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DOE to invest more than $5M for concentrating solar power

Additional $7.2M available to help national labs commercialize proven technologies



An example of a solar power device.

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner today announced DOE will invest $5.2 million in funding to support the development of low-cost Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). As part of the Department’s technology transfer efforts, DOE will also make available a Technology Commercialization Development Fund (TCDF) of up to $7.2 million to three of DOE’s National Laboratories to support commercialization of clean energy technologies. Together, these projects will help advance President Bush’s energy initiatives by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and moving new clean energy technologies into the marketplace. Assistant Secretary Karsner made the announcements at the American Council on Renewable Energy’s National Policy Conference.

“Under the President’s leadership, DOE is not only supporting research and development of clean energy technologies, but is accelerating their commercialization to a rate and scale necessary to meet growing energy demand and combat climate change,” Assistant Secretary Karsner said. “Our National Laboratories lead the world in energy innovation and DOE is now giving them the support to commercialize their innovations.”

The twelve CSP projects selected for negotiation of awards totaling up to $5.2 million (Fiscal Year 2007; and FY’08, subject to Congressional appropriations) are integral to President Bush’s Solar America Initiative (SAI), which seeks to make solar energy cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015. With cost-sharing, the total public-private investment will total nearly $6.6 million. These projects aim to develop technology that dramatically reduces the cost of CSP power and emphasizes the development of storage technologies. Specifically, CSP project goals include reducing the cost of solar power to be regularly available at less 10 cents/kWh by 2015.

CSP systems use the heat generated by concentrating and absorbing the sun’s energy to produce thermal energy. This type of solar energy can be used immediately for generating power through a steam turbine or heat engine or it can be saved as thermal energy for later use. Storage of solar energy in this manner removes the intermittency of sunlight, making it “dispatchable” and thus enabling CSP systems to provide energy to homes and businesses day or night. Projects categories include: (1) thermal storage; (2) trough component manufacturing; and (3) advanced CSP systems and/or components.

As part of the Department’s efforts to move post-research technologies toward commercial viability, DOE will also make available up to $7.2 million (FY’07) to three of its laboratories as part of the TCDF. TCDF will provide pre-venture capital funding for prototype development, demonstration projects, market research, and other deployment activities. The National Renewable Energy Lab will receive up $4 million; Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive up to $2.5 million; and Sandia National Laboratories will receive up to $700,000. The labs will use this funding to support the full-scale commercialization of clean energy and efficiency technologies. TCDF projects and contractual agreements will be administered by each lab with input and oversight from DOE.

Concentrating Solar Power Projects Selected for Negotiation of Awards:

3M (St. Paul, MN)
3M will develop abrasion-resistant, anti-soiling protective acrylic front surfaces on silvered polymeric mirrors as low-cost replacements for thick glass mirrors in parabolic trough CSP installations. The project objective aims to reduce the installed system cost and levelized cost of energy for CSP trough installations. DOE will provide up to $350,000 for the $437,000 project.

Alcoa (Alcoa Center, PA)
Alcoa will develop an aluminum intensive collector (supporting structure and reflector) to reduce the installed system cost and levelized cost of energy for CSP trough installations. DOE will provide up to $400,000 for the $500,000 project.

Brayton Energy (Hampton, NH)
Brayton Energy will develop Solar Compressed Air Turbine technology, based upon Brayton micro-turbine technology, and including compressed air energy storage, to reduce the cost of CSP dish engine system installations. DOE will provide up to $300,000 for the $377,000 project.

Hamilton Sundstrand (Canoga Park, CA)
Concentrating Solar Power – Central Receiver Panel Hamilton Sundstrand will validate the manufacturability of a large molten salt receiver panel and confirm its operation in prototypic solar flux to reduce the cost of CSP power tower technology through economies of scale. DOE will provide up to $320,000 of the $400,000 project.

Hamilton Sundstrand was selected for a second project in which it will design, build, and test a long-shafted, molten salt pump that will enable large scale thermal storage system of commercial-scale CSP parabolic trough plants. DOE will provide up to $362,000 of this $452,000 project.

Infinia (Kennewick, WA)
Infinia Corporation will develop a 30-kW, maintenance-free, multi-cylinder, free-piston, Stirling engine for high-performance dish CSP to overcome engine reliability, lifetime, and O&M barriers related to dish-Stirling engine CSP systems. DOE will provide up to $321,000 of the $408,000 project.

PPG Industries (Pittsburgh, PA)
PPG Industries will develop and commercialize large-area, low-cost, high performance mirrors, through alternate materials, structures, and fabrication processes for reflector components, to enable lower cost CSP parabolic trough technology. DOE will provide up to $323,000 of the $403,000 project.

Skyfuel (New York, NY)
SkyFuel, Incorporated will develop a high-temperature CSP system, using linear Fresnel reflective technology, designed to use molten salt heat transfer fluids and direct thermal storage to lower delivered electricity costs from utility-scale power plants. DOE will provide up to $435,000 of the $589,000 project.

Solar Millennium (Berkeley, CA)
Solar Millennium will develop a high-performance, low-cost parabolic trough collector with the potential to operate with a molten salt heat transfer fluid. DOE will provide up to $376,000 of the $470,000 project.

Solucar (Lakewood, CO)
Solucar, Incorporated, will develop an advanced parabolic trough collector and components to lower the cost of CSP thermal power plants. DOE will provide up to $499,000 of the $624,000 project.

Solucar was also selected to develop a low-cost, advanced polymeric reflector for CSP applications to lower the cost of CSP parabolic trough power plants. DOE will provide up to $448,000 for $560,000 project.

Solucar was selected for a third project in which it will develop technology for direct use of molten-salt heat transfer fluids in parabolic trough solar power plants to lower the cost of energy storage for CSP thermal power plants. DOE will provide up to $1.09 million of the $1.39 million project.

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For more information on the President’s Solar America Initiative and DOE’s commercialization efforts, visit: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

 

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