PROJECT PROFILE: Brayton Energy

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Funding Opportunity: CSP: APOLLO
SunShot Subprogram: CSP
Location: Hampton, NH
Amount Awarded: $2,600,000
Awardee Cost Share: $695,956

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The Brayton Energy project will integrate a solar power plant’s absorber, energy storage system, and power block into one system. By combining these elements, Brayton Energy hopes to develop a synergistic system that is less expensive to assemble, easier to permit and install, and easier to operate and maintain, resulting in low-cost electricity. This project was announced on September 16, 2015 at the Solar Power International conference. Read the press release.

APPROACH

Brayton Energy is coupling its novel solar absorber design with a high-temperature metal hydride thermal energy storage system. This pairing will power a high-efficiency supercritical carbon dioxide turbine engine. All of these components are co-located atop the solar power tower – a layout that departs from conventional designs, but reduces plant losses and simplifies installation and operation. It eliminates the need for costly piping and fluid connections between the receiver and a large centralized element, making the system ideal for modular implementation and growth.

INNOVATION

The system configuration is made possible by the high power density achievable with a metal hydride thermal energy storage system – about 10 times higher than current technologies – being developed at Savannah River National Laboratory. This thermo-chemical system allows electricity to be generated at any time, even after the sun goes down – a capability that is not available to photovoltaic or wind turbine plants – but is compact enough to reside atop the tower.