Solar Thermal Power Plants generate heat by collecting the sun’s energy through lenses and mirrors, the energy can then be stored until needed. Here is an interesting fact, using only 1% of the worlds deserts to produce solar electric energy would produce more energy then is currently being produced by fossil fuels.
There are several different kinds of solar thermal. For the general breakdown:
The predominant kinds of solar thermal are solar cookers, solar hot water heaters, parabolic troughs, and dishes.
Solar cookers and solar hot water heaters use reflective mirrors to concentrate the sun’s radiation onto water, which they heat up to use for cooking or hot water applications in residential buildings.
Parabolic troughs and dishes (see image below) are electricity generating devices. Their mirrors reflect and focus solar radiation onto water or some other fluid. The fluid is then used in a heat engine, like the Sterling engine (see citation), to generate electricity. The sterling engine is the basis for all oil, gas, and coal combustion, and is based around having fluid in one chamber that is hotter than another to create a pressure differential and move a piston or turbine. These solar thermal plants use this technology to generate electricity.
The mirrors of a solar thermal plant focus the sun’s radiation onto a single point
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