Gallery: Nevada’s New Molten Salt Solar Plant Will Produce Power Long A...

 

The Department of Energy just invested $737 million into the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada, which will generate energy well into the night by using molten salt as an energy storage medium. To do this the plant will focus nearly 20,000 heliostats upon a solar power tower filled with salt, heating the material to 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it has been heated the salt will retain its thermal energy for a long time, and it can be mixed with water to produce steam on demand, which can be used to drive turbines to produce electricity.

Nevada’s new molten salt solar plant will be run by rocket scientists from Pratt and Whitney. Companies such as SolarReserve have championed the use of molten salt in solar thermal projects because unlike water, it retains heat for a very long time. In this case, it is hoped that the plant will continue to produce power for 12 hours after the sun has set. The National Solar Thermal Test Facility has conducted several studies and concluded that molten salt is the most efficient material when it comes to storing the sun’s heat.

In the report, it was stated that, “molten salt is used in solar power tower systems because it is liquid at atmosphere pressure, it provides an efficient, low-cost medium in which to store thermal energy, its operating temperatures are compatible with today’s high-pressure and high-temperature steam turbines, and it is non-flammable and nontoxic.” Another benefit of salt is that it is very widely available as a natural resource, therefore costs are cheaper too.

+ Department of Energy

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10 Comments

  1. Power your life with sa... May 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    [...] In Nevada USA a US$ 737 million investment was made in the solar power generating plant Crescent Dunes to store solar energy in salt. What they are going to do is melt salt during the day with solar energy, then store that hot salt for later and then release the heat in the salt during the night heating water to generate steam that will in turn generate electricity. Source: http://inhabitat.com/nevadas-new-molten-salt-solar-plant-will-produce-power-long-after-the-sun-sets/ [...]

  2. Inhabitat’s Week ... May 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    [...] w&#1077 saw Nevada kick-&#1109t&#1072rt construction &#959&#1495 t&#1211&#1077 US’ first molten salt solar plant, w&#1211&#1110&#1089&#1211 w&#1110&#406&#406 generate energy long &#1072ft&#1077r t&#1211&#1077 sun [...]

  3. brownda May 30, 2011 at 10:00 am

    “Unlike water”?? By volume, water “retains heat” longer than just about any substance known to man. I suspect that the reason molten salt is used is due to some property other than its thermal capacitance.

  4. Inhabitat’s Week ... May 30, 2011 at 9:46 am

    [...] photovoltaic butterflies, and we saw Nevada kick-start construction on the US’ first molten salt solar plant, which will generate energy long after the sun has [...]

  5. Inhabitat’s Week ... May 30, 2011 at 8:11 am

    [...] photovoltaic butterflies, and we saw Nevada kick-start construction on the US’ first molten salt solar plant, which will generate energy long after the sun has [...]

  6. Inhabitat’s Week ... May 30, 2011 at 2:36 am

    [...] photovoltaic butterflies, and we saw Nevada kick-start construction on the US’ first molten salt solar plant, which will generate energy long after the sun has [...]

  7. Inhabitat’s Week ... May 30, 2011 at 2:32 am

    [...] photovoltaic butterflies, and we saw Nevada kick-start construction on the US’ first molten salt solar plant, which will generate energy long after the sun has [...]

  8. Inhabitat’s Week ... May 30, 2011 at 2:08 am

    [...] photovoltaic butterflies, and we saw Nevada kick-start construction on the US’ first molten salt solar plant, which will generate energy long after the sun has [...]

  9. Green news and more V2.... May 30, 2011 at 1:30 am

    [...] The NIER – An Eco Friendly Establishment Entirely Powered By Renewable Energy – Ecofriend Nevada's New Molten Salt Solar Plant Will Produce Power Long After the Sun Sets | Inhabitat – Green … New Supercapacitor Made With Biofuel By-Product is Cheaper, Greener | Inhabitat – Green Design [...]

  10. Inhabitat’s Week ... May 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    [...] photovoltaic butterflies, and we saw Nevada kick-start construction on the US’ first molten salt solar plant, which will generate energy long after the sun has [...]

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