a new way to store and release solar
energy, U.S. state Nevada and Sicily, Italy will both use
molten salt to operate solar thermal plants.
use of molten salt in solar thermal plants has been done before –
Alcazar de San Juan, Spain
obtained a molten salt plant in November 2009. Also, in May
of this year, the U.S. Department of Energy gave 13 companies $62
million for the development of thermal solar technology, and a few of
them are considering the use of molten salt.
Angeles-based solar thermal company, developed the
technology to make this system possible. Large heliostats will be
used in the two separate plants in order to reflect sunlight onto
pipes that carry a molten salt liquid, which has potassium and sodium
nitrates in it. The liquid salt then absorbs the heat from the
sunlight in order to make high-pressure steam, which powers the
turbine and produces electricity.
makes this technology useful above and beyond other solar thermal
plants is that the molten salt holds the heat it absorbs up to 24
sunless hours, which means the plant can use it's heat for an
extended amount of time increasing operation hours. Once the molten
salt has cooled, it recycled back into the system where it will be
reheated and used once again to create steam, restarting the process
all over again.
plant, the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, will be a
100-megawatt plant and is expected to generate 480,000 megawatt hours
of electricity annually. The U.S. state received approval for this
project by the Public
Utilities Commission of Nevada on Thursday. In addition,
SolarReserve's subsidiary, Tonopah Solar Energy, signed a power of
purchase agreement with Nevada Energy that will last 25 years and
will provide energy from the plant.
are extremely pleased that NV Energy received approval from the
Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to move forward on this
important energy project," said Kevin Smith, CEO of
SolarReserve. "Solar energy, and particularly solar energy with
thermal storage, can help meet Nevada's renewable energy objectives
while at the same time stimulate the economy by creating solid jobs
in the state."
plant is expected to create 450 construction jobs, 45 permanent jobs
for plant operation and 4,000 indirect jobs for local service
providers and suppliers.
the other hand, Sicily's solar thermal plant, named Archimedes, has
already opened two weeks ago by the European
energy company Enel. It was placed in the town of Priolo Gargallo
in Syracuse, Sicily and will be a 5-megawatt plant.
both solar thermal plants will use molten salt to power them,
Sicily's plant will not work on molten salt alone. The liquid salt
will work in "conjunction" with a gas-powered electricity
plant that was already in use prior to the molten salt technology.
The molten salt will produce the steam exactly the way it will in
Nevada, but the difference is that the steam will power turbines in
the gas plant and "continue to use gas as a supplement."
"Archimedes" has already been running on molten salt for
two weeks, and no reports have yet provided an expected completion
date for Nevada's solar thermal plant.
quote: On the other hand, Sicily's solar thermal plant, named Archimedes, has already opened two weeks ago by the European energy company Enel. It was placed in the town of Priolo Gargallo in Syracuse, Sicily and will be a 5-megawatt plant.
quote: As a new way to store and release solar energy, U.S. state Nevada and Sicily, Italy will both use molten salt to operate solar thermal plants.
quote: which means the plant can use it's heat for an extended amount