Novel Thermal Storage

Believe it or not, with hundreds upon hundreds of entries – most of them lengthy diatribes filled with quantitative factoids – we have never posted a press release. Well everything comes in good time, and this is an interesting press release. Heat transfer and heat storage fluid indeed! This is the missing link, the central point, the integrative catalyst for a competitive alternative energy industry. This is energy storage and management at a level where thermal and electric are equally managed on one system. This is cheaper at macro and micro levels because systems are integrated and thermal-electric conversion is efficient. This is PVs cooled with fluid that harvests heat and routes it everywhere. See “Thermal Circulation Systems,” and “Redistributing Thermal Mass.”

The flower of innovation in full bloom.
(Borago officinalis)

Well it isn’t just us, it’s them too, the U.S. Dept. of Energy, who want to know where the next generation designs are for building-scale or even city-scale (witness neighborhood thermal distribution systems using co-gen heat from coal plants in Denmark, for example) thermal systems. Harvesting, managing and storing energy at various scales using a thermal transfer fluid. Sweet. Where are the credible companies already innovating these crucial technologies – systems to perform building and neighborhood integrated thermal energy management? Here goes:


Funding Opportunity Announcement:

Advanced Heat Transfer Fluids and Novel Thermal Storage Concepts for Concentrating Solar Power Generation

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Program has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled, “Advanced Heat Transfer Fluids and Novel Thermal Storage Concepts for Concentrating Solar Power Generation.” This FOA solicits proposals from industry and academia to take on key challenges related to this growing need in concentrating solar power (CSP). It will support research, development, and demonstration of novel thermal energy storage concepts and improved heat transfer fluids to further increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of promising CSP technologies.

About $60 million is expected to be available for new awards under this announcement during a project period of 3 to 4 years. DOE anticipates making 10 to 25 awards under this announcement, depending on the size of the awards. Awards will be made for both long-term research and development and near-term demonstrations, with awards ranging from $125,000 to $14,000,000, including cost-sharing.

The Solar Program considers CSP technologies to be the most attractive option for meeting utility-scale electricity needs in the U.S. Southwest. Currently, 350 megawatts of generating capacity are located in California’s Mojave Desert, with portions of this capacity generating electricity for more than the last 20 years (see Assessment of Potential Impact of Concentrating Solar Power for Electricity Generation (PDF 1.4 MB). Download Adobe Reader. CSP technology is currently in various stages of development or deployment throughout the U.S. Southwest, as well as in Spain, Israel, Africa, and the Middle East.

The current cost of energy for CSP plants is in the range of 13–17 cents per kilowatt-hour. The goal is to achieve cost-competitive power in intermediate power markets by 2015 and in carbon-constrained baseload power markets by 2020. Critical to achieving these goals is the development of inexpensive thermal storage.

Applications for this solicitation are due on or before Thursday, July 10, 2008. For more information on this FOA, visit the Financial Opportunities page or Grants.gov. The Funding Opportunity Number (FON) is DE-PS36-08GO98032.


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