Emerson Process Management has been awarded a contract to apply control systems at the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, NV. When it comes online at the end of 2013, the 110-MW concentrated solar power project will be the first commercial-scale solar facility in the U.S. to generate power from solar energy that is captured and stored in liquid molten salt.
The project is being developed by Tonopah Solar Energy LLC, an affiliate of SolarReserve LLC. The contract was awarded by Cobra ThermoSolar Plants Inc., who is performing engineering, procurement and construction of the whole Tonopah Solar Energy Project.
The facility’s 10,500 mirror assemblies will focus the sun’s energy to a receiver that sits atop a 540-foot tower where it will heat the liquid molten salt. The molten salt will flow from the “cold” storage tank, up the tower where it circulates through the receiver and is heated by the sun’s energy from 500 degrees Fahrenheit to 1050 degrees. The molten salt then flows down the tower to the “hot” storage tank, where the thermal energy will then be used to produce steam to power a standard steam turbine, which then generates electricity. Excess thermal energy will be stored in the molten salt.