WebHeader_Grove.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Join as a $13-a-month sustainer and get the retro NHPR t-shirt!
NHPR Blogs
Find archive Here's What's Awesome posts here.

A Solar Plant That Works Third Shift

nightsky101311.jpg
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/blyzz/4133624072/in/photostream/">Blyzz</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons
/

Let the sun shine! Or not. Spain's Gemasolar plant will generate electricity either way.

Say what?

It's true. Gemasolar is a heliostatic plant, meaning it doesn't use the photovoltaic panels we see in so many solar installations in the US. Instead, it takes in the raw solar heat and points it at a giant "battery" of molten salt. The superheated salt heats water in tanks, which moves turbines and makes power. It's got enough salt heat storage capacity (wow, what a phrase) to last 15 hours Which is probably overkill given that it's in Andalucia, and they get plenty of sun there.

[Gizmodo]