Volume 90 Issue 52 | p. 15 | Concentrates
Issue Date: December 24, 2012

Solar, Fossil Fuel Joined In Program

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: concentrating solar power, fossil fuel, electricity, Department of Energy
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These experimental concentrating solar-power collection dishes are shown at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, N.M.
Credit: Randy Montoya
These solar power collection dishes at Sandia's National Solar Thermal Test Facility, called SunCatchers, are the next-generation model of concentrating solar-thermal power systems. Designed for high-volume production, ease of maintenance, and cost reductions, the dishes could be in commercial service in the very near future.
 
These experimental concentrating solar-power collection dishes are shown at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, N.M.
Credit: Randy Montoya

The Department of Energy is offering $20 million in financial assistance for technologies that integrate solar and fossil-fuel energy sources. The aid would support technologies that combine new “highly disruptive” concentrating solar power technologies with existing fossil-fuel—coal or natural gas—power-generating systems that produce electricity. Through a system of mirrors or lenses, concentrating solar power systems direct sunlight to heat a medium and drive a heat engine, usually a steam turbine. DOE’s assistance would help fund R&D and deployment of hybrid technologies that combine thermal or chemical energy from a concentrating solar installation with similar thermal energy from an existing fossil-fuel plant and, using both systems, generate electricity. The department’s goal is to fund two to four of these projects with participants—industry, universities, or national laboratories—paying 75% of the cost. DOE estimates that use of this technology could add 11 to 21 gigawatts—the equivalent of 11 to 21 nuclear power plants—to existing fossil-fuel power-generating stations.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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