Sandia National Laboratories- Molten Salt Project

The United States Department of Energy has been researching energy generation specific to Molten Salt use since the late 1940’s when researchers were working to develop the first nuclear powered airplane. An idea formulated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to circulate a drainable, high temperature liquid fuel to create the desired energy output. By 1947, researchers had begun working with Molten Salt, an idea that has transpired into a workable system that is being created today at Sandia National Laboratories. Energy generation for this process results from a complicated mechanical system that JBH has been working on for several months at Sandia.

JBH is serving as the mechanical sub-contractor supporting both fabrication and installation of this unique loop system, designed to test solar components. The JBH scope of work includes the order, delivery and hook-up of critical specialty equipment along with the fabrication of several unique components. In addition to the specialty HVAC equipment, JBH has begun the installation of unique plumbing modules to direct the highly specialized flow of salt throughout the system. The flow is directed by a configuration of stainless steel pipes, and pumps, maneuvering the liquids through various temperature changes to reach their desired state.

JBH’s experienced fabrication facilities also brought their special skills to this project by not only fabricating traditional piping systems, but also unique project components including specially designed valves.  The JBH Sheet Metal Shop foreman worked with the project’s mechanical engineers to develop a one of a kind valve bonnet, necessary to maintain heat control throughout the salt flow process.  Prior to working with JBH, the bonnet was only a conceptual idea, but through close coordination, communication and test fabrications, the final product will perform as intended, thanks to our experienced sheet metal workers.

We are thankful for the opportunity to contribute to another project that is leading the nation’s exploration of alternative energies.