Thermal energy storage systems for concentrated solar power plants

Ugo Pelay, Lingai Luo, Yilin Fan, Driss Stitou, Mark Rood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Solar thermal energy, especially concentrated solar power (CSP), represents an increasingly attractive renewable energy source. However, one of the key factors that determine the development of this technology is the integration of efficient and cost effective thermal energy storage (TES) systems, so as to overcome CSP's intermittent character and to be more economically competitive. This paper presents a review on thermal energy storage systems installed in CSP plants. Various aspects are discussed including the state-of-the-art on CSP plants all over the world and the trend of development, different technologies of TES systems for high temperature applications (200–1000°C) with a focus on thermochemical heat storage, and storage concepts for their integration in CSP plants. TES systems are necessary options for more than 70% of new CSP plants. Sensible heat storage technology is the most used in CSP plants in operation, for their reliability, low cost, easy to implement and large experimental feedback available. Latent and thermochemical storage technologies have much higher energy density thus may have a bright foreground. New concepts for TES integration are also proposed, especially coupled technology for higher operating temperature and cascade TES of modularized storage units for intelligent temperature control. The key contributions of this review paper consist of a comprehensive survey of CSP plants, their TES systems, the ways to enhance the heat and/or mass transfers and different new concepts for the integration of TES systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-100
Number of pages19
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - 2017


  • Concentrated solar power (CSP)
  • Energy density
  • Integration
  • Thermal energy storage (TES)
  • Thermochemical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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