Some like it hotter

Springs Fabrication and Czero won a competitive research project with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) SunShot program to push the boundaries of energy storage for solar power concentration.

Czero designed a test rig to evaluate thermal energy storage components for higher-temperature molten salt systems, and Springs Fabrication then built the test system for NREL. The system components needed to withstand sustained temperatures of 1,500 °F (815°C) created by an array of mirrors concentrating sunlight on a heliostat that heats salt to a molten state to store the sun’s energy.

Czero engineering enabled higher-temperature thermal energy storage (TES) in these systems, increasing their power yield, making their stored energy more dispatchable, and reducing their total cost.

This technology represents an important step in making solar-powered energy plants more competitive with those powered by fossil fuels.