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Siemens to test molten salt CSP in Portugal

Siemens is building a molten salt concentrating solar power (CSP) test facility in Portugal to test molten salt as a heat transfer medium for CSP.

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

The facility is part of the High-Performance Solar Thermal Power research project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

The parabolic-trough CSP facility will have a 300 m long test loop that will be operated molten salt temperatures above 500°C, compared to thermo oil which cannot go above 400°C.

The higher temperature is expected to result in more efficient operation of the steam turbine generating electricity.

Siemens says the molten salt will consist of a refined form of the salts usually deployed in CSP facilities, but also salts of a different composition. One of the challenges will be to find a salt composition with a low melting point to avoid freezing in the systems.

The CSP receiver tubes are made by Archimede Solar Energy (ASE), in which Siemens holds a 45% stake. ASE CSP molten salt receiver tubes are already being used in the Priolo Gargallo demonstration plant in Sicily, Italy.

Siemens will build the molten salt CSP facility together with partners including the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), K+S AG, Senior Berghöfer GmbH and Steinmüller Engineering GmbH. The site and plant infrastructure will be made available b the Portugese utility Energias de Portugal’s (EdP) innovation unit, EDP Inovação.

Further details of the CSP test facility are not available, but a Siemens spokesperson tells Renewable Energy Focus that construction will start mid-May 2011.

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