Solar Turbine – Concentrated Solar Power

A solar turbine works by using concentrated solar power to create steam.  Concentrated solar power is a sunlight capturing technique that converts the sun’s light into heat energy.

The heat energy is then used to convert water into steam, which can be used in a steam turbine generator to create an electric current.

The sunlight is converted into heat energy when the sun’s rays are reflected off a smooth, mirrored surface towards a heat capturing focal point.

When this focal point is targeted by the reflected sunlight of several mirrored surfaces, enough heat energy is created to heat water to extreme temperatures and eventually into steam.

Below is a step-by-step diagram of a basic concentrated solar power system.

Concentrated Solar Power

The above diagram is an example of a concentrated solar power system using a reflective mirrored surface to intensify the heat of the sun.  Think about using a magnifying glass to concentrate the sunlight on a specific point, concentrated solar power uses the same technique only that a large system of mirrors is used instead.

  1. The panels with the mirrored surfaces reflect the rays of the sun into one targeted focal point.
  2. At this focal point the heat from the sun is greatly intensified.
  3. At these high temperatures the water is converted into steam and pumped through special steam tubes out of the reflective mirrored panel area and into a heat exchanger.
  4. The heat exchanger retrieves the steam and sets it to the correct temperature and pressure needed for the steam turbine generator.
  5. The steam turbine generator uses the steam to create electricity.
  6. The cooled steam is then passed out of the generator, again through the heat exchanger, converted back into water and again pumped back towards the heated focal point of the mirrors, and the process is repeated.
It is important to remember that a solar turbine generator system actually uses a steam turbine generator to create the electricity.  The solar energy is what it used to heat water into steam.
This process of heating using concentrated solar power is a form of clean renewable energy.  No pollutants are emitted during the water heating process.