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DOE to Invest $35 Million in Concentrating Solar Power Projects

September 19, 2008

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected 15 new projects--for funding of $35 million--to facilitate developing lower-cost energy storage for concentrating solar power (CSP) technology.  Announced September 19, 2008, the selections are for negotiations of award under the Funding Opportunity Announcement, Advanced Heat Transfer Fluids and Novel Thermal Storage Concepts for Concentrating Solar Power Generation. See details in a copy of the DOE Press Release.

Proposals were selected from the following three categories: (1) Advanced heat-transfer fluids research and development, (2) Thermal energy storage R&D, and (3) Thermal energy storage near-term demonstration.

Seven companies and six universities were selected for funding under this award. In total, DOE will provide up to $35 million over four years, subject to annual appropriations. With cost-sharing, the total public-private investment will be up to about $67.6 million for the following selected projects:

Advanced Heat-Transfer Fluids Research and Development

  • Symyx (Sunnyvale, California)Deep Eutectic Salt Formulations Suitable as Advanced Heat-Transfer Fluids

Thermal Energy Storage Research and Development

  • Abengoa (Lakewood, Colorado)Advanced Thermal Energy Storage for Central Receivers and Supercritical Coolants
  • Acciona (Henderson, Nevada)Sensible Heat, Direct, Dual-Media Thermal Energy Storage Module
  • City University of New York (New York, New York)A Novel Storage Method for Concentrating Solar Power Plants Allowing Operation at High Temperatures
  • General Atomics (San Diego, California)Thermochemical Heat Storage for Concentrating Solar Power
  • Infinia Corporation (Kennewick, Washington)Innovative Application of Maintenance-Free Phase-Change Thermal Energy Storage for Dish Engine Solar Power Generation
  • Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)Novel Thermal Energy Storage Technologies for Concentrating Solar Power Generation
  • Terrafore (Riverside, California)Heat Transfer and Latent Heat Storage in Inorganic Molten Salts for Concentrating Solar Power Plants
  • Texas Engineering Experiment Station (College Station, Texas)–Molten Salt Carbon Nanotube Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrating Solar Power System
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)Novel Molten Salts Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrating Solar Power Generation
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas)Development and Performance Evaluation of High-Temperature Concrete for Thermal Energy Storage and Solar Power Generation
  • University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut)Novel Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrating Solar Power

Thermal Energy Storage Near-Term Demonstration

  • Abengoa (Lakewood, Colorado)Reducing the Cost of Thermal Energy Storage for Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants
  • Acciona (Henderson, Nevada)Indirect, Dual-Media, Phase-Change Material Thermal Energy Storage Module
  • US Solar Holdings (Boise, Idaho)CSP Energy Storage Solutions–Multiple Technologies Compared

Selected projects are expected to promote DOE’s goal of reducing the cost of CSP electricity from 1316 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) today with no storage to 811 cents/kWh with 6 hours of storage by 2015, and to less than 7 cents/kWh with 1217 hours of storage by 2020.

—Don Gwinner