“The Magazine of Engineers Australia”, Vol 80, No. 9, Sept 2008, page 20 “Economically viable Power from the Sun

by nuclearhistory

“The Magazine of Engineers Australia”, Vol 80, No. 9, Sept 2008, page 20

“Economically viable Power from the Sun

Half of Australia’s renewable energy target could be generated from solar power by 2020, according to engineering services company WorleyParsons. Speaking at the company’s full-year results presentation last month, the managing director of the company’s EcoNomics initiative Peter Meurs said the power would come from solar thermal powerstations which would be based on mature and proven technology already in use in California. A full-scale powerstation could be built without going through various pilot stages.

Meurs said the company’s research has found that Australia’s desert regions would be ideal locations for such plants and the optimal size would be 250 Mega Watts. The first plant could be completed by 2011 and a total of 34 plants by 2020. Potential locations would be desert regions not too far from industrial users, for instance the Pilbara region in Western Australia.

The company invited potential customers to participate in a feasibility study and received a very favbourable response, Meurs said. A number of companies, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Fortescue and Wesfarmers are now participating in the study which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The proposed technology would be parabolic mirrors focusing sunlight onto tubes containing thermal oil. The heated oil would pass through heat exchangers generating steam for conventional steam turbines. The power stations would be 100% solar without using coal or gas for cofiring.

The plants would cater for power demand during the day, with some heat storage capacity in molten salt to cover the evening.

Each solar plant would require no more land than a conventional coal fired power station. If Australia’s entire electric power demand were to be generated by solar thermal plants, the land area required would only be about 50 km by 50 km, Meurs pointed out.” End quote.