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Solar Success

 
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snow hope



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 4104
Location: outside Belfast, N Ireland

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Solar Success Reply with quote

In Spain - first commercial solar power station - 11MW

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6616651.stm
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Andy Hunt



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Bury, Lancashire, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's amazing . . . just like something out of a science fiction film!!

The future sure does look futuristic!! Laughing
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clv101
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep - if I had to bet on one technology (or energy source) for the future concentrating solar power (along with high voltage DC transmission lines) would be it. Low tech, highly scalable, zero risk or environmental impact, immense potential resource, no depletion, long life infrastructure...

Is there a downside? Night time? Serious demand shaping is all that?s needed.
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RevdTess



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Newquay

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And yet the electricity still costs 3x as much as fossil fuelled power. How depressing.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tess wrote:
And yet the electricity still costs 3x as much as fossil fuelled power. How depressing.

That's noting! Anything that is considerably less than an order of magnitude more - especially in this very short period of cheap fossil fuels and early stages of CSP is a runner IMO.
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
Night time?
In this week's NewScientist there is an article on CSP where they mention it's possible to "store" the heat in the fluids thus releasing it overnight.
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RevdTess



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Newquay

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandidoz wrote:
clv101 wrote:
Night time?
In this week's NewScientist there is an article on CSP where they mention it's possible to "store" the heat in the fluids thus releasing it overnight.


The report I heard said they could continue to generate for 1 hour past dusk, but hoped to extend this as technology improved.
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biffvernon



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Lincolnshire

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading the NS article, I thought the storage seemed pretty feasible. The solar energy heats oil to 400 degrees and this is used to raise steam for a conventional turbine. Keeping a quantity of oil at nearly 400 degrees is just a matter of size of tank and its insulation.
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
Reading the NS article, I thought the storage seemed pretty feasible. The solar energy heats oil to 400 degrees and this is used to raise steam for a conventional turbine. Keeping a quantity of oil at nearly 400 degrees is just a matter of size of tank and its insulation.


Although storing the heat in the way described is entirely feasible, it must add to both capital costs and to losses.

I suspect that it will be more economic to use solar energy (whether concentrating thermal, or tradditional PV) at the time of production.
In the warmer parts of Europe and the USA , the peak power use tends to be in sunlight, due to the use of A/C. Therefore a power source that produces only in sunlight is no problem. Provided of course that it is part of a balanced mix, and not the only source.

In colder climates options would include using natural gas to generate electricity at night. Natural gas is of course depleting and we should therefore seek to minimise its use; however to use gas only during the hours of darkness is certainly better than 24 hours a day. The capital cost of this would be effectivly zero since the natural gas power plants have already been built. Running such existing plant only at night would eke out the gas for a bit longer.

Another option would be to install additional turbines and generators at existing hydroelectric sites. This could greatly increase the nightime electricity production, daytime production would be curtailed to avoid running out of water. The total annual production of the hydroelectric plant would remain the same as it is limited by the amount of water available.
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12605
Location: York

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you ever noticed that quite a lot of the use of electricity at night is unneccessary? Things like lighting up motorways and abandonned high-rise office blocks (shops that face onto the street fair enough, I've gotta get home safely!). Even ordinary street-lighting where people are walking about, could easily be made more efficient (and night-sky-friendly) with simple reflectors, and then the power turned down.
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