GLOBAL FUTURE ANALYSIS
PERSPECTIVES | SUN CONCENTRATION
More called CSP. Concentrated Solar Power. A set of technologies that are completely developed and ready to use. As said by harvesting energy out of sunlight, sun concentration could also play a role in PV technology by use of special window glass that mirrors some light to the edges of the glass where PV technology is installed, that due this concentration technology can produce severe regardless it small surface measurements. But sun concentration also has a huge future on its own. Using curved mirrors that point/concentrate the sun light to one point/line. On this point/line is the sunlight absorbed and thereby transite in temperature. The temperature of that point/line can be as 'low' as 100 degrees Celsius and high as even 800 degrees Celsius depending on the factor of concentration and the throughput of a warmth absorbing and transporting coolant. Salted water has a higher boiling point and thereby can absorb more energy before pressure problems occur, it also give a protection against night cold. So this harvested warmth can be absorbed by water and used to power a huge central located turbine. The attractive by-product can be sweet water, if ocean water is used to be heated. There are also waterless technologies that just use the hot air of the concentration point, based on the concept of the completely developed almost 100 years old concept of the Sterling motor. The huge benefit of al these sun concentration technologies is that there is no new yet to develop technologies needed: all the needed technologies are already for decades in place and fully well developed. The water based technology uses huge fields of curved mirror rows pointed to a water pipe in the center of the mirror. The waterless only hot air based solutions is more done in dish type of settings, with the sterling motor in the center of it. The waterless disk solution is a standalone solution that can be used anywhere space and sun is available. The water based solution is only applicable in huge fields in desert like settings. The Middle East and North Africa can become the power exporters of the world. Only 3% of the Sahara soil could deliver this way the world the power it needed (without transport/mobility). There are 4 problems: Geopolitical, transport, initiative and finance. 1) Geopolitical: Nations doesn't like the idea of a new dependency on foreign power just as they are starting to worry about their dependency on foreign oil/gas/uranium. 2) Transport: The in deserts generated power is not needed in the desert but in the global cities. The power must be transported to these cities. New cable technologies (HVDC, HTS and LTS) facilitates power transport with only 3% lost per 1000 km. Technological power transport is made economic possible. HVDC used cooper and new cooper infrastructures are very expensive due the very high (and still climbing) cooper price. Cooper is scare and therefore expensive and the global demand for it is huge as 3 billion people enter the consumption class globally and they all need power lines/devices locally installed causing a huge demand for cooper for these local wires and devices. HTS/LTS (based on cooled super conduction technology) use not scare materials and thereby will have a greater future. Cables are terror targets, so cables must be made so redundant in geographical design that terror has no impact. This requires more cables and is expensive, but gives in return also technological continuity. Hydrogen is also a possible energy transport medium, although currently it has not good production/transport/use efficiency ratio's. These needs to be improved first. The huge advantage of hydrogen is that is spreads geopolitical risks. The huge disadvantage of hydrogen is that is very explosive, giving lots of possible dangers. There is also no hydrogen infrastructure and no hydrogen installbase, so wired power transport is preferable. An other way to export power is product enclosed. Virtual power export. Fertilizers and aluminium are perfect examples of this development. The manufacturing/processing takes so much energy that both are only done in energy rich/cheap locations. 3) Initiative. CSP is a whole new industry based on a composition of completely trough developed mature technologies. New industries are not born overnight. The CSP business model is more complex than it's technology. It demands space in foreign countries (demanding good legal and political frameworks) and transport (huge off-site investments). CSP needs bilateral/multilateral mutual interest focused relations between countries, between customer, transport and producing nations. There is a very good initiative alive for some years: The Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC), supported by many states and supported by both DLR (German Aerospace) and the King of Jordan. But this initiative is too wide setup and has thereby to real initiating power by the law of diffusion, but is more a promoting than realizing organization. Real initiatives needs entrepreneurs/companies/corporations. 4) Finance: Financing CSP is only possible under state and customer warranties. Of all the concerned nations (producing, transport and consumption) and of all the customers. With this guarantees, financing CSP is easy. It takes the financial power of the users into the production and cover political operational risks by state warranties. All capital and desert rich Middle East nations will start CSP very soon, just to cope with their own exploding power demands first (saving carbon energy for export purposes). But the second phase will be that they will start to export this. Wire infrastructures also has fiber infrastructures attached to it: this will connect Africa and the Middle East with the old economic concentrations in the world. Mexico and some South American nations will also start CSP. Chavez is very interested in funding the infrastructures (as they also can used to export power generated by very heavy crude and Venezuelan tarsands to all Americas. The investment price of CSP can be lowered severely by building first them with local produced components. Sand enough in the desert, providing not only silicon for production of the needed mirrors, but also the structures/pipes/roads could be made of glass/silicon technology locally. This reduce the investment level severely. Aluminium structures are to expensive for CSP. The right CSP model is build in the desert, out of the desert, with minimal imported resources. The for CSP required Finance Model is one of the Models that Planck Foundation has created. The is also a low tech solution: The cooking dish: a parabolic disk that cook food in the center of the dish very hot. If the ancient Sahara habitants had that device several thousand years ago, the Sahara still will be greener today, as no wood was harvested to cook.
Author: Gijs Graafland
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