Golden's NREL Federal Grant: $7 Million For Solar Energy Research
- Nov 5, 2018 12:30 pm GMTNov 4, 2018 1:20 am GMT
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GOLDEN, CO -- Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory received $7 million in federal grant funding for solar energy research, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday. The grant is part of a $72 million package aimed at developing solar energy systems that can generate extreme heat for industry and thermal storage systems.
NREL's Pathway to SunShot team, led by Principal Investigator Craig Turchi, proposes a "molten salt power tower." According to the Dept. of Energy, the project will "design, develop, and test a two-megawatt thermal system consisting of the solar receiver, thermal energy storage tanks and associated pumps, heat exchangers, piping, valves, sensors, and heat tracing."
The idea is to increase the storage capacity of thermal energy collected from solar power. The best commercially available technologies can only reach 565 °C, the agency said.
The Generation 3 CSP project hopes to create high-temperature thermal systems that can reach at least 700 °C, which would boost the efficiency and lower the cost of the electricity, the agency said. The agency's goal is to lower the cost of a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of power by 5 cents by the year 2030. If successful, these projects have the potential to lower the cost by 2 cents per kWh.