DOE Invests $60M to Reduce Cost of CSP Technologies

The Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking contenders for a three-year-long funding opportunity for applied scientific research to advance novel concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The $60 million investment is part of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, a collaborative effort to reduce the cost of solar energy 75% and make it cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.

“Our nation is in a global race to produce cost-competitive renewable energy that can create manufacturing jobs, cut our reliance on fossil fuels, and reduce carbon emissions,” said Secretary Steven Chu. “The funding announced today through the SunShot Initiative will help unleash the vast potential of solar energy to diversify our energy portfolio, create clean energy jobs, and re-establish U.S. global leadership in this fast growing industry.”

Through this solicitation, the DOE seeks to support research into technologies that have the potential to dramatically increase efficiency, lower costs, and deliver more reliable performance than existing commercial and near-commercial CSP systems. The DOE expects to fund approximately 20 to 22 projects, and encourages industry, universities, and national laboratories to apply.

This SunShot CSP opportunity seeks to develop innovative concepts that could lead to performance breakthroughs like improving efficiency and temperature ranges, and demonstrate new approaches in the design of collectors, receivers, and power cycle equipment used in CSP systems.

Each of these subsystems is critical to CSP operation, the DOE said. The collectors collect and concentrate the sun’s energy onto the receiver; the receiver accepts and transfers the heat energy to the power cycle; and the power cycle converts the heat energy into electricity. “Developing low-cost collectors, high-temperature receivers, and high-efficiency power cycles should lead to subsequent system integration, engineering scale-up, and eventual commercial production for clean electricity generation applications.”

Sources: POWERnews, DOE

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