Las Vegas at night is a spectacular lightshow. It seems impossible to imagine this city being powered by solar power.
In the following days this incredible concept is about to become a reality.
SolarReserve’s new concentrated solar energy plant Crescent Dune is set to introduce a unique technology that will challenge the way the world currently thinks about renewable energy.
Crescent Dune situated near Tonopah in the Central Nevada Desert, 300kms north of Las Vegas, will capture and stores the sun’s power to reliably provide electricity whenever it’s needed most. Powering 75,000 homes, casinos and entertainment palaces during peak demand periods, even after dark. With zero emissions.
The unique and potential game-changing feature of this one billion dollar facility is the molten salt power tower technology with fully integrated energy storage. This cost effective power supply is cheaper than diesel and is therefore competitive with new build coal and gas generation.
The super battery holds 10 hours of molten salt storage that converts to deliver 110MW of base-load capacity to Las Vegas between the hours of 12 noon and midnight each day, when the city needs it most.
Over 10,000 tracking mirrors, called heliostats, in a 2800-meter diameter mechanical solar reflection field follow the sun throughout the day and reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a large receiver (heat exchanger) on top of a concrete tower.
Within the black tube walls of the receiver, molten salt flows through the piping and absorbs the heat from the concentrated sunlight. The liquid salt is heated from 288 degrees Celsius to over 566 degrees Celsius. Unlike water, which at these temperatures would flash into steam, these salts maintain their liquid state for efficient storage.
After passing through the receiver, the high temperature molten salt flows down the piping inside the tower at a rate of over 5,000 gallons(18927.1 liters) per minute, and into an insulated thermal storage tank, where the energy is stored as high-temperature molten salt until electricity is needed. There is minimal heat loss through this process per day.
When power is needed, day or night, the hot molten salt is passed through a steam generation system to heat water and produce high temperature and high pressure steam which in turn is used to drive a conventional power turbine, which generates electricity.
SolarReserve has the exclusive worldwide license to this technology, which was originally developed and perfected during various space programs.
The company currently has numerous projects in various stages of development in Middle East, Africa, Australia, China, India and Latin America.
Crescent Dune is set to be generating electricity before the end of April 2015.