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MSLOOP 2.0 Report Summary

Project ID: 730609

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MSLOOP 2.0 (Molten Salt Loop 2.0: key element for the new solar thermal energy plants.)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

CSP growth has been slower than expected because SEVERAL ISSUES have not been overcome yet. It is not as cost-efficient as other technologies making difficult its access to the generation mix. Its LOW COST-COMPETITIVENESS comes from the need of a large up-front investment to deploy CSP plants in comparison with conventional energy plants or other renewable facilities. Another not-solved aspect is FLEXIBILITY, since one of the main issues of the electrical market is the complexity to match the supply and demand curves due to the arbitrariness of the sun. Finally, CSP technology brings ENVIRONMENTAL issues. In current CSP plants, soil, groundwater and surface water, air and human presence could be affected by leaks or emissions of synthetic oil used as HTF (heat transfer fluid). Furthermore, specifically, CSP plants need a meaningful amount of water to operate since are often designed to use water for cooling at the back-end of the thermal cycle. These water requirements can result in difficulties in arid areas, e.g. in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, being the region in the world experiencing the hardest water stress.

MSLOOP project is born to offer an innovative solution to overcome the mentioned barriers. MSLOOP aims to validate a business opportunity consisting of developing a cost effective solar field for CSP Parabolic Trough Power Plants using optimized ternary molten salts as HTF with an innovative hybridization system. The result of the project will be a new solution of CSP commercial plant with at least a 20 % LCOE (levelized cost of energy) reduction; capable of providing firm and dispatchable electricity through a disruptive hybrid plant concept and more environmentally sustainable.

In order to achieve the general objective already stated, the MSLOOP Project will manage to obtain the specific objectives:
To increase the CSP Parabolic Trough plant steam cycle performance up to 47%.
To extend the operation temperature range of the technology to 160ºC -550ºC, thus gaining competitiveness.
To set a freezing point in 160 ºC adding security to the operation and reducing operation and maintenance (O&M) costs.
To optimize Service Life of molten salts adding specific additives in order to minimize its degradation up to 565 ºC, reducing maintenance task and LCOE. Life Cycle Analysis of additivated molten salt will be performed.
To improve the performance of the tubes by reducing thermal losses (transmittance, absorbance and emissivity).
To improve storage capacity thanks to the use of ternary molten salts (operating range 160–550ºC), which allows to increase stored energy per volume unit, reducing storage volume needs, and thus, reducing LCOE of the technology.
To supply an electrical nominal power with independence of sun conditions, adjusting to demand curve with extremely short response times, by means of Hybridized Storage System, which can generate electrical power instantaneously.
To decrease the water consumption up to 93 % thanks to implement dry refrigeration without penalizing the CSP plant performance or up to 40 % through a water recovery system from purge of cooling tower system.
To obtain bankability certification in order to guarantee the feasibility in tenders.
To mitigate environmental risks by replacing oil by ternary molten salts as HTF, eliminating in the process a toxic fluid.
To increase the share of CSP parabolic trough technology in generation mix fostering a greenhouse emissions reduction.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The work carried out by the beneficiaries from the commencement of the project to the end of the period (from 01/11/2016 to 31/01/2018) focused on obtaining the engineering, procurement and construction of the improved components of the prototype:

• Molten salts properties and durability (depending on working temperature, atmosphere and additives).
• Adjustments of the collector: new receiver tubes (HCE) adjusted for medium and high temperature and new HCE supports.
• New operation modes, including the hybrid operation with Hysol prototype and new drainage and preheating procedures.
• Reliability improvement thanks to the new preheating with N2 ant to the drainage test line.
• Reduction in water consumption using an innovative wet refrigeration.

During this period, the engineering scopes have been supervised and controlled by cost and financial considerations as a guarantee of future feasibility and LCOE reduction of the final commercial solution.
In addition, a set of simulations based on a fully coupled model have been carried out to performance the behaviour of the prototype during the different operation strategies (normal operation, hybrid operation with Hysol, temperature maintenance during night or long downtimes, preheating procedure and drainage). These results will be validated later with the demo tests performed in the Innovation cluster of Manchasol (Ciudad Real, Spain).

Besides, a suitable promotion of the project results has been facilitated by the production of the logo and visual identity of the project, communication templates, promotional material, and website. The promotional material, templates and the website guarantee an equal look and feel from any communication channel in order to promote the overall corporate branding. On the other hand, some of the results have been presented in Solarpaces 2017 and various papers are being currently prepared.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The MSLOOP solution brings up a new alternative in order to booster the CSP Parabolic Trough plants deployment. Firstly, MSLOOP will contribute to increase the share of green energies in the generation mix helping to achieve the European targets in terms of electricity demand coverage in order to create a sustainable energy model. Secondly, the project proposes the demonstration of pilot loop for CSP Parabolic Trough plants of about 150 MW with ternary molten salts as HTF and it will enable to offer a solution with a high potential in terms of resources, since there are many areas with high DNI to take advantage sun irradiance, with added value on flexibility and mitigating environmental risks. The reduction of the energy price opens a wide market not only in Europe but also in a worldwide dimension. An analysis has been made in order to select the best sites to deploy CSP plants with MSLOOP technology taking into account the highest DNI indicators and SET plan claimed by countries or regions. In Europe, in addition to that, MSLOOP adds the capacity to supply electricity from CSP plants in Southern Europe to Central and Northern European countries adapted to the demand curves thanks to the hybridized storage system.

MSLOOP aims to prove the increase cost-competitiveness, in terms of CAPEX and OPEX , of the technology by carrying out innovative solutions. In comparison with the most commercialised CSP plants, the objective is to reduce the LCOE at least a 20%. MSLOOP will improve the storage capacity of existing CSP plants and it will be configured to make possible the integration of a hybrid plant concept, providing with firm and dispatchable electricity using 100% renewable energy sources. MSLOOP will mitigate the oil issues by using a friendlier HTF with environment and will reduce the water consumption without penalizing the CSP plant performance.

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