For parabolic trough power plants using synthetic oil as the heat transfer medium, the application of solid media sensible heat storage is an attractive option in terms of investment and maintenance costs. One important aspect in storage development is the storage integration into the power plant. A modular operation concept for thermal storage systems was previously suggested by DLR, showing an increase in storage capacity of more than 100 %. However, in these investigations, the additional costs needed to implement this storage concept into the power plant, like for extra piping, valves, pumps and control had not been considered. These aspects are discussed in this paper, showing a decrease of levelized energy costs with modular storage integration of 2 to 3 %. In a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) a comparison of an AndaSol-I type solar thermal power plant  with the original two-tank molten salt storage and with a "hypothetical" concrete storage shows an advantage of the concrete storage technology concerning environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the “hypothetical” concrete based AndaSol-I decrease by 7 %, considering 1 kWh of solar electricity delivered to the grid. Regarding only the production of the power plant, the emissions decrease by 9.5 %.
Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie