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May 14th, 2010

DOE awards $62M for concentrating solar power materials, systems R&D

Published on May 14th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

The DOE has announced that it will be injecting $62 million over five years to 13 companies and institutions for a variety of concentrating solar power projects. The agency says this funding is aimed at making substantial improvements in CSP systems, components materials and materials for energy storage with an eye toward accelerating CSP projects into the utility marketplace.

The awards are being made in two categories: CSP Systems Studies (baseload system feasibility and prototype development) and CSP Component Feasibility Studies (development of concepts and components for baseload systems).

The awardees are:

Awardee Amount
(millions)
Purpose
Abengoa Solar $10.6 Develop a very-high-temperature receiver at the top of an elevated tower that incorporates a thermal storage system.
eSolar $10.8 Develope a CSP plant that employs multiple, modular towers.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne $10.2 The project will explore new materials for the central power tower receiver. A novel thermal storage system will be developed and use.
General Atomics $2.1 The project consists of carrying out feasibility and design studies to validate the concept of supplying reliable, steady baseload power using a concentrating solar power plant integrated with sulfur-based energy storage.
HiTek Services $3.0 The project will focus on optimizing reflector array, or heliostat, designs in order to reduce the cost of using heliostats in a solar field. Heliostats represent the most expensive component of a CSP system.
Infinia Corp. $3.0 Infinia developing a large-scale, high-efficiency, maintenance-free battery capable of storing energy for up to 18 hours.
PPG Industries $3.0 PPG will develope a low-cost heliostate with increased reflectivity, increased durability and larger dimensions. Presumably the company will demonstrate its Solarphire NaB glass developed to prevent sodium leaching.
SENER Engineering and Systems $3.1 SENER will develop a high-efficiency, high-temperature thermal storage system that can extend the operating range of thermal storage using solid, modular blocks.
SkyFuel $4.3 SkyFuel will develop a low-cost trough heliostat system with significantly larger dimensions, increasing the operating temperature and output.
SunTrough Energy $4.5 The company will develop a new class of trough heliostats usiing a new design that emphasizes lightweight materials, mass-manufacturability, smaller and fewer parts, simpler assembly procedures and more rapid field installation.
Terrafore $1.4 Terrafore is developing an efficient and economical thermal storage system that takes advantage of a material’s (inorganic molten salt mixtures) phase changes.
Univ. of South Florida $2.5 The school is developing an efficient and economical thermal storage system that takes advantage of a materials phase changes.
Wilson TurboPower $3.7 The company is developing a system the incorporates a small transportable turbine power system in a modular CSP solar power tower configuration. The CSP power block can be assembled in-factory and shipped to the worksite, and also incorporates an advanced cooling method that reduces water usage.

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