U.S. Department of Energy

Brayton Cycle Baseload Power Tower

Wilson logo Photo of a tower in the background with slanted panels connected by a wire in the foreground.

Wilson Solarpower is developing a baseload CSP system to be competitive with conventional power generation (i.e., >85% capacity factor, >85% solar, <15% conventional feedstocks or alternative fuels, < 7 cents/kWh).

Wilson Solarpower, under the Baseload CSP FOA, is validating a proposed utility-scale, Brayton cycle baseload power tower system with a capacity factor of at least 75% and LCOE of $0.09/kWh.

Approach

Wilson is developing, building, testing, and evaluating two prototype components—an unpressurized thermal storage system and an unpressurized solar receiver—as well as a full Brayton cycle system that includes these components. The goal of the project is to identify an optimally sized, Brayton cycle baseload power tower system module of at least 100 kilowatt electrical and to evaluate a single-system module.

Innovation

This project takes a modular approach to CSP power towers using a small Brayton cycle turbine power block that could be shipped to a worksite. Key components include:

  • A high temperature ceramic turbine (50% efficiency)
  • A 97.5%-efficient, high-temperature (1200°C), rotary regenerative, ceramic heat exchanger
  • An unpressurized solar receiver.

These three items compose the transportable power block. Additional development is possible with an unpressurized thermal energy storage system using dry filler material such as alumina.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

At this time, this project does not have published articles, patents, or awards.

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Quarterly Progress Reports

CSP Program Overview

Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.