The value of CSP thermal storage

One of the key values of CSP technology serving power generation in the Great North in Chile comes from the ability to dispatch energy 24/7 by using molten salt thermal storage.

However the question stands - how can CSP thermal storage compete with other types of storage currently under development, such as battery storage and water pumping?Molten salt thermal storage is the key differentiator adding value to CSP worldwide, as it provides the opportunity to save the heat collected to use when it is needed, most notably during the night. Thermal storage is therefore the unique selling point for CSP when compared with cheaper renewable energy sources such as wind and solar PV.

But compared to other types of batteries, how does molten salt thermal storage fend? According to Arnold Leitner, Founder and Former CEO of SkyFuel, it is quite good. “According to Leitner it turns for the delta and temperature range a cubic meter of molten salt holds 677 Mega Joule of thermal energy. If we assume a round-trip efficiency of 95% for the storage and thermal-to electric energy conversion of 40% then this is equivalent to storing 75 kilowatt-hours of electricity.”

In an article commissioned by CSP Today, Leitner delves deep into the comparisons with alternatives of water pumping and electrical storage. Temperature efficiency, cost and lifecycle are all considered to rank them most effective storage solution. Regarding the degradation of thermal storage, Leitner adds that “thermal storage for all practical purpose will last forever.”

This article was shared by CSP Today as part of CSP TODAY LATAM 2013 (Antofagasta, 17-18 July) For more information and to read the whole article please visit


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