Source: CSP Today
Unlike CSP companies dealing with the complex difficulties of selling electricity onto a grid with solar power generation, companies offering CSP for specific commercial uses can start small and grow, because they are simply selling a product to other businesses.
GlassPoint is one company doing quite well offering a specific CSP application. It sells solar steam-making equipment to the oil industry, replacing the use of gas in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The company’s focus on process steam heat led to a very different approach than if it was selling megawatt hours to utilities.
“If you want to make electricity you’re trying to minimise the cost per kilowatt hour, make the cheapest electricity possible,” CEO Rod MacGregor tells CSP Today. “The biggest influence on that cost per kilowatt hour is the efficiency of the steam turbine. If you’re selling megawatt hours, the hotter your steam, the more efficient your turbine.”
The drive for more efficient CSP, to get higher temperatures, is what has led to the innovations in towers, molten salts, super-critical CO2, molten glass and other exotic technologies and materials.