CSP Concentrated Solar Power

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies, also known as Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) technologies, use optical concentrators, usually composed by reflectors, to focus beam solar radiation onto a thermal receiver. At the receiver the concentrated solar radiation is absorbed, being used to heat a fluid – usually called heat transfer fluid, HTF. The heat contained in this fluid can be stored in a thermal energy storage (TES) for later use or used to drive a thermal process, for example, a thermodynamic cycle for electricity production. When necessary, CST plants can have back-up systems able to totally or partially cover energy demand during low radiation periods.

The main areas of application for CST plants are:

  • Electric power production, in which case they are called Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) plants;
  • Heat and cold production in buildings and industries;
  • Thermochemical applications.

There are four main CST technologies: parabolic troughs; linear Fresnel reflectors; central receiver systems; parabolic dishes.