Out-of-this-world engineering challenges of manufacturing on the Moon hold promise for Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST)
Direct solar heat – Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) – is a potential renewable resource for replacing heat from burning fossil fuels for industries like mining, as its technologies generate heat directly from sunlight at anywhere from 150°C to 1500°C. But lack of information on both sides stands in the way of CST being used for […]
Turbochargers were first used to amplify fossil fuel efficiency. Now they could turbocharge solar energy for 100% renewable industrial heat
High temperature CSP with very long duration storage in Bauxite particles can top off the 100% renewable grid says Sandia lead solar researcher Cliff Ho
Innovating new energy technologies is more akin to making a movie with a cast and crew of thousands than the stereotype of the one lone inventor in a garage coming up with the whole thing alone. An example is the US Department of Energy grant to try three different pathways to reduce the cost of […]
What if the molten salts in the thermal energy storage tank could simply be heated directly by concentrated solar energy?
The ETH spin-off Synhelion is working on commercializing its very high-temperature solar thermochemical fuels (like jet fuel and hydrogen) and has already formed partnerships with several larger firms making cement or aviation fuel to advance step by step towards its goal of 100% carbon neutral fuels by 2030. The company’s latest collaboration is with Wood, […]
SolarPACES interviewed Bernard Geldenhuys, the Senior Transactor in the Power and Infrastructure team at Investec Bank, a lender with 8,300 employees that has been closely involved in the 100 MW Redstone solar power tower since 2018, when its delayed PPA was signed with Eskom, as the first commercial bank to support the transaction, providing senior […]
The fastest route to commercializing solar hydrogen could be by supplying hydrogen, oxygen and heat for Australia’s copper mining industry with solar thermochemistry, Christian Sattler told SolarPACES recently. With his experience heading solar fuels research at Germany’s solar research center at DLR, Sattler sees a synergistic connection between the sulfuric acid processing used in copper […]
Ten years as a patent attorney with Exxon Mobil initially predisposed Gary Katz to see purification of “produced water” at oil wells as the market for the off-grid desalination startup he founded and bootstrapped in 2016, aiming to use the industry’s own wasted gas it flares onsite. “We realized there was a big need to […]
A very large-scale long duration energy storage (LDES) idea from MIT envisages a 1 kilometer-long, 60 meter-wide lidded central storage container of rocks sunk 20 meters down into the ground – about the size of 10 football fields if they were laid end to end. The idea is that it could store energy from up […]
DOE workshops educate regulators on long duration energy storage (LDES) A Federal energy project funded through the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity has initiated workshops designed to help state utility regulators determine best practices in policies to enable carbon-free energy storage technologies and, in particular, long duration energy storage, as renewable energy […]
A perovskite may be more cost-effective than ceria for solar-driven thermochemical hydrogen production, a new paper suggests. One perovskite formulation that works at a slightly lower temperature than ceria is explored by Xin Qian in the paper Outstanding Properties and Performance of CaTi0.5Mn0.5O3–d for Solar-Driven Thermochemical Hydrogen Production in research funded by the US Department of […]
Researchers at DLR, and NREL, and the Bill Gates-funded start-up Malta have been investigating converting coal plants into grid-scale thermal energy storage for curtailed intermittent renewable energy, as low-cost heat “batteries.” (Thermal energy storage was originally developed as storage for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), but it can alternatively be deployed “standalone” to store energy for […]
The MIT team estimates their thermal “battery” designed for long duration – 100 hours or more – would be half the cost of today’s cheapest grid-scale energy storage; pumped hydro. A very intriguing idea for long-duration gigawatt-scale grid thermal energy storage proposes to store renewable electricity from the grid by charging a “battery” of molten […]
One of the ways to cut costs in thermal energy storage, whether standalone or as part of tower Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is to use heat transfer fluids able to reach higher temperatures, and with a wider working range between hot and cold than today’s molten salts with their working range between “cold” at 290°C […]
HelioHeat’s 1,000°C heat at just 1 Cent/kWh potentially ends the use of fossil energy for the production of steel, cement, food and chemicals
Research – and deployment – of low cost and sustainable energy storage technologies are crucial to the long term survival of humans
As a vital component of fertilizers, ammonia (NH3) is the second most-produced industrial chemical in the world. Annual production is around 180 million metric tons and almost 90% of this production goes to meet the global demand for agricultural production. Ammonia is also increasingly seen as a potential green fuel for power production and […]
Synhelion will produce concentrated solar heat at 1500°C for the cement plant and receive highly concentrated CO2 to produce synthetic fuels
South Africa’s Bokpoort performance has been “reliably excellent” SolarPACES spoke with Nandu Bhula who has been with the team responsible for the success of ACWA Power’s 50 MW Bokpoort trough Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant in South Africa since the start, first as CEO while the project was being built, and currently as Chairman of […]
“With the asymmetry of flux levels from the solar field; why not make the receiver also asymmetric to fit better with that,” she explained.
