Full-Scale Solar-Turbine Testing Completed
Southwest Solar Technologies Inc. announced today the successful on-sun testing and proof of concept of a highly advanced solar-turbine power system being developed by the Company.
The full-scale prototype test was the first operational validation of the integrated system, which uses a large parabolic solar dish with mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy to power an air-based open cycle turbine to produce electricity.
This milestone field test was conducted in Phoenix using the Company’s 320-square-meter solar concentrating dish, the largest solar dish in North America. The dish delivered thermal energy in the form of 2000 “suns” of concentrated sunlight into its advanced high-temperature solar thermal receiver. Inside this receiver compressed air was superheated, and that superheated air was used to power a high-speed turbine alternator and produce electrical power.
“The Company believes that integrating a gas turbine engine with a solar dish concentrator has never been achieved on this large scale,” said Brad Forst, CEO. “This is an enormous milestone in our development program. This proof of concept sets the stage for the commercialization of our technology which is well under way,” he said.
The test was the third stage of an integrated development plan. The Company previously announced the commissioning of its solar dish in late 2010, and in June 2011 announced the successful testing and high-temperature performance of its proprietary receiver.
“This system performance gives us confidence that we can achieve significant operational advantages over other concentrating solar power (CSP) systems, such as steam-based trough and power towers that require water cooling, and over typical photovoltaic (PV) that are intermittent in nature,” said Herb Hayden, Chief Technical Officer. “Our unique air-based turbine cycle has the potential for high efficiency, and can be constructed from distributed scale up to any size. It is inherently air-cooled, and so does not use any water for cooling. For firm-power reliability, the turbine may be hybridized with fuel for continued power generation during clouds and evening hours,” Hayden said.
The turboalternator and receiver components were developed in partnership with Brayton Energy LLC, of Hampton, N.H.
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SOURCE: Southwest Solar Technologies Inc."solar dish", concentrating solar power, power towers, scale prototype, solar investments, solar research, solar testing, solar thermal technology, solar turbine, temperature performance, turbine power
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