247Solar closer to commercializing modular concentrating solar plant


Under development for more than a decade, 247Solar announced it is one step closer to commercializing its solar thermal electric generating technology with an $8 million Series A funding round, $6 million of which has been closed to date.

The company produces “247Solar Plants” that are capable of producing 400 kW of electricity from 1,800 F heat using a solar receiver design. It is a proprietary thermal storage system with a unique turbine, to produce 24/7 solar electricity. 247Solar told pv magazine USA that each plant module simultaneously produces continuous 400 kW of electricity and 600 kWth of industrial heat at 482 F.

The system can generate heat and electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like traditional concentrating solar power (CSP), 247Solar’s technology uses mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a receiver tower. The tower is 120 feet tall, shorter than traditional CSP towers, and its turbines run on hot air at normal atmospheric pressure, which the company said reduces the system’s complexity.

The intellectual property for the turbine involves a high-temp heat exchanger that replaces the combustor in an otherwise standard Capstone C200 turbine, 247Solar told pv magazine USA. The heat exchanger is based on a design developed by the late MIT professor emeritus David Gordon Wilson. MIT owns the patent for the heat exchanger and 247Solar licenses it from them.

247Solar adapted the heat exchanger to the turbine and tested a prototype in collaboration with Brayton Energy, a New Hampshire based firm that is focused on development of advanced energy technologies.

Another novel aspect of the 247Solar Plant is the energy storage method. Rather than storing the heat in molten salt, the system stores it in inert materials such as sand, ceramics or iron slag for 18 hours or more. When the heat is released, it spins the turbines to generate electricity and industrial-grade heat when it’s needed.

The ability to scale to any capacity is key to this technology, and 247 said its units fit on 5 acres of land. Because the setup is modular, the parts can be built in factories and assembled at the site.

“We’ve been refining our technology for more than a decade and have emerged with groundbreaking products that can provide zero-carbon electricity and heat around the clock with a small footprint, low technology risk, low environmental impact, and a long operating life,” said Bruce Anderson, founder and CEO.

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