Combined-Cycle Power Tower

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    This paper evaluates a new power tower concept that offers significant benefits for commercialization of power tower technology. The concept uses a molten nitrate salt central-receiver plant to supply heat, in the form of combustion air preheat, to a conventional combined-cycle power plant. The evaluation focused on first commercial plants, examined three plant capacities (31, 100, and 300 MWe),and compared these plants with a solar-only 100-MWe plant and with gas-only combined-cycle plants in the same three capacities. Results of the analysis point to several benefits relative to the solar-only plant, including low energy cost for first plants, low capital cost for first plants, reduced risk with respect to business uncertainties, and the potential for new markets. In addition, theconcept appears to have minimal technology development requirements. Significantly, the results show that it is possible to build a first plant with this concept that can compete with existing gas-only combined-cycle plants.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages11
    StatePublished - 1994

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-471-7017


    • combustion air
    • levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
    • solar fraction


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