U.S. Department of Energy

Modular and Scalable Baseload Molten Salt Plant Conceptual Design and Feasibility

eSolar logo Photo of a brown plot of land with small buildings in the center, surrounded by hexagon spaces drawn on top.

Shown is eSolar's 100-MW, 75% capacity factor plant configuration.

eSolar, under the Baseload CSP FOA, is designing a 100-MW, 75% capacity factor, molten salt power tower plant, based around a molten salt receiver and heliostat field module with a nominal thermal rating of 50 MWth. They are taking a modular approach, which can be scaled through replication of the receiver/field module to meet output and capacity factor requirements.

Approach

eSolar has developed the preliminary design of its first commercial molten salt CSP plant, including all molten salt components (receiver, field piping, thermal storage, and steam generator) and their integration with eSolar's heliostat technology and a conventional reheat steam turbine power block. In the final phase of this project, a full prototype module will be designed, built, and demonstrated, greatly reducing most technical risks associated with commercial deployment. This prototype will include:

  • A fully qualified solar receiver system
  • A next-generation solar collector system
  • A sub-scale thermal storage system
  • An advanced steam generation system.

Innovation

eSolar is pioneering the design, construction, and testing of a full-scale molten salt power plant module with an optimized salt receiver, heliostats, salt transport system, thermal storage system, and steam generator. Key components include:

  • A modular molten salt power tower design utilizing shorter towers (100 meters), which will enable rapid deployment and custom scaling of capacity factor without re-engineering the entire system
  • Smaller, mass-produced, factory-built heliostats (1.1 m2)
  • A modular, factory-built salt receiver
  • A distributed molten salt transport system
  • Hybridization with natural gas or biofuels.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

  • J. E. Pacheco, C. Moursund, D. Rogers; D. Wasyluk. "Conceptual Design of a 100 MWe Modular Molten Salt Power Tower Plant" in Proceedings of SolarPACES 2011, Granada Spain, September 20-23, 2011.
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Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.