solar thermal electric

SENER awarded DOE contract for innovative thermal storage system

The multinational engineering company SENER has been awarded a contract by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to contribute to the development of the next generation of highly efficient thermal storage systems for solar thermal electric plants.

The contract is covered by a DOE Funding Opportunity which’s main objective is to improve the dispachability of Solar Energy as well as to reduce its costs with the final aim of deploying utility scale baseload concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in the future.

SENER leads a team which counts on the relevant contributions of the company GrafTech International Ltd. and the University of California at Berkeley, besides the support of potential key suppliers. HELSOLAR (High Efficiency Thermal Storage System for Solar Plants) project proposes to develop a high temperature solid storage concept based on the utilization of graphite. This concept will allow the implementation of energy storage capabilities in a wide range of CSP technologies, in a cost-effective way.

“This is an example of SENER’s continuous effort in R&D and our commitment to provide more efficient Solar Thermal solutions” said Miguel Domingo, responsible for the Solar business at SENER. During the announcement of the awards, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu emphasized that “by investing in the development of low cost solar technologies we can create new jobs and pave the way towards a clean energy future”.

SENER is a private engineering and technology group founded in 1956 in Bilbao (Spain). It employs more than 5,700 professionals and has a turnover of €937 million. SENER performs activities in the engineering field, and is an industrial stakeholder in companies that work in the fields of energy and environment, as well as aerospace. The company is currently the world leader in thermal storage for CSP plants (both parabolic trough and central tower technologies) being responsible for up to 12 molten salt systems which are either in operation, construction or design phase.

Through its Energy and Environment Division, SENER has promoted CSP projects such as Torresol Energy, in which it is also a shareholder, by contributing its own technologies.

For its part, GrafTech is one of the world's largest manufacturers and providers of high quality synthetic and natural graphite and carbon based products and technical and research and development services. It manufactures graphite electrodes, products essential to the production of electric arc furnace steel as well as thermal management, fuel cell and other specialty graphite and carbon products for, and provide services to, the electronics, power generation, solar, oil and gas, transportation, petrochemical and other metals markets.

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