FEDS BACK SOLAR TOWER
Wilson Solarpower: Low-cost central receiver tower project fast-tracked, DOE funding doubled
Rikki Stancich, 9 September 2011 (CSP Today)
"…Wilson Solarpower received… US Department of Energy…[fast-tracking for] its project into Phase 2…[with a doubling of] the project's funding…[The] Brayton power tower project with 13 hours of storage… uses air as its thermal transfer medium, removing the water resource constraints associated other CSP technologies. By replacing steel components with ceramics in its microturbine and low-pressure receiver, the technology can handle much higher temperatures (up to 1000 degrees Celsius) and operate at greater efficiency than its steel-based counterparts.
"The system provides on-demand energy by using back-up fuels, such as natural gas or biofuels, combined with a novel thermal storage concept, where 2-hour thermal storage modules can be added to store up to 16 hours of power. The modular technology and can be deployed in almost any terrain, with minimal impact on the physical environment."
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"…After 2 GW of cumulative deployment of a 1750 kWe tower module (that can produce baseload energy), the technology breaks through the price barrier with a LCOE of US$0.077 cents/kWh.
"…[T]his 7.7 cent figure is based not on today's gas prices ($4.71/MBtu) but on a 43% higher figure that the DOE chose to use for the project ($6.75/MBtu). Using today's prices, the projected LCOE is only US$0.069 cents…[and] the LCOE will continue to decline as manufacturing volumes and deployment increase…[T]hose prices assume US manufacturing…"