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“Evolutionary” salt storage

Collaboration on the “evolutionary” CLFR molten salt storage system set to be commercially available this year

Salt Storage
CSP plant parabolic collectors are being used alongside developments in salt storage solutions

The solar arm of French firm AREVA is collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories in the US for a new concentrated solar power (CSP) installation with thermal energy storage.

The CSP storage project combines AREVA’s modular Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar design with Sandia Labs’ proven molten salt storage system. This will be the first CSP integration with Sandia Labs’ Molten Salt Test Loop System located at the US Department of Energy’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

AREVA’s salt storage system begins with its proven reliable CLFR design - an array of mirrors that concentrate the sun’s energy to heat a working fluid in an elevated receiver. The system uses molten salt in an elevated vacuum tube receiver. It draws the salt from a cold (290°C) tank, uses the heat from the mirrors to heat it to as high as 550°C, and passes that hot liquid to a separate tank for storage. When needed, the high temperature molten salt passes through a heat exchanger to produce steam for electricity generation. The molten salt then returns to the cold tank and the process is repeated in a closed-loop system.

The “evolutionary” CLFR molten salt storage system, which is set to be commercially available this year, expands AREVA Solar’s suite of dispatchable CSP solutions. This includes solar/natural gas hybrid plants as well as solar augmentation of new and existing fossil-fuelled plants.

“Using molten salt storage to extend daily solar electricity generation is not new. But combining it with CLFR technology is,” says Bill Gallo, CEO of AREVA Solar. “The result is a dependable, lower-cost storage system that provides users with the advantages of CLFRtechnology along with the benefits of extended dispatchability through molten salt storage day and night.”

The collaboration draws on experiences from other projects using salt storage systems with CSP and, such as Archimedes by ENEL