Emerson Network Power and SolarReserve are collaborating to produce and store solar energy in liquid molten salt at the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada. It will be the first project of its kind to harness energy from the sun and store it in this way. The 110-MW project is due to be online by the end of 2013.
SolarReserve’s system of 10,500 mirrors focus the sun’s energy to heat molten salt that flows through a central receiver, which sits atop a 540-foot solar power tower. The molten salt then flows up the tower where it circulates through the receiver and is heated by the sun’s energy. It then flows to another storage tank where steam is produced, using thermal energy, which powers a turbine to generate electricity. Excess thermal energy will be stored in the molten salt.
Emerson’s Ovation technology will directly control the circuit and heating process of the molten salt system, the water/steam cycle and auxiliary processes. The control system will also provide supervisory control of the mirrors and interface with the turbine control system. ?
Enough energy is expected to be generated to power 75,000 homes regardless of whether or not the sun is shining.