Odqa’s world-renowned Oxford aerospace product team is developing one-of-a-kind ultra-high temperature solar receiver capable of producing up to 1,500 °C hot gas, unlocking high temperature power cycles for concentrated solar plants and high temperature industrial process heat.
The performance of CSP is limited by the maximum operating temperature of the medium (gas or molten salt) that captures the solar heat in the receiver at the top of the tower. Current systems cannot reach temperatures higher than 600 oC, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to achieve 50 $/MWh (0.05 $/kWh) for CSP has identified high temperature receivers as a key innovation target for the sector. This is because a high temperature system would enable the use of better performing subsystems in the power block and storage that increase production and capacity factors of plants, leading to lower levelized costs of energy.
Odqa’s innovative new receiver is the cornerstone technology the industry has been looking for. Using state of the art aerospace technology, Odqa’s receiver can handle temperatures up to 1,500 oC and concentrations of up to 10,000 suns (10x greater than current technologies).
The high operating temperature unlocks a next-generation system layout for CSP plants with two distinct features:
High Temperature Power Cycles
Current concentrating solar plants use only steam turbines due to the maximum temperature of current receiver mediums. However, at temperatures higher than 600 oC, it becomes possible to integrate high temperature power blocks like air brayton gas cycle on top of steam cycle or direct use of supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle. These different alternatives are under investigation and will give us the opportunity to increase the power output of the same size power plant by up to 100%.
High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage
Odqa’s tower design does not use molten salt, which allows the use of higher temperature thermal energy storage (TES) units made of widely available, cheap materials. Proposed schematics from leading researchers in the field indicate that major cost reductions could be possible at higher temperatures.
Taken together, these improvements increase overall system efficiency, increase power output, and drastically reduces the LCOE of concentrating solar plants. CSP using Odqa’s technology not only undercut the cost of solar pv+storage but also makes it cost-competitive with fossil fuel generation.