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Golden's NREL Federal Grant: $7 Million For Solar Energy Research

Jean Lotus's picture
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Award-winning journalist and Colorado native with an interest in tech, innovation, natural resources, oil and gas and renewables.

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  • Nov 5, 2018
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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."

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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.

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Bob Meinetz on Nov 5, 2018

Another criminal waste of money.

Here in California, our own $2.2 billion handout to thermal solar developers, the “Ivanpah Solar Power Facility”, is doing more than burning birds in mid-flight and killing desert tortoises - it’s burning more natural gas to generate electricity than a natural gas power plant:

”In 2014, the plant burned 867,740 million BTU of natural gas emitting 46,084 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is nearly twice the pollution threshold at which power plants and factories in California are required to participate in the state’s cap and trade program to reduce carbon emissions.”

Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell thank you for your efforts; birds and tortoises, not so much.

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