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01 May 2009 09:05:03

Scientists make solar energy storage breakthrough

Scientists make solar energy storage breakthrough
A new technology has been developed that could help to address one of the largest challenges facing the future of solar power generation.

According to Yale Environment 360 (Yale e360), a publication of the US university's school of forestry and environmental studies, salt fertilisers are being used in Spain to allow for the storage of solar energy over longer time periods.

In a desert near Granada, in the south of the country, curved mirrors are used to harness the power of the sun to heat pipes filled with synthetic oil to temperatures of up to 400 degrees Celsius.

This "super-heated oil" can, according to the online magazine's David Biello, be used to boil water to turn steam turbines, but heat is rapidly lost during the night or when the sky is overcast.

To surmount this problem, engineers at the Andasol 1 solar energy plant, which opened last November, transfer heat from the oil into large vats of sodium and potassium nitrate.

As this occurs, the salt turns into a molten, lava-like state that can efficiently store the heat energy for many hours without the need for direct sunlight, Mr Biello wrote.

"That means solar thermal power can be used to generate electricity nearly round-the-clock."

Andasol 1 is the first of three parabolic trough solar thermal power plants to be constructed in the Spanish desert near Guadix. The second and third stations are scheduled to open in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Together they will make up the world's largest solar thermal power plant.



Discussion Thread  

arnoh2fc wrote:

01 May 2009

This technology is more than 100 years old and it supports only the existing electricity grid system. Image, you are a customer of a Spanish utility and want to heat water for your daily shower. So you turn on the hot water tap, the electric boiler starts working using electricty. As you are on the coast in Malaga, the elctrictity to run your boiler comes over a distance of lat us say 200 kilometers (120 miles), creating flaring and transport losses on their way from the orign at Andasol 1 to your home. However, you unfortenatly have to pay for the infrastructure and the grid with your electricity bill, which in Spain comes every month. Why not built a through on your own roof, making and using the hot water yourself. In fact, in this case, not only you, but we all do NOT need any grid at all: For further reference: http://www.fair-pr.com/background/scheme-of-a-mini-solar-thermal-power-plant-mstpp.php

01 May 2009

A more efficient and cost effective renewable energy system is needed. R3
A more efficient and cost effective renewable energy system is needed.
To accelerate the implementation of renewable electric generation with added incentives and a FASTER PAYBACK - ROI. (A method of storing energy, would accelerate the use of renewable energy) A greater tax credit, accelerated depreciation, funding scientific research and pay as you save utility billing. (Reduce and or eliminates the tax on implementing energy efficiency, eliminate increase in Real estate Taxes for energy efficiency improvement). Tax incentive and rebates have to be tripled.
In California, you also have the impediment, that when there are an interruption of power supply by the Utility you the consumer cannot use your renewable energy system to provide power.
In today's technology there is automatic switching equipment that would disconnect the consumer from the grid, which would permit renewable generation for the consumer even during power interruption. Energy storage technology must advance substantially. “Energy conservation through energy storage”.
New competition for the world's limited oil and natural gas supplies is increasing global demand like never before. Reserves are dwindling. These and other factors are forcing energy prices to skyrocket here at home. It's affecting not just the fuel for our cars and homes, it is affecting food prices and it's driving up electricity costs, too. A new world is emerging. The energy decisions our nation makes today will have huge implications into the next century. We must expedite the implementation of renewable energy.
A synchronous system with batteries allows the blending of a PV with grid power, but also offers the advantage of “islanding” in case of a power failure. A synchronous system automatically disconnects the utility power from the house and operates like an off-grid home during power failures. This system, however, is more costly and loses some of the efficiency advantages of a battery-less system.
We’re surrounded by energy — sun, wind, water. The problem is harnessing it in an economical way.
Jay Draiman, Northridge, CA

Discussion Thread  


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