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U.S. Defense Contractor to Focus Resources on Concentrated Solar Power Towers and Thermal Storage Technology

U.S. Defense Contractor to Focus Resources on Concentrated Solar Power Towers and Thermal Storage TechnologyPratt & Whitney Rocketdyne received an award of up to $10.2 million from the Department of Energy to design and develop technologies aimed at significantly lowering electricity costs using a Concentrated Solar Power Tower with Thermal Storage (CSP Power Tower). Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. company.

“This award is a key step in reducing the cost of solar power to levels competitive with fossil fuel-based power without the need for federal tax incentives,” said Randy Parsley, manager, Global Program Development, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “We are honored to have been selected.”

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has developed designs for CSP Power Tower technology that use thousands of articulating mirrors, or heliostats, to track the sun and reflect solar energy onto a receiver mounted atop a 600-foot-tall tower. Liquefied molten salt is circulated into the receiver, where it is heated to about 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit, then stored in a large insulated tank. The energy from this stored molten salt is available on-demand to drive a steam turbine to create electricity. Because hot molten salt can be stored for days with little heat-loss, it can be used at night or on cloudy days to generate electricity. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has provided the worldwide exclusive license to SolarReserve, a solar power project company, for the molten salt power tower and heliostat technologies.

As part of the DOE contract to lower costs and increase CSP Power Tower capacity, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will use its engineering expertise to optimize system performance and efficiency; use advanced manufacturing techniques that better absorb solar energy into the receiver; develop a higher-performance, lower-cost second-generation heliostat system; and incorporate a new thermal storage system.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines. For more information about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, go to

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.

SOURCE Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

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