Members of Sandia National Laboratories visited the STEM® system installed in Sicily
Rome, 27 April 2017. Clifford Ho, a scientist from Sandia National Laboratories, visited the Integrated Energy hub of A2A Group in San Filippo del Mela (Sicily) where Magaldi Group installed its STEM® technology: an innovative concentrating solar power (CSP) system with TES (Thermal Energy Storage) able to collect solar energy and convert it into thermal energy to be used immediately or stored and extracted when desired. STEM® is the first CSP system worldwide using a fluidized sand bed as a thermal energy storage medium.
During the tour, Ho was particularly interested in all aspects of the system converting the solar radiation - collected by heliostats, concentrated on a secondary reflector (beam down) and subsequently focused in a fluidized sand bed receiver - into thermal energy in the form of steam.
Ho observed how sand performs as the thermal energy storage medium: heat absorbed by the receiver is stored in the sand and from there exchanged to produce steam, even in absence of sun, at night or on cloudy days.
This feature makes STEM® totally different from existing electrochemical energy storage systems.
STEM® technology has a wide range of application fields: in addition to electricity production, high temperature steam generated by STEM® can be easily used in several industrial applications such as district heating and cooling, water desalination, agricultural greenhouses.
Ho stated: “Magaldi's work with fluidized particle receivers is well-aligned with Sandia's efforts to develop particle-based technologies to reach higher temperatures and increased efficiencies for CSP, which will advance the current state of the art. Magaldi's fluidized particle technology is unique in that it allows for heating and storage of sand-like particles – along with high-temperature steam generation – in a single, ground-based unit. The high-temperature steam can be used to generate electricity or process heat when it is most needed, even when the sun is not shining.”
Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.
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