Gen3 CSP Plant Liquid Pathway schematic; Sodium Receiver, new molten salts mix MgCl2-KCl-NaCl as HTF and thermal energy storage IMAGE@NREL
Innovating new energy technologies is more akin to making a movie with a cast and crew of thousands than the stereotype of the one lone inventor in a garage coming up with the whole thing alone.
An example is the US Department of Energy grant to try three different pathways to reduce the cost of third generation CSP, the dispatchable solar able to generate power round the clock.
Three separate teams of solar researchers affiliated with international networks of university labs and associated specialty industries won funding to compete using alternative liquid, gas or solid media pathways to design a next-generation CSP system to economically and reliably deliver temperatures above 700 C to connect to an advanced sCO2 power cycle in order to reduce costs in US markets to five cents/kWh by 2030.
“It was sort of like an XPRIZE competition, with multiple teams competing to deliver a bold solution to a global problem,” said Cliff Ho, who led the winning team from Sandia National Laboratories with a particle-based innovation. “It was exciting.”