solar thermal electric

Google joins race to reach grid parity for solar thermal power

BrightSource Energy a US-based solar thermal start-up recently received a hefty $115 million in funding from investors including Google to develop its solar power tower technology. Google is backing this technology because it sees it as way of bringing down the cost and mitigating the environmental impact of its vast array of data servers around the world.

Google’s green energy czar, Bill Weihl, recently announced at the Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco (US) that his company was working on new solar mirrors that could improve on current technology, making utility-scale solar power generation more cost-effective. “We’ve been looking at very unusual materials for the mirrors both for the reflective surface as well as the substrate that the mirror is mounted on,” Weihl told Reuters. “We’re not there yet. I’m very hopeful we will have mirrors that are cheaper than what companies in the space are using.”

5 dollar cents a kWh?

“In two to three years we could be demonstrating a significant scale pilot system that would generate a lot of power and would be clearly mass manufacturable at a cost that would give us a levelized cost of electricity that would be in the 5 cents or sub 5 cents a kilowatt hour range,” Weihl added. That would be competitive with the price of coal-powered electrical generation, one of the key goals of Google’s renewable research.

Google’s data centres require tens of MW of electricity each to operate and the ability to shift to cheaper renewable energy could dramatically slash the environmental impact of these facilities while reducing its overheads. Indeed, Weihl claims that solar thermal power could be helping Google to reduce its energy costs by 60% within half a year or so.

BrightSource Energy at the cutting edge

In June 2008, BrightSource Energy opened the Solar Energy Development Centre (SEDC), a fully operational solar demonstration facility used to test equipment, materials and procedures as well as construction and operating methods. The SEDC is located in the Rotem Industrial Park in Israel’s Negev Desert, about 100 km southeast of Jerusalem.

It is now developing its first solar power complex in California’s Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will be located in Ivanpah, approximately 80 km northwest of Needles, California, and about five miles from the California-Nevada border. Employing cutting edge solutions such as dry cooling and direct steam generation, the complex will generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 450,000 tons per year. When completed, the Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal electricity produced in the US today.

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BrightSource Energy

Baterías con premio en la gran feria europea del almacenamiento de energía
El jurado de la feria ees (la gran feria europea de las baterías y los sistemas acumuladores de energía) ya ha seleccionado los productos y soluciones innovadoras que aspiran, como finalistas, al gran premio ees 2021. Independientemente de cuál o cuáles sean las candidaturas ganadoras, la sola inclusión en este exquisito grupo VIP constituye todo un éxito para las empresas. A continuación, los diez finalistas 2021 de los ees Award (ees es una de las cuatro ferias que integran el gran evento anual europeo del sector de la energía, The smarter E).