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) team, which supports research, development, and demonstration of solar thermal components and systems that can enable wide-spread deployment of low-cost CSP with thermal energy storage. Every day our power needs […]
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) prices dropped in 2017, from under 10 cents per kWh in May, to under 5 cents by October. CSP is a form of thermal solar energy that can power day or night, because its intrinsic ability to store its energy thermally enables it to dispatch power at any time.(How CSP Thermal […]
An aerospace engineer has built a machine to make water and oxygen from the lunar regolith, powered by solar energy. Thorsten Denk’s paper Design and Test of a Concentrated Solar Powered Fluidized Bed Reactor for Ilmenite Reduction was presented at the 23rd Annual SolarPACES Conference in Chile. (Thorsten Denk – Presentation (pdf) Working over a ten year […]
Solar can be designed to run only after dark at a competitive price with a current natural gas peaker plant. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) can be a night-only dispatchable (D-CSP) plant; with its entire solar energy absorbed by day to be delivered after dark to cover the evening peak load on the grid, according to a study funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Sandia scientists find the optimal way to mop up surplus solar flux on CSP towers Excess solar flux could be harnessed and used to generate additional electricity at a tower CSP plant, by cladding part of the tower containing the receiver with photovoltaic (PV) panels, according to Sandia scientist Cliff Ho. He found that adding […]
Europe already imports energy long-distance: via natural gas pipelines from Russia. TuNur plans round-the-clock solar via HVDC from Tunisia
Research was key to the low price record of 6 cents for dispatchable solar thermal energy at Port Augusta: SolarReserve According to Kevin Smith, the CEO of California-based SolarReserve; the company that is first to sell CSP at 6 cents/kWh, the record-low CSP price was largely due to their receiver and heliostat research. The 150 MW […]
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released funding to the Argonne National Laboratory for a scaled-up round of independent testing of Terrafore Technologies’ innovative encapsulated thermal energy storage in phase change salts, designed to operate in temperatures to greater than 800°C in a single tank that acts as both storage and heat exchanger.
Most coverage of SolarReserve’s 150 MW Aurora solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta completely overlooked its biggest news: the South Australian Government just bought the world’s cheapest solar thermal energy. Just 6 cents per kilowatt hour. SolarReserve will sell solar thermal energy to the South Australian Government at $75 (AUD) with a guaranteed cap […]
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) just reached the US Department of Energy 2020 SunShot goal of 6 cents for dispatchable solar
Given Germany’s lack of desert sun, it might seem improbable that thermal solar would be a key component of its low-carbon grid planning under its Energiewende (energy transition). But several papers published in 2016 found that concentrated solar power (CSP) will be essential.
With annual solar radiation at 3,500kWh per square meter, akin to what you see in outer space, it is no surprise that Chile is a world leader in solar energy production. The nation is also in a position to lead the world in CSP
Unlike other CSP developers who leverage the heat of the sun as the “fuel” for a power block that then generates electricity to the grid; GlassPoint’s enclosed troughs are simply employed in the direct production of steam, focusing on what the company sees as an ignored market for heat.
Chile will be next to benefit from an analysis; developed in Germany, of optimal clean energy grid options A new computational tool will be used by international researchers at SolarPACES to calculate the best technology mix of generation resources to most cost-effectively cover Chile’s load curve. The modeling tool was initially developed at Aachen University, […]
Images by the award-winning artist Jamey Stillings have become so widely used that it is not uncommon to see news stories about solar energy illustrated by a tower surrounded by mirrors, rather than the much more widely deployed PV.