For future parabolic trough plants direct steam generation in the absorber pipes is a promising option for reducing the costs of solar thermal power generation. These new solar thermal power plants require innovative storage concepts, where the two phase heat transfer fluid poses a major challenge. A three-part storage system is proposed where a phase change material (PCM) storage will be deployed for the two-phase evaporation, while concrete storage will be used for storing sensible heat, i.e. for preheating of water and superheating of steam. A pinch analysis helps to recognize interface constraints imposed by the solar field and the power block and describes a way to dimension the latent and sensible components. Laboratory test results of a PCM test module with approx. 140 kg NaNO3, applying the sandwich concept for enhancement of heat transfer, are presented, proving the expected capacity and power density. The concrete storage material for sensible heat was improved to allow the operation up to 500 °C for direct steam generation. A storage system with a total storage capacity of approx. 1 MWh is described, combining a PCM module and a concrete module, which will be tested in 2009 under real steam conditions around 100 bar.

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