Renewable energies are
becoming increasingly important. The problem is that they are subject to
seasonal and often even daily fluctuations. Storage solutions are needed to
cope with this. In the case of concentrated solar power (CSP), they are already
being provided by molten salt, a promising technology that MAN ES also wants to
be part of with MAN MOSAS, its molten salt energy storage product. “Our aim is
to establish this process as another mainstay for our Deggendorf site,” says
Christian Schuhbauer, Head of New Business, a new department set up in August
2020. The experience is there, as the site has been manufacturing
molten-salt-cooled tube bundle reactors for the chemical industry for 70 years.
The team recently won
its first order, as a result of which MAN ES is to build a molten salt circuit
for the new solar power tower at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Jülich.
The first tower has been in operation since 2011. The molten salt circuit will
be used for joint research into how to obtain greater efficiency and therefore
cheaper electricity from such installations with higher temperatures. “The
emphasis is on developing the receiver, that is to say the part of the solar
power tower where the sunlight is focused and the heat is transferred to the
salt,” Markus Stetka, Project Manager in New Business, explains.
The size of the project
necessitated a Europe-wide tendering procedure. “As we supplied the basic
engineering and therefore the basis for the salt circuit for an upstream
research project with the DLR, we were known to be a reliable partner. That no
doubt influenced the decision in our favor,” Stetka explains. The new order
includes detailed engineering, manufacturing/procurement, installation and
commissioning. This is scheduled for late 2021, with the initial results being
expected a year or two later. The project will benefit not just the DLR, but us
too: “We will gain experience in production and the interaction of key
components. What is more, the order is an excellent reference in this new
business area,” says Stetka.
As MAN MOSAS offers a wide range of possible applications and can be used for all renewable energies, the solution has great potential – not just for MAN ES, but for the energy transition in Germany too.
Whereas the use of molten
salt storage is already common in solar energy, it is still at the research
stage for wind and photovoltaic systems. The principle is simple to explain:
The salt is heated to around 570 degrees Celsius with renewable electricity
using electric heaters or heat pumps and then stored in large tanks. If
electricity is required, the heat in the salt is used to generate steam for a
turbine. Then the cycle begins again. “The liquid salt is a thermal battery for
renewable energies,” Norbert Anger, Site Manager Deggendorf, explains. The
advantages are that the salt is unpressurized, non-toxic and long-lasting. This
makes it an efficient, environmentally friendly storage system that stabilizes
the grid and supplies electricity reliably when needed. “As MAN MOSAS offers a
wide range of possible applications and can be used for all renewable energies,
the solution has great potential – not just for MAN ES, but for the energy
transition in Germany too,” says Anger.
Link to the DLR website
Link to MAN MOSAS
Link to the DWE reactors
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