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HANS MÜLLER-STEINHAGEN FREng AND FRANZ TRIEB INSTITUTE OF TECHNICAL THERMODYNAMICS, GERMAN AEROSPACE CENTRE (DLR), STUTTGART, GERMANY

ENERGY

Quarterly of the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenia 18, February/March 2004

Concentrating solar power
A review of the technology
Is solar power the answer to the ever-growing problems of global warming and depleting fossil fuel supplies? In the first of two articles Hans Müller-Steinhagen and Franz Trieb explain the principles and development of concentrated solar-thermal power and outline its considerable potential for alleviating the constant pressure on our existing resources. Three main technologies have been identified during the past decades for generating electricity in the 10 kW to several 1000 MW range:


he limited supply of fossil hydrocarbon resources and the negative impact of CO2 emissions on the global environment dictate the increasing usage of renewable energy sources. Concentrated solar power (CSP) is the most likely candidate for providing the majority of this renewable energy, because it is amongst the most cost-effective renewable electricity technologies and because its supply is not restricted if the energy generated is transported from the world's solar belt to the population centres.

T

dish/engine technology, which can directly generate electricity in isolated locations parabolic and Fresnel trough technology, which produces high pressure superheated steam solar tower technology, which produces air above 1000°C or synthesis gas for gas turbine operation.





While these technologies have reached a certain maturity, as has been demonstrated in pilot projects in Israel, Spain and the USA, significant improvements in the thermo-hydraulic performance are still required if such installations are to achieve the reliability and effectiveness of conventional power plants. This…...

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