Preliminary assessment of viability of molten‐salt tower technology

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


International Journal of Energy Research (2020)


electricity‐mix, LCOE, molten‐salt, peak demand, pollution, solar thermal


<p>India has incorporated renewable energy sources like solar and wind in its energy mix in order to achieve its ambitious plan to set up 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. Among the solar technologies for power generation, solar photovoltaic (SPV) is considered and large SPV parks are deployed around the country. Some of the drawbacks of deploying large‐scale SPV parks are discussed in the manuscript. Because of the intermittency of SPV and wind, there is a backup resource of fossil fuel fired thermal plants that are ramped up or down to meet the electricity demand in the grid, especially the peak demand. The manuscript proposes that India has to consider solar thermal technology that can be ramped up and down, namely, the molten‐salt solar tower technology (STT). Based on the direct solar irradiance data there are about 6000 sq. km of land with 7.5 to 8.0 kWh/m2/day and about 12 000 sq. km with 7.0 to 7.5 kWh/m2/day where such STT plants can be set up. Cost analysis demonstrates that the capital cost of STT plant is roughly ₹ 389 million per MW. This is quite competitive compared to the nuclear and coal thermal technologies because these technologies have high operational costs.</p>