Advances in thermal storage
Significant advances are currently taking place in the field of thermal storage. Abengoa continues to invest its own resources in such technology and is involved in a number of projects and programs in its search for leadership in the energy sector.
A few weeks ago we discussed a number of the energy challenges that must be addressed in order to achieve the objectives set by the European Union for reducing greenhouse gases emissions. Thermal storage in solar plants proves to be a good solution in reaching these requirements since it adds the value of dispatchability to power generation, thus giving solar thermal power a significant competitive advantage over other renewables.
There are two central paths of development to make thermoelectric solar energy more competitive:
- The continuous improvement of technologies that are currently commercialized by Abengoa.
- New plant concepts which achieve the operating conditions that permit the thermal-electricalconversion efficiencies to be improved and therefore reduce cost/production ratios.
“With a view to boosting new technologies, Abengoa has invested its own resources and has sought strategic partners to coordinate with.
To this goal, Abengoa has invested its own resources and sought strategic partners to coordinate with in the design and development of these objectives. In addition, it has already requested sources of complementary funding in order to help promote new technologies. The line of work that has been prioritized can be highlighted towards optimizing the storage technology in molten salts that is based on the binary mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate through the understanding and analysis of the breakdown and corrosion mechanisms that are associated with them.
By means of its storage strategy, Abengoa also seeks to develop new solar thermal plant technology based on thermochemical cycles, as a proposed technological solution that will lead to cheaper electricity generation from solar sources. This line of work is aimed at power plants that use solar tower receivers. Abengoa’s commitment to this technology is founded on the potential cost reduction that the tower plants offer compared to the other technologies in the commercial portfolio, namely parabolic cylinder collectors, Fresnel and Stirling motors.
“In terms of thermal storage, 2016 has been a fruitful year for Abengoa and advances made in this field with the concession of new subsidized projects from European tenders.
In terms of thermal storage, 2016 has been a fruitful year for Abengoa with the concession of new subsidized projects from European tenders.
Abengoa and its partners are studying the validation of thermochemical cycles in processes such as the production of cement or fuels through the European Commission’s H2020 program. The Soltpart grant project seeks the validation of a pilot plant for cement making, and the Sun-to LIQUID project aims to validate the very first kerosene solar plant on a demo scale.
Lastly, we can say that Abengoa sees thermal storage as a key product in its business portfolio so that it is not only limited to the development of storage systems for concentration plants, as its products also meet the demands from other sectors, such as the heat industry and the optimization of energy processes. Storage with phase change materials or regenerative systems continue to make up the products designed. Ongoing training given to technicians in these knowledge areas ensures the continuous improvement of such systems.
To this end, Abengoa is also involved in the InpathTES project, that was awarded in the H2020 tender and which is designed in collaboration with centers of reference for international doctoral programs in energy storage.