A literature review was carried out to critically evaluate the state of the art of thermal energy storage applied to parabolic trough power plants. This survey briefly describes the work done before 1990 followed by a more detailed discussion of later efforts. The most advanced system is a 2-tank-storage system where the heat transfer fluid (HTF) also serves as storage medium. This concept was successfully demonstrated in a commercial trough plant SEGS I plant; storage capacity) and a demonstration tower plant Solar Two; storage capacity). However, the HTF used in state-of-the-art parabolic trough power plants is expensive, dramatically increasing the cost of larger HTF storage systems. Other promising storage concepts are under development, such as concrete storage, phase change material storage, and chemical storage. These concepts promise a considerable cost reduction compared to the direct 2-tank system, but some additional R&D is required before those systems can be used in commercial solar power plants. An interesting and likely cost-effective near-term option for thermal energy storage for parabolic trough power plants is the use of an indirect 2-tank-storage, where another (less expensive) liquid medium such as molten salt is utilized rather than the HTF itself.
Survey of Thermal Energy Storage for Parabolic Trough Power Plants
Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the ASME Solar Energy Division, Feb. 2001; final revision Jan. 2002. Associate Editor: R. Pitz-Paal.
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Herrmann, U., and Kearney, D. W. (April 24, 2002). "Survey of Thermal Energy Storage for Parabolic Trough Power Plants ." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. May 2002; 124(2): 145–152. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1467601
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