Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has won a $10.2 million federal energy contract to refine its concept for generating affordable electricity using solar power.
The U.S. Department of Energy wants Pratt Rocketdyne apply its technology for a device called a concentrated solar power tower.
Rocketdyne's prototype design uses thousands of mirrors, or heliostats, mounted on a tower the height of New York's Empire State Building concentrate the suns' energy onto a receiver that heats molten salt within the 600-foot tower to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That heat drives a steam turbine to create electricity.
Rocketdyne, based in Canoga Park, Calif., says its concept optimizes efficiency and performance, better absorbs energy, incorporates a new storage system, and develops a higher-performance, lower cost second-generation heliostat system.
Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp. in Hartford.