eSolar, B&W land up to $10.8 from DOE for concentrated solar project

Source: The Babcock & Wilcox Company 

eSolar, Inc. and its project team member, Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc. (B&W PGG), have been selected to receive up to $10.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to design, build and test a modular, baseload molten salt power plant using concentrated solar power (CSP). B&W PGG is a subsidiary of The Babcock & Wilcox Company. 

B&W PGG’s scope includes a single, full-scale modular molten salt receiver specially designed to fit with eSolar’s technology; molten salt to steam heat exchangers; and a hot/cold molten salt storage system. The program’s goal is to achieve the lowest levelized electricity cost of any utility-scale CSP plant. 

The plant uses a field of mirrors to focus solar energy on a tower-mounted receiver. Molten salt is used to transfer the heat energy concentrated on the receiver to a steam generator, which produces steam used to generate electricity. Molten salt can also be stored for later use during periods when the sun's energy is not available, allowing the plant to generate power up to 18 hours a day. 

“We’re excited about the U.S. government’s support for eSolar and B&W PGG’s development of this important and innovative technology,” said B&W PGG President and Chief Operating Officer Richard L. Killion. “Concentrating solar power and molten salt technology have the potential to play a major role in meeting the nation’s energy needs in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way.” 

B&W PGG’s approach to the plant’s design will reduce the cost of deploying a full-scale molten salt power plant by allowing plant components to be built in a factory and shipped fully assembled to the plant site and by simplifying the plant permitting process. The project is expected to take approximately 2 ½ years to design, build and test.

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