December 22, 2010

Solar: The Water Problem

A fascinating post from Climate Progress on new solar systems that require far less water.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: If concentrating solar power (“CSP”) is a core climate solution, indirect dry cooling systems (also known as “Heller” systems) will be a crucial enabling technology, since large-scale CSP will be located in desert regions. US power companies have long favored direct dry cooling systems for fossil plants, probably because of the visual impact of Heller systems. But Heller systems have long experience in certain regions and will probably play an important role in the success of large-scale CSP. This is due to their higher efficiency, smaller footprints, quieter operation, lower maintenance, higher availability, and more flexible site layout. Heller systems can reduce water consumption in a CSP plant by 97% with minimal performance impact. The height of the cooling towers should be less of an issue in remote desert locations, especially since the central tower in power tower facilities will be of comparable height.

See also this post on solar projects which store energy in molten salt

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