- Concentrated solar power (CSP) along with thermal energy storage (TES) has the potential to provide reliable energy from an intermittent source. TES is used to store energy while the sun is shining, allowing for the stored energy to be used when the sun is no longer shining. There are many types of TES that can be used but thermochemical energy storage (TCES) has unique capabilities that makes it more desirable than other technologies. TCES can be stored indefinitely using a reversible reaction with high energy density.
Air can be used to directly transfer heat to and from a BaO/BaO2 cycle, a type of TCES, during both on and off sun hours. This ability means the BaO/BaO2 cycle can be integrated with a compressor, gas turbine, and CSP to produce consistent energy from an intermittent source. This eliminates the number heat exchangers and working fluid involved in the power plant.
This combination was modeled using MATLAB in a parallel configuration with limited complexity to determine the efficiency and viability of this TCES technology for a 50 MWe plant with 16 hours of off sun storage for continuous power production. Cycle solar to electric conversions of 6-12% were achieved for this system at a maximum receiver temperature of 1600 K. The efficiency of this simple system warrants further analysis into the economics of the system to determine whether or not the system is truly viable.