High-Efficiency Solar Plant – CSP
MOLTEN SALT Project
Concentrated Solar Plants (CSP) generate solar power by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a small area. The receiver tubes positioned above these mirrors contain molten salt which can reach temperatures up to 550°C and appropriately conveyed and stored, it can be a steam source for conventional or combined cycle power stations, almost without interruption.
The functional and commercial problems that immediately appeared were the following:
- to maintain a suitable temperature to keep the salts at fluid state (not less than 200°C);
- to solve the chemical aggression and corrosion caused by the molten salt media.
- Reach CSP efficiency above 20%.
- New material solution.
- Innovative CSP system architectures.
Companies involved in the project included:
Fumagalli, ENEA as well as other research institutes: Fraunhofer Institute (DE), The Slovak Academy of Schienze (SK) and Cemhti (FR).
The challenge was to develop durable material solutions to enhance system conversion efficiency and preserving the overall lifespan of products and parts.
Fumagalli were chosen to supply all the on/off valves. This followed their successful supply to other projects: “Archimede” (ENEL) and “Archimede Solar Energy” (Chiyoda). Here, Fumagalli supplied all valves for the mirror lines, the hot and cold salts storage tanks and the steam system.
Today FUMAGALLI produce a series of valves for molten salt studied in cooperation with ENEA Research Institute from which this idea is started with the insight of Nobel laureate Carlo RUBBIA.
Several of these valves were tested with positive results at ENEA’s “Mose” Pilot Plant and at their Laboratories at “Casaccia di Roma”.