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Sandia-AREVA Commission Solar Thermal/Molten Salt Energy-Storage Demonstration

AREVA and Sandia began operations of their molten salt energy-storage demonstration plant designed specifically for use with AREVA’s compact linear Fresnel reflector (CLFR) technology. Funded partially by DOE, this full-scale project is being carried out at Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) in Albuquerque.

The demonstration project at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) combines AREVA's compact linear Fresnel reflector (CLFR) technology (top) with Sandia's molten salt test loop (MSTL, bottom) to capture solar thermal energy and store it for dispatch night or day.

The demonstration project at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) combines AREVA’s compact linear Fresnel reflector (CLFR) technology (top) with Sandia’s molten salt test loop (MSTL, bottom) to capture solar thermal energy and store it for dispatch night or day.

Thanks to their significant collaboration, AREVA’s solar team and Sandia’s molten-salt technology experts have developed an innovative approach to energy storage that combines the molten salt test loop (MSTL) with AREVA’s CLFR applications. The result is a reliable and competitive solution which optimizes the benefits of CLFR technology by ensuring that the energy captured can be dispatched night or day through the use of molten-salt storage.

The successful test results demonstrate that the use of molten salt as a working fluid enables high-temperature operations, reduces the volume of salt needed for storage, and removes the need for two sets of heat-exchangers in the system. These efficiencies decrease the system’s overall cost and complexity. As part of the project, Sandia-AREVA team will also study the optimization of operations and maintenance costs related to molten-salt management in a real-world environment.

Sam Shakir, AREVA Solar CEO, said, “This innovative storage solution combines our proven and economical CLFR technology with the demonstrated use of molten salt as a heat-transfer and -storage fluid. Together, these technologies provide a solution to capture the sun’s energy sun during the day and economically deliver renewable power to the grid at any time.”

“This is an enabling technology that provides a possible path to realizing the Department of Energy-driven SunShot program goal to reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems to $.06 per kilowatt-hour by 2020,” said Subhash Shinde, Sandia’s manager for Concentrating Solar Technology.

Download a Sandia fact sheet on the Molten Salt Test Loop.

Read the Sandia news release.

Read the AREVA news release.

Watch a brief video about this demonstration project.

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