Duan Dongping, director of molten salt and Energy Storage Professional Committee of China Inorganic Salt Industry Association, said in an interview with reporters at the 2018 potash industry meeting that with the gradual growth of solar thermal power generation industry, the domestic demand for molten salt is expected to reach 10 million tons by 2025, which is an attractive blue ocean for the emerging molten salt industry.
Wang Min, a researcher at Qinghai Salt Lake Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that molten salt is an excellent heat transfer and heat storage medium. Molten salt energy storage can be applied not only in the fields of photothermal power generation and energy storage, new energy waste power utilization, power grid peak shaving, but also in the fields of intelligent energy, clean energy central heating, clean energy combined heat, power and cooling. Especially in the field of photothermal, it can significantly improve the thermal efficiency, reliability and economy of the power generation system. At present, most of the photothermal projects put into operation use molten salt energy storage technology.
Solar thermal power generation is regarded as one of the best alternatives to coal power in the future because of its high energy storage efficiency, strong peak shaving capacity and good power quality. In 2016, the Energy Bureau approved the first batch of 20 demonstration projects, and it is expected that 4 to 5 projects can be put into operation by the end of this year. According to the guidance on improving the regulation capacity of power system issued by the Energy Bureau in March this year, during the 13th Five Year Plan period, China's installed capacity of solar thermal power generation will strive to reach 5 million KW.
Duan Dongping introduced that with the increase of market demand, there are more than 20 domestic molten salt production enterprises. In addition to Qinghai Salt Lake, Zhejiang Lianda Chemical Co., Ltd. and Shenzhen Aineng Sen Technology Co., Ltd. also expand molten salt products as one of the important business directions. At present, the domestic demand for molten salt products is about 1 million tons, but the actual production capacity has reached 9 million tons.
In addition to focusing on the domestic market, some molten salt production enterprises have begun to look abroad in recent years. Qinghai Salt Lake nitrate industry Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Co., Ltd., is a large potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate production enterprise in China, with a production capacity of 400000 tons / year of molten salt products. At the end of 2017, the nitrate industry successfully exported molten salt products to Spain saineng group, including 18106 tons of potassium nitrate and 1000 tons of sodium nitrate.
Spain saineng group said that it chose to purchase molten salt products from China because it valued the product quality of Qinghai Salt Lake and hoped to jointly explore domestic and foreign markets. Chaerhan Salt Lake, located in Qaidam Basin, Qinghai Province, has 60 billion tons of salt resources. In recent years, enterprises have actively explored the green development of Salt Lake recycling. Molten salt is one of the industrial chains of Salt Lake recycling.
Wang Min believes that China is rich in salt lake resources, with strong supply capacity and high quality of molten salt products. From a global perspective, it has strong competitive advantages and can meet the needs of high-end markets such as photothermal energy storage. She said that although China's molten salt energy storage industry is in the early stage of development, it should be an emerging industry worthy of vigorous development and broad prospects in the future.
Experts predict that in the next 5 to 10 years, the large market of photothermal power generation will start, and a certain number of molten salt product suppliers will emerge in a period of time. In this regard, experts also remind that while seeing the opportunity of rapid growth in molten salt demand, we should also focus on the long term to avoid potential risks. Due to the high requirements of solar thermal power generation on the quality of molten salt products, enterprises should focus on technological innovation and upgrading and improving product quality, while taking into account the expansion of downstream applications and accelerating the connection with the market.