SaltX Technology and Aalborg CSP have formed a partnership that aims at commercializing technology that would combined concentrated solar power with thermal energy storage.
A prototype using SaltX’s EnerStore technology is scheduled to be built later this year with the aim of securing a commercial pilot plant in 2018.
- The companies say they will seek external funding in Denmark and Sweden, the home base for Aalborg and SaltX, respectively, for the development and testing of the prototype.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) aims mirrors at the top of a tower to heat a fluid that drives a conventional turbine. It is utility-scale solar technology that holds the promise of being able to absorb fluctuations in solar output and, if a heat retentive fluid like molten salt is used, it has the potential to store energy well into the night.
One of the first CSP projects to be deployed commercially in the U.S. was the 377 MW Ivanpah CSP in California developed by BrightSource Energy and NRG Energy that went online in 2014.
The project developed problems soon after entering service, including fires and birds fried by the concentrated solar mirrors.
But SolarReserve announced plans last year to build an even larger CSP project in Nevada, a 2,000-MW project that would use molten salt technology that would enable it to avoid using any natural gas to kick start the turbines and would extend the duration of the solar energy captured well into the night with the aim of capturing revenues by selling energy into the higher-priced evening peak market.
BrightSource and NRG said they did not incorporate storage into their design because it would have made their project too costly. SolarReserve claims that its technology has made improvements that should enable it to avoid the problems that hampered the Ivanpah project.
The latest entry into the CSP with storage market is the new partnership between Aalborg and SaltX.
“The market for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is expected to explode over the next three years, especially in China, Africa and India. It is therefore important to quickly position ourselves and to accelerate the development of EnerStore,” Karl Bohman, CEO of SaltX, told Renewable Energy magazine.