Concentrated Solar Power

The sun′s energy is captured with mirrors and concentrated to heat steam that then drives a turbine to produce electricity.

The principle of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants is simple: curved sun-tracking mirrors capture sunlight and concentrate it on a solar receiver tube. A transfer medium, mainly oil, flows through this tube, and is heated by the concentrated solar radiation. This medium transfers its heat to water, generating steam. The steam drives a turbine, which then drives a generator. Finally, the generator produces electricity. While the technical principles of CSP were established a long time ago, the current challenge is enhancing plant efficiency. Experts expect that CSP plants could be economically competitive within 15 years, allowing the gradual phase-out of subsidies for electricity generatedin these plants. Copyright Siemens AG, Munich/Berlin.

See also: Solar Cell.

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Subjects: Environmental