Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Impossible Sounding Solar Plant Generates Electricity at Night

Illustration for article titled Impossible Sounding Solar Plant Generates Electricity at Night

Skeptics of modern technology, behold: a newly opened solar plant in Sicily is able to continue generating electricity long after the sun goes down. The trick lies in the plant's use of salt to store up heat for later use.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Impossible Sounding Solar Plant Generates Electricity at Night

The "Archimede" facility uses what's known as concentrated solar power, absorbing the sun's heat and later using it to boil water and drive electricity-yielding turbines. CSP plant differ from photovoltaic plants, which generate power directly from sunlight.

Advertisement

Most CSP plants use a synthetic oil to store turbine-driving heat, but Archimede uses molten salt, which possesses a heat capacity able to drive its temperature up over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when the sun starts to dip, the salt is still, as you can imagine, rather hot—hot enough to continue to boil water at night. [Guardian UK via Inhabitat]
Images via Angelantoni, Solar Thermal

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I hope my home runs on affordable solar energy before I die.