Reduced Water Consumption in Concentrating Solar Power Systems

This report from the US Department of Energy on the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, discusses potential methods to reduce water consumption associated with concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. The four technologies covered in the report are parabolic troughs, linear Fresnel, power towers and dish/engine. Parabolic troughs are the most commercially available technology in this group.

Lately, utilities have shown an increasing interest in the deployment of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants to meet the requirements of state renewable portfolio standards. Besides realising the considerable solar resources available in the Southwest United States, the investment tax credit of 30% granted by the Federal government is also encouraging the investment and development of CSP plants.

The report identifies the main concerns regarding water consumption for CSP, presents information on the water requirements for electrical power generation and discusses technologies that address water use in the context of CSP power generation.

The goal is to identify possible options to make CSP systems operate efficiently using less water consumption than the amounts used currently. Air cooling and wet/dry hybrid cooling systems are presented as possible alternatives.

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