Working Principle of a Central Receiver CSP Plant
This method of collecting energy is based on concentrating the sun's energy onto a common focal point to produce heat to run a steam turbine generator. It has hundreds of large mirror assemblies, called heliostats, which track the sun to reflect the solar energy onto a tower where a black receiver absorbs the heat.
High-temperature heat transfer fluid is used to transport the heat to a boiler where the steam is used to spin a series of turbines, much like in a traditional power plant. This solar thermal storage system improves handling of the central tower plants and considerably increases its capacity factor to 70% or more.
Already back in 1995, SQM supplied thermo-solar salts to the Solar Two Power Tower pilot project in Barstow, California, USA, where they were used as heat transfer fluid and heat storage medium. The data collected in this project has been the main information source to contribute to the development of the CSP plant technology.
Schematic Diagram of CSP Central Receiver Plant: