The DoE (Department of Energy) announced May 7, 2010 a budget of $62 million over a period of five years for low cost solar technologies, namely solar thermal concentrator (CSP), the objective that 10-15% of electricity is from solar by 2030. Projects proposed for funding must take into account the problem of storing energy. These funds are intended to accelerate the commercial phase of CSP technologies and provide an alternative to coal-fired power plants.
The CSP aims to concentrate and capture the sun’s energy as heat, which is, by then converted into electricity using turbines. 13 projects should receive funding announced, with the common goal of increasing the autonomy of power 18 hours a day. For this, the selected projects will explore the development of new materials to store heat over long time periods to allow the station to operate after sunset.
Among the 13 selected projects, 10 should focus on research and development of new storage materials and improving energy efficiency of thermal systems. Each of these projects would receive an envelope between $1.4 and $4.5 million. The remaining funds should be allocated to three major projects aimed at assessing the potential of this energy as a source of baseload electricity generation (so that renewable energy is typically used as energy for the production of peak). The development of new storage materials allow it to store heat over long time periods and thus increase the backup time of these plants. In this context, companies Abengoa Solar, Inc. eSolar. And Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, located in Colorado for the first and California for the other two, should reach nearly $11 million each.