Abengoa together with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Colorado School of Mines, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a new solar energy storage technology for thermo-electric plants.
The program will last for two years and will require an investment of $1.76 million by the DOE.
Abengoa will be responsible for leading the systems integration work and the technical-financial analysis, focusing on the commercial potential of this technology in future solar plant projects.
The capacity to generate electricity on demand, making it manageable, is one of the most important characteristics of solar thermal energy compared to other types of renewable energy. The storage system enables clean energy to be produced at maximum output without using the solar field, which can be used to supply peak demand times during the day.
This manageability also solves the problems of intermittency inherent in other renewable energies, such as wind or photovoltaic power, since it enables supply to remain stable, increasing the value of solar-thermal energy.
This project is part of the SunShot Initiative carried out by the DOE, which seeks to promote innovation in order to make the cost of solar power more competitive compared with traditional sources, before the end of the decade.
This new research program will consolidate Abengoa’s leadership position in developing innovative technology solutions for sustainability, specifically in the field of solar R&D in which the company has carried out major research programs.
As a result of this investment, Abengoa currently has 1,223 MW of installed capacity in commercial operation and 430 MW under construction, including both solar-thermal and photovoltaic technology. Moreover, it is the leading company for solar-thermal power and one of the few companies in the world that constructs and operates solar-thermal plants using both tower and parabolic trough technologies.