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Kinds of Solar Plants--WELLSEE solar

cindy / 2014-01-02
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Parabolic Troughs

Parabolic troughs are used in the largest solar power facility in the world located in the Mojave Desert at Kramer Junction, California. This facility has operated since the 1980s and accounts for the majority of solar electricity produced by the electric power sector today.
A parabolic trough collector has a long parabolic-shaped reflector that focuses the sun's rays on a receiver pipe located at the focus of the parabola.  The collector tilts with the sun as the sun moves from east to west during the day to ensure that the sun is continuously focused on the receiver. 

Because of its parabolic shape, a trough can focus the sun at 30 to 100 times its normal intensity (concentration ratio) on the receiver pipe located along the focal line of the trough, achieving operating temperatures over 750°F.


Source: Stock photography (copyrighted)
The "solar field" has many parallel rows of solar parabolic trough collectors aligned on a north-south horizontal axis.  A working (heat transfer) fluid is heated as it circulates through the receiver pipes and returns to a series of "heat exchangers" at a central location. Here, the fluid circulates through pipes so it can transfer its heat to water to generate high-pressure, superheated steam.  The steam is then fed to a conventional steam turbine and generator to produce electricity.  When the hot fluid passes through the heat exchangers, it cools down, and is then recirculated through the solar field to heat up again.

The plant is usually designed to operate at full power using solar energy alone, given sufficient solar energy. However, all parabolic trough power plants can use fossil fuel combustion to supplement the solar output during periods of low solar energy, such as on cloudy days.

Solar Dish

A solar dish/engine system uses concentrating solar collectors that track the sun, so they always point straight at the sun and concentrate the solar energy at the focal point of the dish. A solar dish's concentration ratio is much higher than a solar trough's, typically over 2,000, with a working fluid temperature over 1380°F.  The power-generating equipment used with a solar dish can be mounted at the focal point of the dish, making it well suited for remote operations or, as with the solar trough, the energy may be collected from a number of installations and converted to electricity at a central point. 

The engine in a solar dish/engine system converts heat to mechanical power by compressing the working fluid when it is cold, heating the compressed working fluid, and then expanding the fluid through a turbine or with a piston to produce work.  The engine is coupled to an electric generator to convert the mechanical power to electric power.

Solar Power Tower

A solar power tower or central receiver generates electricity from sunlight by focusing concentrated solar energy on a tower-mounted heat exchanger (receiver).  This system uses hundreds to thousands of flat sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to reflect and concentrate the sun's energy onto a central receiver tower.  The energy can be concentrated as much as 1,500 times that of the energy coming in from the sun. 


Energy losses from thermal-energy transport are minimized as solar energy is being directly transferred by reflection from the heliostats to a single receiver, rather than being moved through a transfer medium to one central location, as with parabolic troughs. 

Power towers must be large to be economical.This is a promising technology for large-scale grid-connected power plants.  Though power towers are in the early stages of development compared with parabolic trough technology, a number of test facilities have been constructed around the world.

The U.S. Department of Energy, along with a number of electric utilities, built and operated a demonstration solar power tower near Barstow, California, during the 1980s and 1990s.

Yes, take action and contact us, we can help you on your solar power projects.

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