Our favorite eco-advocate and art collector, Leonardo DiCaprio is earning even more points with us, by donating his recent acquisition, Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada), to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The sculpture, by artist John Gerrard, is a large scale computer simulation of the solar thermal power tower, which uses 10,000 mirrors to generate clean energy. The frameless LED wall sculpture famously held court at New York’s Lincoln Center for the last few months of 2014 will now become part of LACMA’s permanent collection.
Gerrard’s Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada), is a computer simulation of the Nevada power plant, located 190 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The plant uses thousands of heliostat mirrors to reflect sunlight and utilize the sun’s thermal energy to heat molten salts. The salts flow through a 540-foot solar power tower, producing steam that generates electricity. The entire system acts as a giant thermal battery with an output of 110 megawatts of energy.
The sculptural work donated by DiCaprio was created by Gerrard along with a team of modelers and programmers who used a video game engine to simulate the conditions in Nevada. Throughout the day, the LED wall shows the power station as the mirrors continually turn to chart the sun moving across the sky. Viewers can experience views of the station charging with the morning sun, or inactive at night, when stars and constellations can be seen behind the floodlit station.
DiCaprio is said to have donated Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) to the museum as a way for visitors to learn more about sustainable power plants and clean energy.