HE SAID that top priority should be to bring down the costs involved in solar energy. He has further gone on record with the following :
The materials, which include new mixtures of salts as well as new glass materials, could be key to making solar thermal power plants cheap enough - and reliable enough - to compete with fossil fuels on a large scale. Unlike solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, solar thermal plants generating electricity by using a large field of mirrors to concentrate sunlight and produce high temperatures that, in turn, generate steam for a turbine and drive a generator.
Such plants cost a litte more than ones based on solar panels, which have recently fallen in price, but they do have one advantage: it is easier and far cheaper to store heat produced by the mirrors in a concentrated solar thermal plant than to store electricity from solar panels.
Some solar-thermal plants are equipped with heat storge equipment that allows them to generate steam even after the sun goes down. The new salt and glass materials, which Halotechnics discovered by usng a high throughput screening process to sort through nearly 18,000 mixtures, could reduce the cost of solar thermal power in several ways.
They allow solar-thermal plants to operate at high temperatures, thus improving their efficiency and reducing the size of the mirror array needed by upto 25 percent. The materials store up to three times more energy than heat storage materials used now, reducing the cost of the storage system, and potentially increase the number of thermal plants that can be equipped with storage. Better energy storage can reduce the cost per kilowatt-hour of the electricity produced by a solar thermal plant, because the turbines and generators can produce power day and night. More can be learnt by visiting the Halotechnics website updates and also undertaking plant tours for better understanding the whole processes involved.
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