Solar PV for electricity is great, but the world needs solar fuels too, fuel for planes, fuel for ships and fuel for steel and cement.
What are the policies that make it possible to actually meet a renewable energy target? Regulators can’t simply decree it happens
A state of the art assessment of day or night solar thermochemistry at very high temperatures 1,000ºC to 2,000ºC
Solatom’s Fresnel solar module is shipped ready to go and connected onsite as a turn-key design to generate steam or high pressure hot water
When Bernie Sanders proposed building publicly owned renewables it was dismissed as pie in the sky. But a US agency once did exactly that
Commercializing alumina refining using solar heat Approximately 27% of Australia’s industrial carbon emissions come from alumina refineries, in which fossil fuels are burned to heat the processes. But concentrated solar thermal (CST) could provide up to half of the heat needed. Australian researchers have for the first time demonstrated a novel solar reactor for calcining […]
What if the more bankable trough technology could run on molten salt, like the more efficient tower CSP? Wouldn’t that leverage the best of each technology?
Engineers generally tend to be solutions-oriented, and engineers in Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) are no different. A history of making things better than they were is why we now have advanced technologies. As Hal Harvey, founder of Energy Innovation told the NYT opinion columnist Tom Friedman: “A prime difference between the Enlightenment and the Dark […]
The research team found that a redox process produced higher solar-to-fuel efficiency than steam or dry solar methane reforming with a metal alloy catalyst
Two teams of solar researchers have developed a novel solar reactor and thermochemical process for making solar hydrogen that can generate in addition carbon black and graphite as well as carbon nanotubes. Working over a six-year period, the teams first developed the specific solar reactor, and then subsequently, the thermochemistry for the (patent pending) novel […]
Colocating PV and CSP to share the CSP thermal storage could be widely applicable as energy grids become more saturated with renewables
If one “solar refinery” manufactured all the aviation fuel needed for the entire world from CO2+H2O captured from air using solar energy – all in just one site, the solar field would stretch for example, from Paraburdoo to Capricorn in the Western Australian desert
CSP+TES match a 100% clean grid best fit needs: flexibility, reliability, dispatchability, durability but utilities don’t know how to procure them
A Swiss startup is working on commercializing two routes to solar jet fuel – to market first by 2022, and by 2030, from direct air capture of CO2 and H2O
As electricity grids include more intermittent renewables to meet 100% clean energy goals – utilities look beyond batteries to CSP+TES
A completely new way to dry cool solar thermal power plants, inspired by commercially available underground heat pumps used to cool buildings
HELIOVIS has been running a demo plant in Spain for two years demonstrating their novel low-cost blow-up plastic tube solar collector for CSP. The small startup is fighting hard to get the industry-scale financial backing needed to introduce the technology and to make commercial sales. https://www.solarpaces.org/how-csp-works/ “We developed a solar collector that replaces the conventional […]
Wet cooling of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants would be preferable if there was plenty of available water, because it promotes greater thermal efficiency. However, most CSP tends to be built in very arid regions, and so for environmental reasons, developers increasingly get these solar thermal power projects permitted only by planning less-efficient dry cooling. […]
A star shape allows for double sided flux exposure in the receiver, a way to allow for increased flux density limits in standard tower CSP
Testing laboratories in Germany, France and Spain have confirmed the effectiveness of a new high-performance (97% absorbance) optical coating developed by Brightsource Energy, that can be “solar-cured” directly atop the receiver of tower CSP, like Brightsource is building as part of the ACWA Power 700 MW DEWA CSP project in the UAE for the Dubai […]
The innovative pentagonal Stellio heliostat has gone from lab to commercial deployment in China’s Hami CSP project in record time
Surplus solar or wind to heat thermal storage would be a win-win, meeting changing market needs to store renewables – while transitioning fossil energy
