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View Diary: Pressurized Solar Steam Test! (36 comments)

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  •  can this be alongside 'conventional' steam sources (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, ZenManProject, cotterperson

    so that any solar steam addition will be used in the electrical generation?

    and how does that complicate the power companies plant management?

    I am assuming some sources are very hard to micro adjust to compensate for the 'free' solar energy when available..I am guessing that natural gas plants and bio gas and bio-mass plants may be the only ones currently available for such a co-generation steam...stream.

    And all that management 'problem' really means is that we need some practical way to store energy to be able to efficiently use it over a longer cycle....capacitors, water storage, inertial systems etc.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 04:40:54 PM PDT

    •  CSP can be a 24/7 source. (4+ / 0-)

      Small units like this one are not likely to retain power generation capability overnight, but large CSP plants can be designed with that in mind.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:08:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A single unit (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, KenBee, cotterperson, Ashaman

        What you're seeing in these videos is just one single unit. The plumbing is designed to connect together into enormous runs of collectors. My hope is that our solar plants will be upwards of a square kilometer in size. Literally 60,000 of these units.

        But the size is all just a matter of upfront costs. What is more important is that they can pay for themselves very quickly. Whether we make 100KW plants or 100MW plants doesn't matter. If they are a good financial investment people will invest in them.

        It's time for cheaper solar power! Zenman Energy

        by ZenManProject on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 06:44:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A few ways (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, cotterperson, Ashaman

      There are ways to store solar energy that are beyond basic DC batteries. For example, one thing we've experimented with is a "heat battery". Basically the heat from the solar collectors runs into a mass that is highly insulated using vacuum panels along with ultra low thermal conductive materials. Then instead of having the solar receivers directly heat water which goes directly into a steam engine, we put more into the battery than we remove.

      So for example say you have X square meters of solar collectors powering a 1 turbine for 6 hours. If instead of that you make the solar collectors large say 4X square meters and have that heat go into a heat battery but still have it only power 1 turbine from the heat battery. Then even after the sun goes down, it will power the 1 turbine for 6 hours * 4 = 24 hours.

      Anyway, we're experimenting with heat batteries. Then we're also going to experiment with adding rectifier circuits to our AC induction motors to produce a DC output. We'll put the anode and cathode into a vat of water and through electrolysis we'll extract hydrogen and oxygen. Those gasses can be stored in a similar manner as natural gas and could theoretically offset the power production for days/weeks or longer without sunshine. It's just a matter of storing enough hydrogen.

      Storing energy is very wasteful though, until we have SO many solar power plants that it's cost effective to store it, it's better to just net meter the electricity and use the grid as a battery.

      It's time for cheaper solar power! Zenman Energy

      by ZenManProject on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 06:41:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks, as to the efficiencies of all those.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trivium, ZenManProject

        you'll find out what works best and most cost effectively.

        The grid / battery idea is usually sniffed at by people who claim that The Grid needs to be managed by the utilities so That Will Never Work etc.
            But that problem, if it is a real problem and not just FUD the utilities put out to delay and continue to pay off their investments...I suspect it is a minor problem if that, but then again I'm not a utility engineer.

        What I was suggesting is that there a lot of small regional and local power sources, in my area we have a bio mass, a bio gas, natural gas and hydro.
        Now since not all use a steam cycle to drive a turbine, but I am suggesting that for those that do that use Heat recovery steam generators, your modules could scale up to fit, and add to the steam input into the turbines.
           Since these would only make sense to plants where the power can be increased or decreased rapidly as needs be, this would seem to be a great opportunity for free solar energy input: and since the land is already an industrial setting, no more landscape needs tearing up to do it basically. I don't know how flexible these are for daily cycle adjustments, but the solar timing is predictable, as to some degree is the weather, and the peak load tends to correspond to the peak (mfg and air conditioning ) demand, it just seems like a good thing to look at besides independent generation. This way you can sell to the PUCs instead of fight with them. Point out they can then brag about how Green they have become, whatever works!
          And while you're at it get them to cover every square inch of their properties with solar panels too.

           I was standing in line to talk to a solar energy company fella at Earth Day when I overheard this snippet he was saying to potential customers:

        'well, no, because if everybody got money back people would be installing these all over and getting paid $10,000 a year, what if everybody did that?' !!!
        so....there's one problem right there, the few people who would put extra capacity above their direct needs are prevented because...something...

        Good work, keep at it!

        Oh the poor PUC, all that planning, the horrors!

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:21:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great idea (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee

          In the long run we'll have to get the laws changed to encourage medium sized plants to spring up everywhere. Personally I think it's a mistake to start with subsidies for renewable energy, but the laws do need to show much each state/locale is paying for energy. That will encourage plants to be built in certain areas.

          We'll get there soon.

          It's time for cheaper solar power! Zenman Energy

          by ZenManProject on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:54:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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