General TechScience

Scientists Learned To Collect Solar Heat

A pilot plant for collecting concentrated solar energy from the reflections of about 400 mirrors was assembled in Newcastle under the patronage of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, better known as CSIRO. It is the most powerful solar thermal system in the Southern Hemisphere and the only one in Australia. The site is used for conducting experiments and is not intended for commercial use.

CSIRO specialists switched to experiments with ceramic coolants, the temperature of which can reach 1000 °C. And for good reason: a solution was found when submillimeter-sized ceramic particles, free-falling under the influence of earth’s gravity and painted black, fly through the space of the tower permeated by focused solar rays, heating up to the highest temperatures. The particles heated in this way accumulate in the lower compartment of the tower, where the heat exchangers are located. The particles remain heated for 15 hours and can be used at any time during this time.

During the experiments, it was possible to create a heat storage device with a carrier temperature of 803 °C. In the future, the developers intend to raise this temperature to 1000 °C.

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