Power Plant Couples Coal, Solar Energy | September 7, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 36 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 36 | p. 40 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 7, 2009

Power Plant Couples Coal, Solar Energy

Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Sustainability
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: Power Generation, Solar
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Artist's rendering of XcelEnergy-Abengoa power plant.
Credit: XcelEnergy
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Artist's rendering of XcelEnergy-Abengoa power plant.
Credit: XcelEnergy

XcelEnergy's Cameo power plant near Grand Junction, Colo., will be the world's first facility to generate electricity by coupling coal and solar fuel sources. If successful, the state-funded $4.5 million demonstration project may be expanded and tried at other coal-fired plants, says Hank Price, vice president of technology development at Abengoa Solar, a Spanish energy company. Abengoa will build a 4.5-acre parabolic-trough-concentrating solar system adjacent to the coal-fired power plant to feed hot water to the plant's boiler and turbine system. Price stresses that it is a small solar pilot project and estimates its input will provide 3% or 1.3 MW to the 44-MW plant. Price believes solar could provide 10% or more of a coal plant's output, cutting carbon dioxide emissions and coal use. The solar system will be operational this fall, Price says, and will run for at least a year. The 52-year-old coal plant is set for retirement at the end of 2010 and, Price notes, provides an opportunity to overcome utility objections to trying an experimental system on a fully operational coal-fired power plant.

 
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