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Solar Plant First To Generate Energy At Night - In A Glowing 'lightbulb' Tower Hot Enough To Melt Salt

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2045926/Solar-plant-generate-energy-night--glowing-lightbulb-tower-thats-hot-melt-salt.html

Seville is among the hottest places on the European mainland - so it's played host to the unique Germasolar power plant, a tower with a glowing 'bulb' surrounded by 2,600 mirrors. Germasolar, which opened officially this week, is the first solar power plant to operate for 24 hours.

The £260 million tower can store heat to power turbines for 15 hours without the sun.

The plant is a heliostatic solar plant - a solar furnace - which uses mirrors to concentrate the intense heat onto two salt tanks. The 900C heat melts the salt, boiling water around it to drive turbines.

This sounds like a giant leap forward? Although the article fails to mention how much power is actually produced, obviously if it's generating enough power for 10 houses it's not a great step forward.

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Guest eight

Lots of those plants dotted around the dirtscape that is much of Spain would gave the added advantage of creating thermal triggers for us paraglider :D

Icarus lives!

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Giant leap forward in what way ?

The solar energy is being used to melt salt. The melted salt stores the energy. It's just a different kind of battery. Nothing fantastic or radical at all. The only thing useful about it is that it allows electricity from solar to be produced 24/7 rather than just during the day.

You could equally use the solar during the day to pump water up a mountain, then generate the electricity by flowing it back down through a turbine at night. This would probably less efficient than the salt storage though.

Personally I'm waiting for that greek superreactor. That's the one. Whatever happened to that ? Some people had the tenacity to doubt that it was actually real and defied the laws of physics.

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Maximum output of 19.9 MW or annual electrical output of 110 GWh/year

Interesting. Back of the envelope:

1KWh costs about 11p, right?

So 110GWh means 0.11*110*10e9/10e3 = £12 million worth of 'leccy per year.

If the plant costs 250 million that's something like a 5% return on capital. That's fairly close to commercial viability if the running costs are low and the hardware lasts more than 30 years.

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Its not very efficient though, theres a more efficient way to harness solar power. All will be revealed in time but dont hold shares in power companies. ;)

I see two approaches. One is to make existing cells more efficient in terms of % energy generated. The other is to make the cells cheaper per sq m, so although the efficiency in terms of absolute power generation is down, you can make up for it in terms of having a vastly increased area of cells.

My bet is that it will be the cheap films that win out. Companies like this :

http://www.isis-innovation.com/news/news/CheaperSolarTechnology.html

Although there are many others that are involved in this area. In the long term it will be nano engineering that boost the efficiency, but this will take time to perfect and a very long time to generate large inexpensive cells - a bit like tft tech for flat panel displays.

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Giant leap forward in what way ?

The solar energy is being used to melt salt. The melted salt stores the energy. It's just a different kind of battery. Nothing fantastic or radical at all. The only thing useful about it is that it allows electricity from solar to be produced 24/7 rather than just during the day.

You could equally use the solar during the day to pump water up a mountain, then generate the electricity by flowing it back down through a turbine at night. This would probably less efficient than the salt storage though.

Personally I'm waiting for that greek superreactor. That's the one. Whatever happened to that ? Some people had the tenacity to doubt that it was actually real and defied the laws of physics.

LOL

Maybe they could use all the hot air generated by European Parliament and Greece to power our country for years to come.

Or maybe they could use all the politicans sh*t to produce methane and acheive the same.

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LOL

Maybe they could use all the hot air generated by European Parliament and Greece to power our country for years to come.

Or maybe they could use all the politicans sh*t to produce methane and acheive the same.

Dunno, but if the after effects of that mousakka I had in the Plaka were anything to go by the Greeks could be on to a winner there.

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http://www.dailymail...-melt-salt.html

This sounds like a giant leap forward? Although the article fails to mention how much power is actually produced, obviously if it's generating enough power for 10 houses it's not a great step forward.

I read a brilliant article a few days ago on Bloomberg, it was about Germany.

Some days this year (I think), the surplus of electricity due to solar and wind plants was such that the cost of electricity on the wholesale market was negative! Customers had to be paid to take on the electricity.

It gives me hope for the future.

