World’s First Molten Salt Solar Plant Produces Power at Night

by , 07/22/10

sustainable design, green design, molten salt solar plant, sicily, italy, renewable energy, clean tech,k concentrated solar plant

Since molten salts solidify at around 425 degrees F, the system needs to maintain sufficient heat to keep from seizing up during periods of reduced sunlight. The receiver tubes in the Archimede facility are designed to maximize energy collection and minimize emissions with a vacuum casing that enables the system to work at very high temperatures required with molten salts. By using the higher temperatures of molten salts, instead of oil, which has been used in other CSP plants until this point, the plant is able to maintain capacity well after the sun sets, allowing it to continue generating power through the night.

The Archimede plant has a capacity of 5 megawatts with a field of 30,000 square meters of mirrors and more than 3 miles of heat collecting piping for the molten salt. The cost for this initial plant was around 60 million Euros.

Via Guardian UK

Images via: Angelantoni, The Engineer UK, Siemens

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  1. Geoff Crack August 22, 2014 at 6:26 am

    425 degrees F = 218.333 Celsius

  2. ibromaka August 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Wow!!! this is interesting i’m glad i could the net to this point, but i guess i got stocked at a point which is very vital “how is the heat stored in the molten salt converted into electricity?”. please i need a response it’s quite urgent and important. Thank you.

  3. Beth Hansen February 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm


  4. GreEngineering November 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    The Sicilian one is the first of its type. Look at the technological specifications first!

  5. RZL October 14, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    In the 1990s in the USA molten salt power tower technology was fully demonstrated at Solar Two. Salt temperatures reached 1050F, 10 MWe peak power was produced and connected to the SC Edison grid, and continuous day and night operation was demonstrated.

  6. sarvesh October 14, 2010 at 3:41 am

    it is really a briliant technology

  7. Sharkonwheels July 31, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Hey genius – I was commenting on the ARTICLE, not pvdg.
    Someone REALLY needs to teach you how to COMPREHEND reading…

    He and I say basically the SAME THING.


  8. cjcrp July 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Someone should REALLY teach to sharkonwheels to read. Pvdg didn’t says never that Andasol were the first molten salt solar plant. He only says that the Sicilian one wasn’t the first.

  9. sharkonwheels July 26, 2010 at 12:08 am


    Someone should REALLY tell Spain, that their Andasol 1 solar plant, which went online in March of 2009, and stores energy in molten salt for night-time turbine driving, was not the first one, 14mos ago.

  10. pvdg July 23, 2010 at 5:42 am

    The “first molten salt power plant”, really?
    And what about Andasol, in Guadix, Spain? 50 MW.
    It has been working for one year and more, now… 
    Your text explains what is really new: that the molten salt, for the first time, is used to collect heat from the sun, and not just to store it (heat).
    But your title is misleading. Especialy when you consider the end of it: “…Produces Power at Night”. Andasol, for one, already produces power at night!

  11. punch_md July 23, 2010 at 3:39 am

    World’s first?

    What about the Thémis solar plant in France, or the Solar-1 plant in the US (Barstow), both of which operated in the 80s using a field of orieltable mirrors concentrating on a solar tower with a molten salt circuit?

  12. Ale July 23, 2010 at 2:45 am

    °F, meters and miles mixed in the same article !… Please, make everything imperial or everything SI. Do not mix the units, the result is just like in this case, poor.

  13. SolarHappy July 22, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I would hate to be the technician that has to free up the solidified salt after a long spell without sun. Blow torches anyone?

    I wonder what the plan it for that!

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