More like this, please: Solar Plant Uses Salt, Water to Make Electricity
The L.A. Times has the full story, which is by the AP and so not fair game for reposting (sigh. Associated Press: you owe me. I made you money on more stories and pictures than I can shake a stick at back in the 1980s) here.
Instead I'll point out that if you saw the Matthew McConaughey flick, "Safari," you know this place.
Drivers near Barstow have for years figured it was an abandoned movie set, in fact. But it's a molten-salt plant. The first new one is about to go online in Spain:
We could do a lot more of these. I can think of places in the Trans-Pecos where they wouldn't even interfere with the grazing! One PhysicsToday commenter posits:
James M. Essig | March 10, 2009 10:31 PM | Reply
This molten salt technology for purposes of storing solar energy is a great idea. Any material with a high heat capacity is good for storing energy so that the solar stations can continue to generate power on cloudy days and at night.
I can see that other systems that use materials that remain stably solid at temperatures as great as perhaps 2,000 K to 2,500 K but with high specific heats could be effective provided that such materials could be closed off by layered highly reflective and refractive dewar type shielding apparatus. The very hot thermal masses could continue to pump out power for cloudy days on end depending on how large the thermal masses where.
Solar power can be effectively utilized along with wind power, tidal current power, hydroelectric dams, and biofuels. A concerted effort is needed to produce an economic study with the goal of actually going completely green and renewable within our lifetimes. To sustain the human race indefinitely is by definition going to require going sustainable.
Running our climate into the ground in such a manner that we make no further consideration for our descendants hundreds and thousands of years into the future is selfish foolishness.
It's not toxic.
It's not futuristic technology -- they proved the notion up in the 1990s, and have the patents now as well.
Here is how it works:
It looks like, in comparison with nuclear or even coal-fired plants, this could be a boon. Such a plant might cost less financially as well as environmentally.