U.S. Solar R&D shifts to concentrated power generation technology

Issuing time:2020-12-29 22:38

According to the "MIT Technology Review" magazine, the US Department of Energy recently announced an investment of 62 million US dollars to increase the research and development of another major technology in the solar energy industry-concentrating solar power generation, in order to overcome the stability, repairability and power of the solar grid Key problems such as storage.

At present, solar power plants are mainly based on two technologies to convert solar energy into electricity: one is photovoltaic power generation technology, which requires expensive battery packs or external energy storage technology, which can only operate and supply power when the sun is bright; the second is concentrated light Solar power technology uses lenses to focus sunlight and use the obtained energy to convert water into steam to drive steam turbines. Part of the solar energy is converted into heat and stored in the molten salt tank equipped with the system. It can be powered continuously at night or on cloudy and rainy days.


In 2011, in order to increase the competitiveness of solar power generation, the U.S. Department of Energy put forward a "sun shooting plan", hoping to reduce the unit price of solar energy per watt hour from US$4 to US$1 in 2020. Therefore, the Ministry of Energy and public and private enterprises are focusing on research and development of photovoltaic power generation technologies that are easier to achieve, and they will complete their expected goals earlier this year. Concentrating power generation technology has been ignored for a long time because of its higher cost and greater technical difficulty.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced a research shift this time, hoping to focus on concentrating solar technology that can improve the stability and sustainability of solar power grids after the unit price of solar energy has achieved the expected target. Although some people questioned that this may be the Trump administration's cover for "restraining the threat of the rapid development of photovoltaic power generation to fossil fuels", many energy experts expressed support for this technological shift, believing that concentrated solar power generation is useful for storing solar energy. It has more advantages than photovoltaic power generation.

David Victor, an energy policy researcher at the University of California, San Diego, said: “Currently, there is a problem of excessive investment in photovoltaic power generation and insufficient investment in concentrated power generation. The new plan of the Department of Energy will set off an upsurge in the research and development of concentrated solar power.” George Mason University Science David Hart, director of the Center for Technology and Innovation Policy, also believes that the photovoltaic power generation technology has matured, and the problem that needs to be solved is no longer the technical level, but how to expand the scale. These private companies can solve it. Government departments can spend more funds to develop the immature concentrating power generation technology to solve the deep-seated problems faced by solar energy development.

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