Xcel Energy is adding solar thermal technology to its Cameo coal plant near Grand Junction in Colorado — creating the first coal plant that gets a steam-assist from the sun.
The Spanish company Abengoa Solar will build a concentrating solar plant that will use parabolic mirrors that will focus sunlight on a narrow tube of oil. After the super-heated oil is pumped out of the solar field, it creates steam through a series of heat exchanges. In the case of Xcel’s coal plant, the steam from the sun can join the steam created from burning coal, allowing the plant to burn less coal when the sun is shining.
The scheme, called a demonstration project by Xcel, is meant to demonstrate that adding solar can lower carbon dioxide emissions. If successful, Abengoa hopes that concentrated solar power may be added at coal plants across the country.
Read more about concentrated solar power, or CSP, at DailyCamera.com, or check out Abengoa Solar’s Web site.