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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
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  and Abengoa Solar , the unit of Xcel’s Cameo plant is intended to show that solar power can reduce the environmental impact of coal-fired power plants .
The plant uses parabolic trough  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 . 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  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 
+ Abengoa Solar 
Via Physorg 
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 Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/12/worlds-first-hybrid-coal-solar-power-plant-goes-online-in-colorado/cameo-ss-photo/
 Xcel Energy: http://www.xcelenergy.com/Minnesota/Company/AboutUs/Pages/Temp.aspx
 Abengoa Solar: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/07/05/obama-kick-starts-us-solar-industry-with-2-billion-investment/
 coal-fired power plants: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/11/06/is-it-green-clean-coal/
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/12/worlds-first-hybrid-coal-solar-power-plant-goes-online-in-colorado/cameo-plant/
 parabolic trough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabolic_trough
 cleaner energy alternatives: http://www.inhabitat.com/energy/
 Abengoa: http://www.inhabitat.com/index.php?s=abengoa
 + Abengoa Solar: http://www.abengoasolar.com/corp/web/en/index.html
 Physorg: http://www.physorg.com/news198135102.html
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