Edited by _w_

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My money is on something else. ;)

Well, there's loads of stuff out there. Any one of which may (or more likely may not given the number of players) go big. Bit of a lottery if you ask me, and probably more to do with the funding dynamics than with the technology itself, although obviously a base level of performance has to be achieved.

My gut feeling is that in a few years time there is going to be stuff out there that offers a lot of different options compared with what's available today. That needs to be balanced of course against the fact that the subsidies are likely to decrease as time goes on.

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Giant leap forward in what way ?

The solar energy is being used to melt salt. The melted salt stores the energy. It's just a different kind of battery. Nothing fantastic or radical at all. The only thing useful about it is that it allows electricity from solar to be produced 24/7 rather than just during the day.

You could equally use the solar during the day to pump water up a mountain, then generate the electricity by flowing it back down through a turbine at night. This would probably less efficient than the salt storage though.

Personally I'm waiting for that greek superreactor. That's the one. Whatever happened to that ? Some people had the tenacity to doubt that it was actually real and defied the laws of physics.

http://www.e-catworld.com/2011/10/october-6th-2011-rossis-e-cat-test-comment-thread/

A single 20 KW unit is apparently being tested by scientists today. The 1 MW plant (52 units tethered) is to be demonstrated in a month's time.

Some good pics and snippets here: https://twitter.com/#!/22passi

Edited by Traktion

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I think these 'power towers' are wonderful. I'm far more convinced by these than the fad that is photo-voltaic (Anything requiring a government bung must be crap, right?), and I work for a P.V. installer....

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I think these 'power towers' are wonderful. I'm far more convinced by these than the fad that is photo-voltaic (Anything requiring a government bung must be crap, right?), and I work for a P.V. installer....

They look quite good. I'm not sure I would like to live in a house though surrounded by a blinding array of mirrors with a red hot vat of boiling salt perched on top.

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I think these 'power towers' are wonderful. I'm far more convinced by these than the fad that is photo-voltaic (Anything requiring a government bung must be crap, right?), and I work for a P.V. installer....

The problem with the subsidised schemes is that the cell and installation seems way over the top of the actual cost. I mean, how much do you charge per watt? Far more than £1, I expect.

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I think it's quite exciting, but I think the cost of these will come down massively.

It's mirrors, salt and a turbine.

Mass production will reduce the cost significantly I would guess.

I do think PV films might be the thing though also!

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I'm cautiously optimistic about this technology. It doesn't depend on rare earth metals in order to function (photovoltaic), it doesn't generate waste products that are expensive and/or dangerous to deal with (nukes), and it doesn't require the infrastructure to be positioned where it is either difficult and expensive to maintain (offshore windmills) or has to be away from centres of population and probably in areas of natural beauty (onshore windmills). The only drawbacks I can think of are that land use is quite high (but there is no reason why you couldn't use brownfield sites or use the land around the mirrors for agricultural production, surely?) and you need a warm climate. So it wouldn't be perfect for everywhere, but it strikes me as a significant step forward.

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Interesting. Back of the envelope:

1KWh costs about 11p, right?

So 110GWh means 0.11*110*10e9/10e3 = £12 million worth of 'leccy per year.

If the plant costs 250 million that's something like a 5% return on capital. That's fairly close to commercial viability if the running costs are low and the hardware lasts more than 30 years.

Don't forget the Feed in tariff

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I'm cautiously optimistic about this technology. It doesn't depend on rare earth metals in order to function (photovoltaic), it doesn't generate waste products that are expensive and/or dangerous to deal with (nukes), and it doesn't require the infrastructure to be positioned where it is either difficult and expensive to maintain (offshore windmills) or has to be away from centres of population and probably in areas of natural beauty (onshore windmills). The only drawbacks I can think of are that land use is quite high (but there is no reason why you couldn't use brownfield sites or use the land around the mirrors for agricultural production, surely?) and you need a warm climate. So it wouldn't be perfect for everywhere, but it strikes me as a significant step forward.

The other big drawback of both PV and concentrated solar is the amount of water you need to clean the mirrors or panels to maintain peak efficiency. Whilst the MENA, Australia Southern spain may have huge tracts of land available for these projects water availability maybe a limiting factor.

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  • 277 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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