New Solar Plant Generates Electricity Even At Night

July 26th, 2010 at 8:07 am
 


A new solar power plant has been established in Italy that continues to generate electricity even at night. The new solar power plant named Archimede is a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant located in Priolo Gargallo in Sicily, Italy that was just recently inaugurated on July 14, 2010. Although it is not the first CSP plant built, it is now known to be the very first CSP plant in the world that use molten salt for heat transfer and storage.

The Archimede solar power plant is essentially composed of rows and rows of huge parabolic mirrors used to capture the suns rays that augments the energy generated by the gas-fired power plant already existing in the site. The mirrors concentrate the absorbed heat into pies carrying molten salt fluid. This produces thermal energy high enough to produce high pressure steam that is channeled into turbines to produce electricity. This results in a reduction of fossil fuel use to generate electricity.

What makes the Archimede Solar Plant unique is that it makes use of molten salt fluid instead of the usual synthetic oil used in other CSP plants.

Molten salt is known to be able to reach very high temperatures and can hold more heat for a longer period than synthetic oil. This makes the Archimede solar power plant able to produce electricity from the stored heat even when the sun has already gone down. This type of solar power plant may prove to be a wonderful alternative to harnessing the power of the sun to generate electricity that has a lesser negative environmental impact.

Image Source: Inhabitat

 

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