Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Receives CSP Research Contract

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a United Technologies Corp. company, has received an award of up to $10.2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to design and develop technologies aimed at lowering electricity costs using a concentrating solar power (CSP) tower with thermal storage.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has developed designs for the technology that use thousands of articulating mirrors (heliostats) to track the sun and reflect solar energy onto a receiver mounted atop a 600-foot-tall tower. Liquefied molten salt is circulated into the receiver, where it is heated to about 1,000 degrees F, then stored in a large insulated tank. The energy from this stored molten salt is available on-demand to drive a steam turbine to create electricity.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has provided the worldwide exclusive license to SolarReserve, a solar power project company, for the molten salt power tower and heliostat technologies.

As part of the DOE contract to lower costs and increase CSP power tower capacity, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne says it will optimize system performance and efficiency; use advanced manufacturing techniques that better absorb energy into the receiver; develop a higher-performance, lower-cost second-generation heliostat system; and incorporate a new thermal storage system.

SOURCE: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

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