Spain is the world leader in solar energy, a type of renewable energy is harnessing the sun’s heat to produce electricity. This in itself is already very good, but when combined with this type of energy techniques molten salt thermal storage, can generate electricity with the sun 24 hours a day for many months a year.
Gemasolar is the first commercial solar power in the world apply technology central receiver tower and molten salt heat storage. The CSP may cover the peak demand for electricity occurs during the night in the hottest days of the year and added the economic advantage that the market pays a higher price for electricity during the hours “peak” (13 to 23 hours in summer and 12 to 22 in winter).
Each heliostat (mirror panel) has a reflective surface of 110 square feet and follows the sun with two engines operated by electronics that adjust the position 15 times per minute.
The salt storage system uses 60% of potassium nitrate and 40% sodium nitrate. This combination is able to retain up to 99% of the heat for a period of 24 hours. The molten salt, used as heat transfer fluid, reaching temperatures above 500 ° C.
Potassium nitrate is one of the safer and cheaper means for storing energy. In the Middle Ages, was used to preserve food and is still used in the production of canned meats or as a topping. Potassium nitrate is also used in toothpaste as well as garden fertilizer.
The significant increase in energy efficiency of the plant, said power production for 6,500 hours a year, 1.5-3 times more than other renewables. Thus, clean and safe energy supply to 25,000 households and reduce over 30,000 tons per year of CO2 emissions.