This week, the Cerro Dominador Group/EIG Global Energy Partners bought the Likana Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project from US-based SolarReserve, which was unable to complete the project. SolarReserve had already developed Likana by accomplishing the preliminary work of siting and monitoring local DNI and taking it through Chile’s environmental permitting process, but was unable to […]
At the 2019 SolarPACES Conference, Vast Solar took the SolarPACES Technical Innovation Award for their use of high temperature sodium-based HTF in tower CSP, presented in their paper: Vast Solar: improving performance and reducing cost and risk using high temperature modular arrays and sodium heat transfer fluid. Their design appears like a small modular tower […]
For countries such as Japan or South Korea with poor DNI and little space for wind and solar, the value of hydrogen is that it can be made overseas with renewable energy, then stored and shipped, and used to produce electricity, heat, or propulsion. This way, regardless of local solar or wind resource, any economy […]
Which Middle East and North Africa (MENA) nations could decarbonize industrial heat with Concentrated Solar Heat (CSH) most cost-effectively? World Bank energy consultant Elena Cuadros and Fraunhofer’s Pedro Horta supplied very detailed calculations showing where CSH could be substituted at a lower cost than fossil fuels by comparing CSH costs to specific fossil fuel costs currently […]
Cutting risk in financing will be the next key to further cut CSP costs, according to the author of Non-recourse project financing for concentrated solar thermal power published in the journal Utilities Policy. Dr. Steven Geroe teaches Energy and Environmental Law and Contract Law at Melbourne’s La Trobe Law School, and became interested in China’s […]
Researchers propose combining a solar receiver with energy storage within one unit on the ground, by using a beam-down optical reflecting system
Iron, nickel, alumina and copper mining processes are among the industrial processes that require heat at between 700°C and 1000°C. The advanced concentrated solar thermal (CST)reactors being developed by researchers globally can attain temperatures this high (and higher, up to 1500°C). But CEOs in mining and mineral processing industries are more familiar with fuel combustion […]
China has an ambitious proposal for a global HVDC grid to transfer renewable energy throughout the world. Interconnected regional electricity networks would be connected to a backbone of HVDC lines that would become a globe-spanning super grid by 2050. Advancing the idea is China’s Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDO). The concept depends on […]
A preliminary study of the average cost of a novel process for producing solar hydrogen in several locations in Australia finds it could come close to the US DOE renewable hydrogen target of $3 per kilogram. The way that hydrogen is reformed from natural gas is a well-established, low-cost process. But greenhouse gases are emitted […]
Charcoal might seem like a very low tech product, but lithium batteries, water filtration and super-capacitors are among its high tech end uses, and the requirements for these different purposes are actually very exacting. Solar researchers in Mexico are investigating the various temperatures and the rate of heat needed to make different biochars from agricultural […]
“Our “back of the envelop” communication with researchers is that $3 per gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGE) per kilogram of hydrogen could be obtainable,” said Al Maaitah.
Morocco’s 800 MW CSP-PV Noor Midelt breaks last year’s auction price record of 7.3 cents set by DEWA in the UAE, with winning bid at USD 7 cents/kWh The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) has announced that the consortium of EDF Renewables, Masdar, and Green of Africa – a joint venture between three Moroccan […]
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 (IRESEN), 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
What part will solar thermochemistry play in building a future hydrogen economy? For an overview, we checked with a top solar hydrogen expert, Christian Sattler, who holds 18 patents and has authored 158 peer-reviewed papers. Sattler heads the Department of Solar Chemical Engineering at the Institute of Solar Research at Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und […]
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.