Concentrating Solar Power Systems
If you have ever seen a field with several mirrors pointing toward the sun you may be looking at a solar power system. These systems work to concentrate the sunlight to one area and use the heat to heat up the liquid that flows along the pipes. This system is called Parabolic-trough system. This type of system heats oil that is flowing through the pipe. The oil is hot and that is why it is used to boil water to power a steam generator which in turns powers electricity.
The reason that this system works so well is because the U-shaped mirrors attracts and collects the suns heat which is then transferred onto the receiver. The receiver absorbs the heat and transfers into fluid which helps to power the engine. The heat causes the fluid to swell up against the piston and that produces mechanical power. This type of power can be used to run things like generators or even an alternator that will produce electricity. This system works great when because it uses molten salt that flows through the receiver. When the salt heats up it can generate electricity through the steam generator. The salt holds in the heat for several days before it has to be converted into electricity. Because this system uses so many panels it is mainly used for industrial solar power where acres of land can be donated to the Parabolic Trough. There can be enough power in the network that can create energy for several days or more. Because this system is so large that it allows the heat that it saves to be transferred days later.
Through this project and other solar power projects we can understand fully how solar power works. When we see how much solar power is conserved using these U shaped mirrors we can also understand how much energy is lost. Using concentrating solar power systems are beneficial to the businesses that use them because they won't have so much time down when the power fails. Machinery is their only major concern and as long as their machines are taken care of there should be no problems. Industrial type of solar power can attract and trap a lot of heat from the sun during the day, especially using mirrors that will reflect the sunlight. It also helps to have this type of solar power out in an open field free of trees and vegetation that may grow around and at some point crowd the solar light out.
Scientist are continuously studying this theory as businesses use it to power their machinery. Steam power was what was used from the beginning with solar power and is still what most systems depend on to service their production needs. In the future, fields may eventually be full of mirrors that somewhat point up to the sky in hopes of generating enough sunlight to heat the world. Until then we will use the traditional methods of heating water, heating our homes and powering our electricity.