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Case Study

Techno-economic evaluation of ISCC plants with molten salt

solar thermal storage

Advisian performed a techno-economic analysis of ISCC plants employing next-generation parabolic trough technology using molten salt as the heat transfer fluid.

The Situation

EPRI and some of its members have been researching solar augmented steam cycle (CSP-Hybrids) for the last 9 years. Advisian (formerly WorleyParsons) has previously supported EPRI in their creation of  several reports and project implementation guideline manuals, which focused on optimization of greenfield and retrofit Integrated Solar Combined Cycle (ISCC) plants, CSP-coal hybrids, and CSP-oil fired boiler hybrids. Most studies utilized parabolic trough CSP technology, with “conventional” oil-based Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF). Next-generation parabolic trough plants will employ molten salt directly as the HTF, thus allowing higher temperatures to be reached, and thus increasing plant efficiency.


EPRI contracted with Advisian to be the principal investigator to perform a techno-economic analysis of next-generation ISCC plants. The investigation evaluated the impacts of utilizing parabolic trough CSP technology with a molten salt HTF and an alternate lower freezing temperature salt HTF. The analysis also evaluated the impacts of employing Thermal Energy Storage (TES), both with and without time-of-day rates. The results were presented on a LCOE basis and provide comparisons to ISCC plants employed with traditional synthetic oil HTF. The main goal was to understand if using molten salt HTF could reduce the LCOE, compared to conventional trough-oil ISCC plants.


The report is published as: Techno-Economic Evaluation of Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Plants with Molten Salt. EPRI, Palo Alto, CA; 2016. 3002008830, and can be obtained through EPRI.