Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) means generating electricity by means of solar power stations. Steam generated from solar power plants is appropriate for a number of applications in the sunniest regions of the world.
Central power generation in large scale power plants
The focussing of solar rays onto a receiver can generate extremely high temperatures. To generate power, steam produced by solar heat is transferred to a conventional steam turbine that generates electricity. The electricity is then fed into the local grid. By integrating thermal energy storage based on liquid salt, solar power plants can store electricity at low cost and provide it on demand, which is a huge advantage compared to competing renewable technologies.
Hybrid power plants
CSP can be integrated within a power plant with additional steam generation based on other fuels (fossil or renewable). The additional steam of the solar field may either reduce or increase the plant’s capacity with continuous use of fuel. This means that a continuous base load supply of electricity is possible; i.e. reliable power generation comparable to conventional power plants can be made available to the grid. CSP is also ideal for power generation in addition to wind and photovoltaics, to enable secure base load coverage without expensive electricity storage.
CSP can provide energy for a number of applications, starting with hot water withal the way to superheated steam. This means that regions with high solar radiation can use CSP instead of boilers operating on fossil fuels.
Industrial process steam
CSP has the optimum capacity to provide steam for medium temperature applications, as required in food, textile or chemical industries. Steam generated by solar power is fed directly into the industrial system.
As temperatures and the population density increase, the demand for refrigeration systems is also increasing. CSP can provide the steam necessary to provide cooling.
As the international demand for drinking water keeps rising, desalination of sea water is gaining significance. Naturally, in regions with high solar radiation, there is a particularly high demand for potable water. In these regions, solar energy can be used to desalinate water and may be decisive for a stable and sustainable supply of drinking water.
Enhanced Oil Recovery
By injecting steam into an oil field, the temperature rises and the viscosity of oil decreases, making the oil easier to extract. CSP can provide the steam and replace conventional fossil boilers which are conventionally used in this application.