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Solar: AREVA commissions molten salt energy storage demonstration

Press Release


May 05, 2014

Solar: AREVA commissions molten salt energy storage demonstration

AREVA has begun operations of its molten salt energy storage demonstration plant designed specifically for use with the group’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology. This full scale project is being carried out at Sandia National Laboratories’* National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Thanks to their significant collaboration, AREVA’s solar team and Sandia’s molten salt technology experts have developed an innovative approach to energy storage that combines the molten salt test loop (MSTL) with AREVA’s CLFR applications. The result is a reliable and competitive solution which optimises the benefits of CLFR technology by ensuring that the energy captured can be dispatched night or day through the use of molten salt storage.

AREVA’s CLFR design uses an array of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy on an elevated evacuated tube receiver to heat a working fluid, in this case molten salt. The system draws molten 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 successful test results demonstrate that the use of molten salt as a working fluid enables high temperature operations, reduces the volume of salt needed for storage, and removes the need for two sets of heat-exchangers in the system. These efficiencies decrease the overall cost and complexity of the system. As part of the project, AREVA will also study the optimization of Operation & Maintenance costs related to molten salt management in a real world environment.

Sam Shakir, Chief Executive Officer of AREVA Solar, said: “This innovative storage solution combines our proven and economical CLFR technology with the demonstrated use of molten salt as a heat transfer and storage fluid. Together, these technologies provide a solution to capture the sun’s energy sun during the day and economically deliver renewable power to the grid at any time.”

“This is an enabling technology that provides a possible path to realizing the Department of Energy driven Sunshot program goal to reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems to $.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2020,” said Dr. Subhash L. Shinde, the Manager for Concentrating Solar Technology Organization at Sandia National Laboratories.

*Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program U.S. laboratory with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California. Sandia has major Research & Development responsibilities in energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

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Alison Tise
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