DOE investment places Solex at forefront of solar energy, storage

Heliostats and solar tower at Sandia National Labs. Photo courtesy Randy Montoya, Sandia.

Sandia-led project aims to develop next generation of concentrated solar power plants 

CALGARY, Alberta – The U.S. Department of Energy’s recent multi-million-dollar injection into furthering the development of affordable green energy will further launch Solex Energy Science to the global forefront of what will become new era of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. 

Earlier this month, the DOE earmarked $2million for Sandia National Laboratories to build a one-megawatt demonstration facility where researchers, developers and manufacturers can test next-generation CSP components and systems. 

The investment was part of a larger $128-million funding announcement by the DOE into several initiatives that aim to improve the performance and speed deployment of new solar technologies, as well as help to cut the cost of solar energy by 60% over the next decade. 

The DOE has set at 2030 cost target of five cents/kWh for CSP plants. 

Sandia researchers have been partnering with Solex Thermal Science of Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Vacuum Processing Engineering (VPE) of Sacramento, California for the past five years on the CSP project – specifically the development of a unique solid-particle-to-supercritical-CO2 heat exchange technology that will be used to power high-efficiency sCO2 turbines. 

We want to congratulate Dr. Cliff Ho and his team at Sandia on this milestone achievement as we continue to jointly develop this incredibly unique and highly specialized heat exchange technology, says Lowy Gunnewiek, Chief Executive Officer of Solex Thermal Science. 

We believe the key to producing more cost-effective CSP technology lies in the ability to properly leverage ceramic, sand-like particles to store and recover thermal energy. This energy can then be used to power turbines that are more efficient than ever before as we work to make renewable power available whenever it is needed.” 

Last year, Sandia led first tests of the particle-to-supercritical-CO2 heat-exchanger systemas well as the world’s first on-sun falling particle receiver connected to solid particle thermal energy heat exchanger combined with a supercritical CO2 working fluid test loop. 

Located at the research organization’s facility in Albuquerque, New Mexicothe project will include building a new 1-MW rated mirror array and solar tower. 

We applaud the team at Solex Energy Science for their work with Sandia and VPE thus far in a project with such a high profile, and we will continue to encourage and support them in advancing the frontier of solar energy and storage,’ says Gunnewiek.  


Jamie Zachary, Marketing & Communications Manager

This entry was last updated on 2024-3-1

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