Novatec Solar and chemicals firm BASF have commissioned a solar thermal demonstration plant based on a new type of molten salt technology, known as direct molten salt (DMS).
Located on the site of the solar thermal power plant PE1 in southern Spain (pictured), the new plant design uses inorganic molten salt as heat transfer fluid allowing much higher temperatures to be reached that the typical heat transfer oils used in most concentrating solar power (CSP) installations.
Furthermore, the energy can either be directly converted into electrical power or be stored in large molten salt tanks during periods of low demand, helping to ensure grid stability.
Over the coming months, the Fresnel-type demonstration collector will be used to experimentally simulate a large number of different operating conditions and study the impacts on long-term operability.
“The initial results of the DMS demo plant have confirmed our expectations of the technology. We are delighted that we can now offer solar thermal power plants with molten salt technology and thermal storage on a commercial basis,” says Andreas Wittke, CEO of Novatec Solar.
“Our knowledge of salt chemistry and the new technology concepts are contributing to a significant improvement in the efficiency of solar thermal power plants,” added Kerstin Dünnwald, Head of Business Management for Inorganic Chemicals at BASF.
The DMS demonstration collector project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) following a decision by the German parliament.