Solar Tower of Power to Spain and Abu Dhabi

Torresol Tower

I just noticed fresh news of this newly formed company called Torresol that’s developing a Solar Tower of Power for both  Spain and Abu Dhabi.  It’s cool news and interesting technology, but it strikes me: Does anyone want to use their celebrity or political influence to bring more of these to the U.S.?  Hillary?  Obama?  Gore?  Buffett?  Pickens?  There’s a ton a raw land in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Texas, etc., and any given state could take a stab at a plan with transmission lines, right?  I know we talked about an EnviroMission tower before, but I haven’t seen any movement on that front.  It might take a green blogger coalition to get more of these built, but if we can’t figure it out, we’re going to see a new generation of dollars going to the same group of people.  If you know what I mean …

A concentrating solar concentrating power plant like the one pictured above could generate power for something like 30,000 homes (17 mw).

How It Works:
The Solar Tower of Power seems to have a few iterations, but the idea is that the tower contains molten salt and the surrounding solar concentrators or mirrors (with heliostats) redirect sunlight to the tower.  The tower will generate steam that turns an electricity turbine to create energy.  The salt is there to keep power going for about 15 hours even when there’s no sun.  For precise details check Torresol Energy, a new JV of MASDAR and SENER. 

Concentrator heliostat


Article tags: ,
  • Mike Chase

    I believe this is already in the works for Arizona. See this CNN article and the press release from the local power company.

  • Preston

    @Mike – nice, great find. You busted me, my chops are slightly rusty on the alt energy news and I hadn’t caught this. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. More of the plants mentioned in that CNN would be right on target.

  • Kelvin Findlay

    Why do you want to get rid of agriculture? And how does it relate to coal?

  • Preston

    @Kelvin – since I wrote this post, I found this Wired article that kind of parallels my line of thinking.

    But I should have explained my reference to agriculture. I’m cool with agriculture, especially vertical farming

    What I mean is the governmental support and cherry-picking of corn-based ethanol as one of the future sources of fuel for cars (I know, cars or no cars? That’s another discussion). We’ve been pumping $$ into ethanol, but rather, we should invest in tech such as this solar-thermal tower. Result? If you’re using plug-in electrical vehicles or something like that, you can tap into electrical to charge the vehicle. And the electrical is coming from solar towers, at least in part. Less ethanol, more solar thermal.

    Same thoughts with coal. Stop supporting coal, or even clean coal variations, and support tech such as the solar tower of power. The tower of solar power puts energy into the grid and homes and cars can plug into that power. The more power into the grid from solar, I’m thinking, the less we have to use from coal sources. Less coal, more solar thermal.

    Really though, I should be talking about all fossil fuel sources. Displace them all, where possible. Less fossil fuels, more renewables.

  • Mike

    Near Barstow (California) in the Mojave desert there have been solar towers operating for over 20 years. Do a web search on solar power in the Mojave desrt and you can find all kinds of links talking about existing plants that are producing power.

Popular Topics on Jetson Green