The 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Concentrated Solar Energy Project, to be built near Tonopah, Nevada, will use molten salt thermal energy storage technology to provide clean, reliable electricity to about 75,000 homes during peak hours, even when the sun is no longer shining. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.
‘Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has leveraged its extreme engineering experience to develop this technology, and we’re pleased to be part of a project that will create jobs; provide clean, affordable energy; and change the way the world meets its growing energy needs,’ said Jim Maser, president, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. ‘We are committed to developing viable, low-cost, clean energy solutions, and we look forward to working with our partners on this flagship project.’
SolarReserve, a utility-scale concentrating solar thermal power project development company headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., has closed financing for its Crescent Dunes Solar Energy project, which includes a $737 million Department of Energy loan guarantee announced on Sept. 28, 2011. SolarReserve holds the exclusive worldwide license to the molten salt power tower technology developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
The Crescent Dunes project will be the nation’s first commercial-scale concentrating solar power tower with fully integrated energy storage, and the largest of its kind in the world, providing reliable, clean energy on demand. The plant is designed to generate more than 500,000 megawatt-hours per year; the power will be sold to NV Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement that has been fully approved by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne developed the critical components associated with the molten salt thermal energy system as part of the molten salt power tower technology, which uses thousands of articulating mirrors, or heliostats, to track the sun and reflect solar energy onto a receiver mounted atop a 653-foot tower. Molten salt is circulated through the receiver, where it is heated to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, then stored in a large insulated tank. The energy from this stored molten salt is available on-demand to drive a steam turbine to create electricity. Because hot molten salt can be stored for days with little heat loss, it can be used at night or on cloudy days to generate electricity.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines. Behind its successful designs, manufacturing processes, and hardware are Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s research and development engineers, who solve tough problems in extreme environments and high-energy density applications. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is headquartered in Canoga Park, Calif., and has facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Stennis Space Center, Miss; and Carlstadt, N.J.