Spain heralds in a new era in renewable energy by finally plugging in the World’s largest solar tower in Seville.
Abengoa Solar’s PS20, PS10‘s successor, is designed to provide clean power to 10,000 homes with its 20MW capacity. The tower is a step closer to reach the actual output of 300-MW by 2013 through the cutting-edge solar-thermal complex. Abengoa is next planning to install four more 50-MW plants.
Solar Galore: Taking clue from Sunflowers
The plant uses 1,255 heliostats or motorized mirrors, with each spreading over an area of 1,291 square feet, to reflect sunshine to the fixed focal point on the top of the 531 foot tall tower. The mirrors, just like a Sunflower, follow the Sun’s path to tap maximum energy.
CSP: Clean, Clean, Really Clean
Certainly, Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) is the next big thing in solar energy innovation and is quite ready to give fossil fuels a hard run in the coming days.
The Problem: What if the Sun is not shining? Electrical batteries doesn’t seem to be a viable clean option to store power for later use as they are not only expensive, but are also a potential environmental hazard. Moreover, they are inefficient as far as storing and transferring power on a large scale is concerned.
CSP is the Answer: CSP simply uses the Sun’s energy to boil steam, which in turn is used to run turbines through the pressure created. The Sun’s energy in this way is stored in the form of heat, rather than electricity, in insulated storage tanks, which can be used anytime beating all weather conditions. Using current technology, the heat energy might not be stored for a longer time. However, soon we can expect, as per the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to control and stretch the time factor; even up to 12 hours.
According to Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar:
Generating more power during production testing than the design output is indeed a significant milestone. The technological breakthroughs we have achieved, coupled with our cumulative expertise, have enabled us to take a qualitative leap forward in our power tower technology.
CSP Vs CPV
Better green future
The incredible solar tower will prevent over 12,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. The project, when completed, would certainly turn out to be a major green asset for Spain. Especially, with Abengoa Solar expanding fast, with presence in 70 countries globally, the truly green solar towers would soon become world’s cynosure amongst skyscrapers.
Check out the CSP solar tower inside-out in the video below:
Image Credits: Afloresm (Flickr), Abengoa