Australia developing water free solar energy plant

  • The main advantage of the technology is, unlike current solar thermal plants, it can be used in areas with no water, which are often the sunniest places on the planet

  • CSIRO powers ahead with water-free solar plant, The Australian, Rick Wallace, July 22, 2010 TOWNS in Australia’s tracts of dry and sunny terrain could benefit from a new joint venture from Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the CSIRO.

The organisations are working on developing a solar thermal power plant that uses compressed hot air instead of steam to drive a turbine and generate power.

The main advantage of the technology is, unlike current solar thermal plants, it can be used in areas with no water, which are often the sunniest places on the planet……

Dr Smitham, deputy director of the CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship research program, said the plants could be grouped together to form a large solar station or used individually in remote areas.

“The scale of the plant — in the 2MW to 10MW range — means it is modular and can start to be used in small population centres or at the ends of the electricity grid,” he said. “The opportunities are there for remote communities and in reinforcing the power grid.”…….

Dr Smitham said the higher temperatures used in the waterless plant gave it potential to operate at increased efficiency compared to solar thermal plants using steam, and photovoltaic solar plants, which create electricity directly from cells without turbines……
CSIRO powers ahead with water-free solar plant | The Australian

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