Largest solar power plant in a generation to be built in Nevada
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
February 9, 2006
The groundbreaking for the largest solar thermal power plant to be built in 15 years takes place this weekend in Boulder City, Nevada.
High energy prices have triggered increased interest in renewable energy technologies. In his State of the Union address last week, President Bush said the United States needs to reduce its "addiction" to oil and called for more investment in solar and other renewable energy technologies. Such technologies are considered "green" because they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists cite as a contributing factor to climate change.
A release detailing the project appears below.
Improved schott receiver technology will reduce maintenance costs and enable new solar thermal power plant to capture moreenergy from the sun.
Schott unveils new solar receiver tubes at groundbreaking for the largest US solar thermal power plant to be built in 15 years
February 11, 2006 (Boulder City, NV) — As Solargenix/Acciona executives and federal, state, and local officials broke ground nearbyto symbolically start construction on the 64MW Nevada Solar Onesolar thermal power plant, SCHOTT officially introduced to the public its new PTR 70® solar receiver, which will lie at the heart of Solargenix's new power plant.
California adopts massive solar energy project: The California Public Utilities Commission approved a $2.9 billion program to make the state one of the world's largest producers of solar power. The plan would add 3,000 megawatts of solar energy over 11 years through the installation of 1 million rooftop solar energy systems on homes, businesses, farms, schools and public buildings. The amount of electricity generated would be equivalent to about six new power stations. Solar power could save California utility customers an estimated $9 billion from a reduced need to build new power plants and purchase electricity supplies at peak demand.
Ethanol more energy-efficient than oil, finds study: Using ethanol -- alcohol produced from corn or other plants -- instead of gasoline is more energy-efficient that oil say researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
Energy efficiency helped California grow an extra $31 billion finds study: Countering Bush administration claims to the contrary, environmental officials for the state of California and the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo have found significant evidence that greenhouse gas pollution can be substantially reduced at a profit rather than a cost. The study, commissioned by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, found that energy efficiency has helped the California economy grow an extra 3 percent - a $31 billion gain - compared to business as usual. Further, the researchers say that each Californian typically saved about $1,000 per year between 1975 and 1995 just through efficiency standards for buildings and appliances.
Solar projects in California desert could help state's energy problems
Two large solar projects in the desert of California could boost industrial-scale development of solar technology according to an article in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.
Disposable solar panels developed using nanotechnology: Scientists at the University of Cape Town are exploiting the nano-scale properties of silicon to develop a super-thin disposable solar panel poster which they hope could offer rural dwellers a cheap, alternative source of power. Many people living in remote areas are not linked to the national electricity grid, and use batteries or run their own generators to supply their power needs. The scientists have developed technology for printing specialised inks containing tiny nanoparticles of silicon and other semiconductors onto paper. The solar panels are printed in much the same way as conventional colour images, using three or four separate print runs with black, blue, yellow and magenta ink.
Organic solar cells will help spur viability of alternative energy: Imagine being able to "paint" your roof with enough alternative energy to heat and cool your home. What if soldiers in the field could carry an energy source in a roll of plastic wrap in their backpacks?
Australian industry embraces green energy while government fights emissions cuts: Despite Australia's resistance to limiting carbon dioxide emissions through the Kyoto Protocol, Australian industry and entrepreneurs are working on novel ways to reduce dependence on traditional fossil fuels.
Harvesting tornadoes as power plants; renewable wind vortex energy: Engineers are working to use artificial tornadoes as a renewable energy source according to an article in last week's issue of The Economist. Storms release a tremendous amount of energy. Hurricane Katrina, a category 4 hurricane, released enough energy to supply the world's power needs for a year, while the typical tornado produces as much power as a large power station.
Nevada Solar One is expected to begin providing energy to the grid in 2007 and will produce enough electricity to meet the energy demands of about 40,000 households. The use of solar power to produce electricity at the plant, rather than fossil fuels, will result in a reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to removing approximately one million cars from the nation's highways.
