Current Department of Defense (DoD) energy security strategies for installations include increased use of distributed generation sources, which is currently met by either deploying traditional natural gas- or diesel-fueled generators or installing large-scale renewable energy. However, distributed generation utilizing fossil fuels cannot be used on a regular basis at many DoD installations due to restrictions in air quality permits and interruptions in the supply of natural gas or diesel. Renewable energy resources, notably solar and wind, are inherently intermittent in nature and may not be available when needed without costly grid-scale energy storage. This project will demonstrate the Terrajoule Distributed Generation and Storage (DGS) system—a cost-competitive (less than $0.09/kWh), zero emission alternative to traditional distributed generation systems—at San Luis Obispo, California. The DGS utilizes curved mirrors to collect sunlight for steam production, which is used to make power stored in the compact form of superheated water so that power can be generated later, even when the sun is not shining, providing 24-hour power.
The Terrajoule DGS system is comprised of three major subsystems: the Solar Collectors, Steam Driven Generator Unit, and Superheated Water Energy Storage.
This project will demonstrate the ability of the DGS to convert, store, and discharge renewable energy without fossil fuels or large-scale chemical battery energy storage and show that the renewable energy can be used for on-demand power generation as backup to key nodes or provide peak power mitigation.
The DGS system can provide on-demand clean distributed power generation on DoD facilities with minimal maintenance and operating cost. It operates as an off-grid, standalone on-demand power source up to 24 hrs per day, and as an economical grid-connected power source that will continue providing power during interruptions of grid power, during sunlight, in cloudy conditions, and after dark. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2015)