U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

SunShot Initiative

Baseload CSP Generation Integrated with Sulfur-Based Thermochemical Heat Storage

General Atomics logo Graphic of a diagram of squares and circles connected by arrows.

Sulfur-based TES can compensate for diurnal and seasonal insolation fluctuations.

General Atomics, under the Baseload CSP FOA, is demonstrating the engineering feasibility of using a sulfur-based thermochemical cycle to store heat from a CSP plant and support baseload power generation.

Approach

There are three main project objectives under this award:

  • Study the sulfur generating disproportionation reaction and develop it into a practical engineering process step.
  • Carry out preliminary process components design and experimental validation. The engineering data will be used for process integration between the CSP plant, the sulfur processing and storage plant, and the electricity generation unit.
  • Demonstrate the economics and safety of a CSP plant integrated with sulfur storage.

Innovation

General Atomics is seeking a better thermal energy storage approach using a thermochemical cycle to convert solar energy into chemical bonds. In this case, the high temperature heat released via a change in the oxidation (combustion) state of the storage medium can be used to drive a gas turbine. This scheme does not rely on temperature gradient for heat recovery, and thus, solar heat can be stored indefinitely in the chemical bonds of the storage medium.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

  • R. Buckingham, B. Wong, L. Brown, C. Sattler, F. Schaube, and A. Woerner. "Metal Oxide Based Thermochemical Energy Storage for Concentrated Solar Power–Thermodynamics and Parasitic Loads for Packed Bed Reactors," Proceedings of 16th Annual SolarPACES Conference, Granada, Spain, 2010.
SunShot logo

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