The DLR-large-scale research facility TESIS serves the development of new storage technologies and the improvement of the molten salt technology for renewable energies. Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Component Tests for Molten Salt Applications
Solar power plants that use molten salt as a heat transfer medium are increasingly developing to become an industrial standard worldwide. Usually, qualified manufacturers with controllable subject matter expertise are able to provide the majority of needed components of the power plant (such as valves, sensors or pumps). However, with salt-leading components it is different: only a few manufacturers offer qualified components with trustworthy guarantees and functionality certificates. That way only a restricted selection of elements in a high price range is on the market. The project MSComp is aimed at providing (in particular German) component manufacturers a testing possibility so that they can be guaranteed that their components function and that their products will be established on the market. The tests take place at the testing facility for heat storage in molten salt TESIS at DLR Cologne (in German “Testanlage für Wärmespeicherung in Salzschmelzen”).
Within the framework of the project MSComp, manufacturers and clients are able to get a better orientation on reasonable requirements and testing procedures of salt-flooded components. Based on the current state of knowledge, scientists of the German Aerospace Center will initially elaborate best practice recommendations for testing methods. Afterwards, partners from the industry will provide their components to get them analysed and checked. In the German Aerospace Center’s testing facility TESIS, the developed test and the partner’s components can be verified at the same time. The developed scale and testing procedures should also be able to assess the lifetime and performance of all components and serve as a functionality certificate, enabling potential buyers to take a secure decision.
The knowledge gained from the tests should help to develop the market further and to diversify the range of suppliers. The subordinate goal is to make fundamental findings of the testing facility accessible for relevant target groups and to support the further development of components. For other manufacturers to profit from these experiences, the fundamental, but not manufacturer-specific findings should be published. On the long run the augmented competition is meant to minimise the acquisition costs and to exploit the potential of molten salt components.
The MSComp project’s overall goal is the further development of the molten salt technology. It offers a big potential for the further development of renewable energies and the increase of the energy efficiency. Aside from the already established commercial market of solarthermal power plants, the molten salt technology can also be used for new applications in the segment of conventional power plant technologies, thermal storage power stations and industrial process heat in Germany. At the end of the project, based on the practical results, improved and well-defined test procedures for the investigated components will be available. The project is a cooperation between the Institute for Solar Research and the Institute for Engineering Thermodynamics.
Testanlage für Wärmespeicherung in Salzschmelzen (TESIS:com)
MSComp – Component tests for molten salt applications
Institute for Engineering Thermodynamics
Division: Thermal Process Technology
Expert group: Thermal Systems for Fluids
Supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
(funding reference: 03EE5005)