Monday, April 7, 2008

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Solar Thermal Tech

Big Gav at Peak Energy Has put together a remarkable list of links on Concentrating Solar Thermal:

Concentrating On The Important Things - Solar Thermal Power
While we spend a lot of time talking about traditional energy sources based on depleting resources that are extracted from the ground, I think its important to remember that the fastest growing sources of energy are solar and wind, and that these will never run out. As M King Hubbert put it regarding solar power in particular:
The biggest source of energy on this earth, now or ever, is solar. I used to think it was so diffuse as to be impractical. But I’ve changed my mind. It’s not impractical…This technology exists right now. So if we just convert the technology and research and facilities of the oil and gas industries, the chemical industry and the electrical power industry—we could do it tomorrow. All we’ve got to do is throw our weight into it.Both Stuart Staniford's recent "
Powering Civilization to 2050" post and (to a lesser extent) Scientific American's "Solar Grand Plan" concentrated on using photovoltaic solar cells to provide the bulk of our energy needs. While both thin film and traditional silicon based PV cells seem to set new efficiency records every couple of months (a CIGS cell recently reached 19.9% efficiency in lab tests, and multi-crystalline silicon PV cells recently reached 19.5% efficiency), the most promising mechanism for large scale solar power generation seems to be solar thermal power (often referred to as concentrating solar power, or CSP)....

So much more that you should probably bookmark it.