Wilson Solarpower System
Wilson's concentrated solar power (CSP) system targets 5-6 cents/kilowatt-hour
Wilson Solarpower is developing a highly-cost-competitive CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) system that will be able to operate 24/7, regardless of weather conditions. It has shown under a US Department of energy grant that it has the potential to reach electricity costs under 7 cents/kilowatt-hour. With further development, Wilson has shown that targets of 5-6 cents/kWh may be achieveable. Because of its ability to store large amounts of solar heat for non-daytime use, the Wilson system can provide firm, flexible, dispatchable power around the clock.
In addition to its cost and operating advantages, the Wilson System offers significant other advantages over other clean energy technologies. The system uses modular, mass-produced components with minimal on-site deployment costs and few environmental impacts. Unlike most other CSP systems that use scarce water resources to make steam to drive large turbines, Wilson System turbines use compressed hot air. Wilson System turbines use conventional fuels such as natural gas or biofuels off-sun when its thermal storage system is depleted to provide fully-dispatchable power 24/7, regardless of weather, which wind and photovoltaic power systems cannot do.
The Wilson CSP system can be sized as small as 300 kWe (kilowatts, for roughly 60-100 US homes) to provide distributed power adjacent to the load while also providing waste heat from the turbines in combined heat and power (CHP) applications. Tens, hundreds or thousands of modules can be combined to provide power at any scale.
Wilson's System uses "best of breed" commercial heliostats, power tower components and reliable, proven microturbine power generation packages. Wilson will incorporate its own, MIT-invented, high-temperature ceramic components into its future CSP systems, which will enable them to compete with even the lowest cost fossil fuel baseload systems. To this end, Wilson Solarpower is in Phase 2 of US Department of Energy (DOE) grant of up to $3.9 million to further the development of its key components to increase modular size and efficiency of the Wilson CSP System.
Special System Advantages:
• Simple, low-cost, all-factory produced, minimal on-site labor
• Uses no water/steam, salts, oils, hydrogen or helium
• Has extremely high reliability due to redundancy of numerous modules
• Plant size is widely variable (300 kilowatts to 1000s megawatts)
• Is comparatively quickly engineered, permitted, erected, commissioned (standard modules, like wind turbines)
Special Siting Advantages:
• Customer-need-driven, e.g., can be of any size in close proximity to load
• Few, if any, environmental concerns
• Minimal impact on the land - may support second use (e.g., farming, landfill, wind power)
• Sites can be hilly and need not be perfectly flat
• Sites can be irregularly shaped and need not be round or rectangular
• Sites can be square miles or as small as half a football field
The modular system is based on two MIT breakthrough energy-efficiency technologies:
• Wilson Heat Exchanger™
• Wilson Microturbine™
and on two Wilson solar technologies:
• Wilson Solar Receiver™
• Wilson Solar System™