CSPPLAZA Photothermal Power Network News: the United States Department of Energy for the SunShot plan for solar photothermal power generation by 2020 to reduce the cost of photothermal power generation to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, which undoubtedly requires great technological progress.
Tex Wilkins, founder of the CSP Alliance in the United States, says reducing costs technically is a must.
The CSP industry is constantly innovating, and if the DOE's planning goals are to be achieved, there is bound to be a huge breakthrough in CSP technology.The emergence of solar thermal power generation systems using supercritical carbon dioxide as a working fluid may significantly reduce the cost of solar thermal power generation.
The excellent heat transfer and fluidity of supercritical carbon dioxide has great potential to improve the efficiency of power generation.
The study was also supported by the U. S. Department of Energy.
A total of 21 projects benefited from the Department of Energy's $56 million research support program for solar-thermal power generation under the SunShot program.
The $8 million grant to NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is to demonstrate a diverse megawatt power cycle using supercritical carbon dioxide as a working medium.
NREL photothermal power project leader Craig Turchi said that after a series of our previous studies, we believe that supercritical carbon dioxide as the working fluid of photothermal power generation systems can operate at a temperature range of 600 to 700 degrees Celsius to have a good performance.
Supercritical carbon dioxide power generation can achieve efficient thermal energy utilization above 500 degrees Celsius and 20 MPA of atmospheric pressure, up to about 45%, which will effectively increase the power generation capacity.
The Department of Energy supports the research and development because it sees the enormous potential of the technology to improve power generation efficiency and reduce costs.
Supercritical carbon dioxide power generation systems are smaller in size, lighter in weight and less in thermal loss.
It can be used in solar photothermal power generation system to achieve a significant increase in efficiency.
The system only needs low heat to start the generator, which can adjust the load quickly and support the quick start and stop. These advantages are incomparable to the ordinary power generation system.
Bill Gould, SolarReserve's chief technology officer, says the technology is a useful improvement over the drawback of photothermal power stations that are slow to start up.
NREL is expected to complete the tests in two phases.
First, a Brayton cycle is established, coupled to a photothermal power station with molten salt as a heat transfer medium; then, supercritical carbon dioxide will be used as a heat transfer and working medium, similar to a direct steam generation system.
The test will be carried out at a 10MW photothermal power station at an estimated cost of $16 million, supported by $8 million from the US Department of Energy.
The idea of using carbon dioxide, a common gas, as a working fluid in photothermal power generation cycles has been proved to be feasible in theory.
Compared with conventional steam power generation, this system has a significantly higher conversion efficiency, but also can save a lot of water resources, which is very useful in areas with good sunshine resources but scarce water resources.
However, this research is still in the experiment, there are many technical difficulties to be broken through.
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