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Title: Solar Thermoelectricity via Advanced Latent Heat Storage: A Cost-Effective Small-Scale CSP Application

Abstract

We are developing a novel concentrating solar electricity-generating technology that is both modular and dispatchable. Solar ThermoElectricity via Advanced Latent heat Storage (STEALS) uses concentrated solar flux to generate high-temperature thermal energy, which directly converts to electricity via thermoelectric generators (TEGs), stored within a phase-change material (PCM) for electricity generation at a later time, or both allowing for simultaneous charging of the PCM and electricity generation. STEALS has inherent features that drive its cost-competitive scale to be much smaller than current commercial concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. Most obvious is modularity of the solid-state TEG, which favors smaller scales in the kilowatt range as compared to CSP steam turbines, which are minimally 50 MWe for commercial power plants. Here, we present techno-economic and market analyses that show STEALS can be a cost-effective electricity-generating technology with particular appeal to small-scale microgrid applications. We evaluated levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for STEALS and for a comparable photovoltaic (PV) system with battery storage. For STEALS, we estimated capital costs and the LCOE as functions of the type of PCM including the use of recycled aluminum alloys, and evaluated the cost tradeoffs between plasma spray coatings and solution-based boron coatings that are applied tomore » the wetted surfaces of the PCM subsystem. We developed a probabilistic cost model that accounts for uncertainties in the cost and performance inputs to the LCOE estimation. Our probabilistic model estimated LCOE for a 100-kWe STEALS system that had 5 hours of thermal storage and 8-10 hours of total daily power generation. For these cases, the solar multiple for the heliostat field varied between 1.12 and 1.5. We identified microgrids as a likely market for the STEALS system. We characterized microgrid markets in terms of nominal power, dispatchability, geographic location, and customer type, and specified additional features for STEALS that are needed to meet the needs of this growing power market.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1372036
Report Number(s):
NREL/CP-5500-66810
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Presented at SOLARPACES 2016: International Conference on Concentrating Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems, 11-14 October 2016, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION; concentrating solar power; CSP; STEALS; thermoelectricity; thermal energy

Citation Formats

Glatzmaier, Greg C., Rea, J., Olsen, Michele L., Oshman, C., Hardin, C., Alleman, Jeff, Sharp, J., Weigand, R., Campo, D., Hoeschele, G., Parilla, Philip A., Siegel, N. P., Toberer, Eric S., and Ginley, David S.. Solar Thermoelectricity via Advanced Latent Heat Storage: A Cost-Effective Small-Scale CSP Application. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4984362.
Glatzmaier, Greg C., Rea, J., Olsen, Michele L., Oshman, C., Hardin, C., Alleman, Jeff, Sharp, J., Weigand, R., Campo, D., Hoeschele, G., Parilla, Philip A., Siegel, N. P., Toberer, Eric S., & Ginley, David S.. Solar Thermoelectricity via Advanced Latent Heat Storage: A Cost-Effective Small-Scale CSP Application. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4984362.
Glatzmaier, Greg C., Rea, J., Olsen, Michele L., Oshman, C., Hardin, C., Alleman, Jeff, Sharp, J., Weigand, R., Campo, D., Hoeschele, G., Parilla, Philip A., Siegel, N. P., Toberer, Eric S., and Ginley, David S.. 2017. "Solar Thermoelectricity via Advanced Latent Heat Storage: A Cost-Effective Small-Scale CSP Application". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4984362.
@article{osti_1372036,
title = {Solar Thermoelectricity via Advanced Latent Heat Storage: A Cost-Effective Small-Scale CSP Application},
author = {Glatzmaier, Greg C. and Rea, J. and Olsen, Michele L. and Oshman, C. and Hardin, C. and Alleman, Jeff and Sharp, J. and Weigand, R. and Campo, D. and Hoeschele, G. and Parilla, Philip A. and Siegel, N. P. and Toberer, Eric S. and Ginley, David S.},
abstractNote = {We are developing a novel concentrating solar electricity-generating technology that is both modular and dispatchable. Solar ThermoElectricity via Advanced Latent heat Storage (STEALS) uses concentrated solar flux to generate high-temperature thermal energy, which directly converts to electricity via thermoelectric generators (TEGs), stored within a phase-change material (PCM) for electricity generation at a later time, or both allowing for simultaneous charging of the PCM and electricity generation. STEALS has inherent features that drive its cost-competitive scale to be much smaller than current commercial concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. Most obvious is modularity of the solid-state TEG, which favors smaller scales in the kilowatt range as compared to CSP steam turbines, which are minimally 50 MWe for commercial power plants. Here, we present techno-economic and market analyses that show STEALS can be a cost-effective electricity-generating technology with particular appeal to small-scale microgrid applications. We evaluated levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for STEALS and for a comparable photovoltaic (PV) system with battery storage. For STEALS, we estimated capital costs and the LCOE as functions of the type of PCM including the use of recycled aluminum alloys, and evaluated the cost tradeoffs between plasma spray coatings and solution-based boron coatings that are applied to the wetted surfaces of the PCM subsystem. We developed a probabilistic cost model that accounts for uncertainties in the cost and performance inputs to the LCOE estimation. Our probabilistic model estimated LCOE for a 100-kWe STEALS system that had 5 hours of thermal storage and 8-10 hours of total daily power generation. For these cases, the solar multiple for the heliostat field varied between 1.12 and 1.5. We identified microgrids as a likely market for the STEALS system. We characterized microgrid markets in terms of nominal power, dispatchability, geographic location, and customer type, and specified additional features for STEALS that are needed to meet the needs of this growing power market.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4984362},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 6
}

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  • We report on a new modular, dispatchable, and cost-effective solar electricity-generating technology. Solar ThermoElectricity via Advanced Latent heat Storage (STEALS) integrates several state-of-the-art technologies to provide electricity on demand. In the envisioned STEALS system, concentrated sunlight is converted to heat at a solar absorber. The heat is then delivered to either a thermoelectric (TE) module for direct electricity generation, or to charge a phase change material for thermal energy storage, enabling subsequent generation during off-sun hours, or both for simultaneous electricity production and energy storage. The key to making STEALS a dispatchable technology lies in the development of a 'thermalmore » valve,' which controls when heat is allowed to flow through the TE module, thus controlling when electricity is generated. The current project addresses each of the three major subcomponents, (i) the TE module, (ii) the thermal energy storage system, and (iii) the thermal valve. The project also includes system-level and techno- economic modeling of the envisioned integrated system and will culminate in the demonstration of a laboratory-scale STEALS prototype capable of generating 3kWe.« less
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