PROJECT PROFILE: Southern Research Institute

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Funding Opportunity: CSP: APOLLO
SunShot Subprogram: CSP
Location: Birmingham, AL
Amount Awarded: $2,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $998,966

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The Southern Research Institute and its partners will support the scale-up and demonstration of an innovative thermochemical energy storage (TCES) system that will allow CSP facilities to operate around the clock. The work builds on developments from a previously funded SunShot Initiative award that led to Southern Research’s successful development of a low-cost, stable, and durable calcium-based sorbent used in conjunction with carbon dioxide to store thermal energy via chemical reaction. This project was announced on September 16, 2015 at the Solar Power International conference. Read the press release.

APPROACH

Southern Research’s TCES system is projected to cost about one-quarter as much as current state-of-the-art molten salt storage systems and will be able to store the same amount of energy in a system about one-sixth the size. The Southern Research TCES system can also operate sustainably up to 750 degrees Celsius – much higher than current systems.

INNOVATION

This project will demonstrate a novel high-temperature calcium-based thermochemical storage system for use with CSP facilities. This system uses a highly-refined and tailored reinforced calcium-oxide sorbent undergoing a reversible carbonation reaction in a parallel-plate heat exchanger reactor to produce a highly energy dense storage system with sorbent material derived from a very low cost feedstock. These low-cost, regenerative, calcium-based sorbents will be further developed, tested, and refined to perform successfully throughout the entire 30-year life of a CSP plant.

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Dr. Santosh Gangwal and Tim Hansen discuss the thermochemical energy storage system design and results of Southern Research’s proprietary sorbent testing and cycling.