gGadget > Solar Power Tower Will Help Keep Las Vegas Lit at Night
SolarReserve, a solar power startup, has just finished constructing a solar power tower that will be the driving force in their Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, which will ultimately deliver sustainable energy to Las Vegas, even when the sun goes down. This 550 foot solar tower is the tallest in the world. It will work with 10,000 mirrors and molten salt to collect up to 10 hours of stored energy at a time. By the end of 2013, SolareReserve predicts that their Crescent Dunes solar power plant will be able to deliver 110 megawatts of power to the Las Vegas area.
Other companies have used molten salt in their solar projects, but SolarReserve is the first company to use liquid molten salt to collect energy and store it to create a substantial reserve of energy that can be delivered whenever needed. SolarReserve’s solar power system heats the molten salt to about 500 degrees Fahrenheit and stores it in a tank. When energy’s needed, the stored molten salt interacts with water from a water storage tank to generate steam and, ultimately, energy. Once the salt has been used, it goes into a cold salt storage tank until it goes through the process to become molten salt all over again after the solar power tower has soaked up some rays.
Coal and nuclear power plants generate steam in a similar manner as SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes solar plant. However, neither coal nor nuclear power is renewable and both produce harmful emissions. SolarReserve’s solar energy generation method, on the other hand, is completely renewable and has no negative impact on the environment whatsoever.