"Solargenix's decision to use SCHOTT's new PTR 70 receivers at the Nevada Solar One power plant strengthens SCHOTT's position as a global leader in the solar receiver market," said Dr. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the SCHOTT Management Board. "We are pleased to contribute a key component to this solar thermal power plant, whichwill be a shining example to the world of how advanced technologies can be used to generate clean electricity."
Technological Advancements Lower Costs, Improve Efficiency
SCHOTT developed new glass and steel coatings for the PTR 70 receiver, making it more reliable and efficient than earlier models. In addition, SCHOTT redesigned the receiver's bellows and glass-to-metal seals so that the amount of the tube's active area, used to capture energy from the sun, has been increased to 96%.
"Solar thermal power plants have become a real alternative to conventional fossil fuel power plants because they are able to generate clean electricity in a dependable and cost-effective manner," said Steve Russo, head of SCHOTT's Solar Thermal business in North America. "By using our glass and advanced material expertise to make solar thermal power plants more efficient and reliable, SCHOTT is part of the reason why communities in sunbelt areas around the world are increasingly exploring the use of solar thermalpower to satisfy their growing energy needs."
"The advancements that SCHOTT engineers have made in solar receiver technology are one of the key reasons we are able to breakground on this new power plant today," said Solargenix President John Myles. "Their work demonstrates how human ingenuity will enable the world to meet its growing demand for energy in an environmentally friendly manner."
SCHOTT has increased the efficiency and reliability of its new PTR 70 receivers by developing:
- New anti-reflective glass coatings: Previous glass coatings failed to adhere to solar receivers' borosilicate glass outer envelope tubes over time. SCHOTT has developed a new anti-reflective glass coating for its receivers that resists abrasion for years, while still allowing more than 96% of solar radiation to penetrate the receiver and heat the heat transfer fluid within.
- New absorptive steel coatings: In order to achieve peak efficiency the steel absorber tube located inside the outer glass envelope tube needs to absorb as much solar radiation as possible while releasing as little heat as possible. SCHOTT's new absorptive steel coating improves radiation absorption rates to 95%, while helping ensure that no more than 14% of the heat from the steel tube is released.
- Improved glass-to-metal seals: In other solar thermal receivers, differences in the thermal expansion of the inner steel tube and the outer glass envelope tube resulted in tube failure when there were severe shifts in temperature. The new PTR 70 receiver uses a new borosilicate glass with the same thermal expansion coefficient as steel. The result is a receiver that can handle the changes in temperature that occur as coolNevada desert nights quickly become hot desert days. This improvement was designed to reduce both maintenance time and the need for replacement parts.
- A more efficient design: In order to maximize the energy captured by the receiver, as much of the receiver as possible needs to be used to heat the HTF that flows within. By positioning the receiver's bellows on top of its glass-to-metal seals, SCHOTT has been able to expand the percentage of the length of the tube used to capture solar radiation to 96%. An independent study by the German Aerospace Center on the new PTR 70 tubes at the Plataforma Solar de Almeria testing site in southern Spain has shown that this new design improves the receivers' overall efficiency by 2% over previous models and competitive products.
About SCHOTT: SCHOTT is a technology-driven, international group that sees its core purpose as the lasting improvement of living and working conditionsthrough special materials and high-tech solutions. Its main areas of focus are the household appliance industry, pharmaceutical packaging, optics and opto-electronics, information technology, consumer electronics, lighting, automotive engineering and solar energy.
SCHOTT has a presence in close proximity to its customers through highly efficient production and sales companies in all of its major markets. It has more than 17,000 employees producing worldwide sales of approximately $2 billion. In North America, SCHOTT'sholding companies SCHOTT Corporation and its subsidiary SCHOTT North America, Inc. employ about 2,500 people in 16 operations.
The company's technological and economic expertise is closely linked with its social and ecological responsibilities.
SCHOTT is one of the leading solar industry companies worldwide. The international technology group supplies components for almostall photovoltaic and solar thermal applications. PV solar electricitymodules with various performance ratings are used for decentralized power generation. Receivers are the key components in solar thermal parabolic trough power plants, a future technology for centralized power generation along the Earth's sunbelt.
This article includes a modified news release from SCHOTT North America.