via the Los Angeles Times:
Santa Monica firm says it has found a way to salt away electricity, literally
by Ivan Penn | March 20, 2016
In the energy world, the ability to store electricity at an affordable price is the treasure sought by utility engineers and financial wizards.
SolarReserve believes it has found a solution.
The Santa Monica company recently completed what it touts as a first-of-its-kind solar power plant that stores electricity using salt. The facility, in Nevada between Reno and Las Vegas, is 20 times larger than a SolarCity-Tesla solar and storage operation in Hawaii, which incorporates batteries.
Called Crescent Dunes, the SolarReserve power plant is a 110-megawatt facility with 10 hours of energy storage. That translates into 1,100 megawatt hours of storage, enough to power 75,000 homes. In other words, the facility can run for an additional 10 hours at the full 110 megawatt output just from the stored energy, with zero sunshine.
Crescent Dunes manages this by using rings of billboard-size mirrors to reflect the sun onto a tower filled with salt. The molten salt boils water, producing steam that powers electricity-generating turbines.
For now, the biggest advantage of a facility such as Crescent Dunes, the company said, is that it doesn’t require natural gas or other fossil fuels, yet it can run round-the-clock. (Read More)
Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times