China’s first large-scale salt, solar thermal plant outperforming limitations


China’ first large-scale, 100MW molten salt solar thermal power is now operating at maximum power, and operators say it’s outperforming its designed limitations.

The $436 million project was built by Beijing Shouhang IHW Resources Saving Technology, and is based in Dunhuang. The plant makes use of 12,000, accurately angled and directed mirrors which focus sunlight into a receiver.

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The receiver in turn, uses this concentrated form of energy to heat the molten salt, which is capable of storing long-term solar energy more efficiently than lithium-ion or lead-based batteries.

The solar thermal power plant is capable of generating approximately 390 million kWh of renewable, clean and sustainable technology each year – sufficient to remove approximately 350,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the country’s emissions.

Huang Wenbo, Vice-Chairman of Beijing Shouhang IHW Resources Saving Technology, said the plant, which is one the first batch of solar thermal power generation demonstration projects to come online in the country, has demonstrated its resilience in “the harshest environmental conditions” across seasons.

Researchers suggest a new design of battery, using salt technology can help drastically boost power efficiency, whilst also proving considerably more cost-effective.