Here's some really exciting renewable energy news. Spain's Gemasolar concentrating solar power plant just became the first solar power plant to generate power for 24 continuous hours.
The plant uses a Power Tower design where a field of mirrors concentrate the sun's heat onto a boiler in the central tower. That boiler creates steam which turns a turbine. None of that is out of the ordinary when it comes to concentrated solar power, but the Gemasolar plant is the only one in the world to use molten salt as a heat transfer fluid, which allows for the storage and generation of electricity even once the sun goes down.
The 19.9 MW capacity plant on average is able to generate power for 20 hours a day and during the summer, many days will see 24 full hours of energy generation. The molten salt storage really makes a big difference here. Compared to the larger 21.2 MW Solarpark Calaveron plant that generates about 40 GWh per year, the Gemasolar plant generates almost triple that with 110 GWh per year.
Power storage is one of the major issues facing the growth of renewable energy generation. The wind isn't always blowing and the sun isn't always shining, but innovative storage solutions like the one at Gemasolar will be what turns renewable energy into not just a clean source of electricity but also a reliable one.
written by Russell Cavanagh, July 06, 2011
written by Russell Cavanagh, July 07, 2011
written by omelay, July 07, 2011
written by Mukund (Mook) Bangalore, July 07, 2011
written by Mike, July 09, 2011
written by ron, August 29, 2011
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