Hot Sand Captures Sunlight in New Concentrating Solar Design
Italy’s Magaldi Group is about to go into production with a €10-million (US$11-million), 100-kilowatt demonstration plant near Salerno that uses sand to produce and store energy.
“If you’ve ever walked on the beach in the sun and burned your feet,” said company chair Mario Magaldi, you understand the heat-trapping potential of sand. “With this technology you can concentrate energy into one receiver and use it when there’s no more sun.”
Like this story? Subscribe to The Energy Mix and never miss an edition of our free e-digest.
The concentrating solar plant will use mirrors to focus sunlight on the sand and produce steam to run a turbine. The company says silica sand is cheaper than the molten salt often used in CSP facilities in Spain, the United States, the Middle East, and Asia.
“We have about 270 tons of sand stored in the plant’s receiver, so when the sun goes down the plant can keep producing steam for another six hours using the thermal energy stored inside,” said engineer Matteo Mauro.