Concentrating solar power
Shinnar, Reuel Department of Chemical Engineering, The City College of New York, New York, New York.
Citro, Francesco The Clean Fuels Institute, The City College of New York, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Description of CSP plants
- Storage and backup in CSP plants
- Solar tower CSP plant design
- Desert area availability
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Systems that use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver where it is collected and converted to heat that is used to produce electricity by conventional means. The main drives for developing reliable sources of renewable energy are the fast-growing worldwide energy demand and the effort to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by relying less on fossil fuels. Among the renewable energy sources (such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass), concentrating solar power (CSP) is the only technology that can supply several times the world's energy requirements, since it has viable, efficient, and available one-day energy storage methods. Storage systems for other renewable sources, such as photovoltaic and wind, are much less efficient and more expensive. There also is not enough usable land for growing sufficient biomass. CSP plants have to be installed in deserts, because clouds and rain strongly lower their efficiency (Fig. 1). Suitable deserts are one or two orders of magnitude larger than needed and, aside from some isolated islands, high-efficiency transmission lines can reach all populated areas. See also: Desert; Energy sources; Energy storage; Solar energy
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