Problems Preventing Wide Adoption of Solar Thermal
A major challenge for widespread adoption of solar thermal power is its cyclical intermittency, daily/monthly insolation variations that require highly efficient, reliable, and low-cost storage. Current Thermal Energy Storage (TES), especially by latent or sensible heat-based storage, operates at significantly high temperatures (300-600°C) to increase efficiencies using steam turbines (20-40%). This is highly capital intensive, requires large size for economic viability, and has frequent breakdowns with high associated maintenance and operation costs. Typically, lower-level heat is wasted (<200°C) due to inefficiencies of the system. Currently, green microgrids require compact and lower-cost TES for deployment into DACs.
Multitude of Benefits
TESOP is an enabler of microgrids with greater resiliency. It offers a safer approach to conventional generators burning fossil fuels to provide reliable power needed after natural disasters. This potentially off-the-grid (microgrid) system does not rely on the central electrical grid. As a result, it is completely self-sufficient in case of grid shut-offs due to forest fire, electrical outages and other natural disasters.
The on-site, 100% closed loop TESOP system is extremely safe. Its room temperature components are inherently safer to maintain, handle, and operate than the high-temperature components used in conventional thermal storage systems.
TESOP is not only a thermal storage, but also a water independent power plant with NO emissions. The TESOP system’s unique capability to convert low-level heat to electricity can significantly reduce or even eliminate cooling water requirements for the conventional power plants, further increasing electrical efficiency and reducing harmful emissions.