Simultaneously generating electricity and storable heat with a
hybrid solar energy system
A hybrid solar energy system project, funded by ARPA-E, is aimed at advancing new technologies beyond current photovoltaic (PV) and CSP technologies. Disruptive new solar conversion and storage technology options can enable a much higher penetration of solar energy into the U.S. energy mix.
The breakthrough technology simultaneously generates electricity and high-temperature on-demand heat. It has the potential to enable production of renewable power at grid-competitive prices, along with high-quality thermal energy for power producers and industrial facility operators. The thermal energy is stored in inert particles for on-demand use. The new technology could play a role in opening the microgrid market for dispatchable electricity and solar energy use in industrial process heating.
The team composed of GTI, University of California at Merced (UC Merced), and MicroLink Devices, Inc. recently completed successful testing of the hybrid system and met critical ARPA-E project milestones. Based on cost-benefit analysis, the research team is proposing to scale up and demonstrate a 60 kW thermal-only collector with particle thermal energy storage for on-demand process heating at an industrial plant in California.