Solar 4, 2013, Steve Morgan (UK)
The Gemasolar solar tower power plant in Fuentes de Andalucía, Seville, Spain, uses unique technology to generate electricity. A circular solar field of 2,650 heliostat mirrors covering 185 hectares concentrates the sun’s energy onto the central receiving tower, where the intense heat generated is stored using molten-salt heat storage technology. The heat collected by the salts, capable of reaching temperatures above 5,000C, generates steam and produces electrical power. The surplus heat accumulated during sun hours is stored in the molten-salt tank, allowing Gemasolar to generate electrical power 24 hours a day for many months of the year. Solar efficiency guarantees electrical production for 6,500 hours a year. This provides 1.5 to 3 times more power than other renewable energy sources. The plant could supply clean, safe power to 25,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes a year.