Condenser cooling is a major challenge for CSP and ISCC (Integrated solar combined cycle plants), since such plants are typically located in arid desert areas. It represents one of the significant barriers to the growth of CSP as a renewable, low carbon technology. Indeed, the approval process for Beacon Solar, the first new CSP plant to be approved in California in 20 years, required a solution to local residents’ objections to the great amount of water the project would need (1.97 million cubic meters annually).
Other challenges include extending the electricity generation period beyond daylight hours and meeting both peak and base-load demand.
2OC’s iQuadgen® Hybrid CSP combines CSP and ISCC plants with gas pressure reduction sites to achieve:
- Increased total plant output
- Improved electrical efficiency
- Reduced capital costs.
This innovative hybrid plant design would reduce the development cost for a typical CSP plant from $17.5 million per MW to $5.4 million per MW at today’s prices for a typical sized plant. Adding a fuel cell or engine, running on bio-energy, to provide heat when the solar heat source is not available, could further reduce this to $4.3 million, although with increased operating cost to reflect the fuel needed to run the engine.