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World’s First Hybrid Coal-Solar Power Plant Goes Online in Colorado

Posted By Cameron Scott On July 12, 2010 @ 1:30 pm In Air quality,global warming,green technology,Solar Power | 9 Comments

xcel energy, abengoa solar, hybrid coal-solar power plants, cameo, colorado, energy, greener energy, coal energy, cleantech, sustainable design [1]

Here’s a case of strange bedfellows: the world’s first hybrid coal-solar power plant is now up and running outside Palisade, Colorado. A joint project between the utilities giant Xcel Energy [2] and Abengoa Solar [3], the unit of Xcel’s Cameo plant is intended to show that solar power can reduce the environmental impact of coal-fired power plants [4].

xcel energy, abengoa solar, hybrid coal-solar power plants, cameo, colorado, energy, greener energy, coal energy, cleantech, sustainable design [5]

The plant uses parabolic trough [6] solar collectors to heat the water that goes into the coal-fired turbine, which will reduce the amount of coal used at the facility by 2 to 3 percent. For a cost of $4.5 million, the hybrid plant will produce the equivalent of just one of 49 megawatts from solar power.

It hardly sounds like a bargain to this blogger, but it’s part of the coal industry’s aggressive efforts to keep its irons in the fire as pressure mounts for cleaner energy alternatives [7]. Indeed, several utilities have joined with the Electric Power Research Institute to study the hybrid coal-solar combination in North Carolina and New Mexico, and a solar-natural gas plant is already under construction in the Sunshine State.

Abengoa [8] has pioneered the parabolic trough solar collector, in which glass mirrors which concentrate the sun’s energy into a series of tubes filled with a heat transfer fluid — in this case, mineral oil. When the oil reaches 300°C, it is fed to an exchanger where the heat is transferred to water, bringing it nearly to boiling before it enters the boiler where a coal fire will convert it to steam, driving the turbine that generates electricity.

+ Xcel Energy [2]

+ Abengoa Solar [9]

Via Physorg [10]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/worlds-first-hybrid-coal-solar-power-plant-goes-online-in-colorado/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/12/worlds-first-hybrid-coal-solar-power-plant-goes-online-in-colorado/cameo-ss-photo/

[2] Xcel Energy: http://www.xcelenergy.com/Minnesota/Company/AboutUs/Pages/Temp.aspx

[3] Abengoa Solar: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/07/05/obama-kick-starts-us-solar-industry-with-2-billion-investment/

[4] coal-fired power plants: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/11/06/is-it-green-clean-coal/

[5] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/12/worlds-first-hybrid-coal-solar-power-plant-goes-online-in-colorado/cameo-plant/

[6] parabolic trough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabolic_trough

[7] cleaner energy alternatives: http://www.inhabitat.com/energy/

[8] Abengoa: http://www.inhabitat.com/index.php?s=abengoa

[9] + Abengoa Solar: http://www.abengoasolar.com/corp/web/en/index.html

[10] Physorg: http://www.physorg.com/news198135102.html

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