We are pleased to announce the development of a highly efficient system to coax a continuous or on-demand supply of electric power from the sun eliminating the intermittency that has forever hobbled solar plants. This success stands on conjugating two of Holtec International’s recent major innovations, HI-THERM CSP and the Green Boiler.
HI-THERM CSP is a high efficiency concentrated solar plant (CSP) and the Green Boiler is a heavily insulated thermal energy storage device with a massive modular heat capacitor that contains a high thermal capacity material called Feorite™. The Green Boiler uses a Feorite™ mass to power an internal steam generator capable of delivering high-pressure/temperature steam at the desired enthalpy level to generate electricity, process steam or portable hydrogen uninterruptedly. The HI-THERM/Green Boiler combo can support continuous generation of power even when the Sun is not shining.
The HI-THERM CSP is unlike the days of yore when the solar concentrator technology succumbed to the economics of photovoltaic/lithium battery mass produced in China. Holtec’s newly configured HI-THERM CSP system boasts a daily average energy capture density as much as 5 MWhth per acre of land in lower latitudes which is as much as five times the capture rate that was achievable using prior art. Even if the unproductive land required for energy storage and the power plant is included, the energy capture density of HI–THERM CSP computes to be ~4 MWhth per acre. For higher latitudes (over 45 degrees) the capture density, as would be expected, would decrease monotonically.
The 24/7 solar power system depicted in the schematic depicts the classical Rankine cycle (steam based); it, at owner’s option, can use the Brayton cycle (CO2 based power cycle) which yields higher thermodynamic efficiency. Unlike batteries, neither HI-THERM nor the Green Boiler use any rare earth or environmentally harmful materials. Also, unlike materials in batteries, Feorite™ does not suffer from the risk of degradation from aging effects which ought to ensure a long service life.
In a related technical development, Holtec has developed the technology to utilize its Green Boiler to convert the relatively moderate enthalpy steam produced by the SMR-160 nuclear power plant into high temperature/high pressure steam in a similar manner as it is paired with the HI-THERM CSP.
“The HI-THERM CSP and the Green Boiler along with our SMR-160 new nuclear technology constitutes the triumvirate of clean energy solutions that hold the promise to give humankind a range of varied and effective means to decarbonize our environmentally struggling planet. This technology would help a significantly greater utilization of the energy produced than has been possible because of the large daily fluctuations in the demand for power that energy providers have to contend with. Our technology will help bridge the rising disparity between the power produced and power consumed due to increased use of renewables,” says Holtec’s CEO, Dr. Kris Singh.
Holtec’s executive in charge of commercial success of HI-THERM CSP, Myron Kaczmarsky, says, “We are hopeful that we will be able to make a prototype demonstration within a year’s time and advance thereafter to a rapidly expanding application of our technology that would make solar power emulate a base load or load-following plant.”
Additional details on the HI-THERM CSP and the Green Boiler will be provided on Holtec’s website, company publications and potential users as soon as the patent applications to protect the underpinning intellectual properties are filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).