Competitive Solar Power Towers

The main objective of this project is to significantly reduce costs of concentrated solar power, in order to increase its competitiveness in the power market. Specifically, the solar-to-electric conversion efficiency of the plant will be improved by increased receiver operating temperatures as well as an innovative power cycle configuration also providing advantages regarding plant operation.

Additionally, improved control methodologies based on dynamic multi-aiming-point strategies for heliostats will further enhance efficiency. Besides the improvement of the plants efficiency and operation, also the construction and operational costs will be minimized via mass production of heliostats and smart heliostat calibration systems.

The global objective of this project is to increase plant efficiencies and reduce levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) by developing all relevant components that allow implementing an innovative plant configuration. This plant configuration is based on a multi-tower decoupled advanced solar combined cycle approach that not only increases cycle efficiencies but also avoids frequent transients and inefficient partial loads, thus maximizing overall efficiency, reliability as well as dispatchability, all of which are important factors directly related to cost competitiveness on the power market.

The core topic of the project, the innovative solar receiver, will be an open volumetric receiver allowing operating temperatures beyond 1200ºC, providing the absorbed solar heat to the pressurized air circuit of the Brayton cycle via a network of fixed bed regenerative heat exchangers working in alternating modes (non-pressurized heating period, pressurized cooling period).