Friday, December 28, 2012

Solar Salt Storage

Fossil-fuel proponents often say that solar can't run at night and solar can't run the economy. This might be true without a storage technology, but companies such as Ausra are looking at solutions.

Their solar collectors employ mass-produced and thus cheaper flat mirrors, and they focus light onto tubes filled with water, thus directly producing steam which can be used to generate electricity.
solar-thermal plants are a solution because storing heat is much easier than storing electricity. It is estimated that solar-thermal plants capable of storing 16 hours' worth of heat could provide more than 90 percent of current U.S. power demand at prices competitive with coal and natural gas.

Solar_Power_Salt_Storage_System

Heat storage is more efficient than electricity storage. Just 2 to 7 percent of the energy is lost when heat is banked in a storage system, compared with losses of at least 15 percent when energy is stored in a battery

The typical method for storing the heat is to use molten-salt storage. Molten salts are inexpensive salt solutions that absorb considerable energy when they melt and give up that energy when they freeze.
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