It now appears that solar power plants might be able to generate electricity continuously throughout both day and night, with a new technology developed by an Israeli solar power company. The founder of Brenmiller Energy promises to produce clean energy at a price that can finally compete with fossils.
Brenmiller Energy, a leading thermosolar company, bets on a special strategy, which is being implemented as we speak. To start with, the company is expected to open the doors of a brand new 1.5 MW solar plant in the Negav desert early next year, and soon after they hope to start a few additional international projects. But massive plants are not the only way the energy giant is planning to compete with its fossil-fuel competitors.
Avi Brenmiller, company founder, and his employees are currently developing a technology, which will allow continuous operation of all their solar power plants, regardless of weather conditions or time of day. Their secret is hidden in the power generation method that they use.
Unlike most solar power producers, who use common photovoltaic solar panels, Brenmiller decided to use solar heat to power turbines, which then generate the electricity. The technique as such is not new, but there is something extra, which no one is currently making use of. The solar heat, generated via parabolic mirrors, which concentrate solar rays, is only partly converted into steam. The remains are conducted through a fluid and stored in a new type of energy storage system located under the mirrors.
The heat is trapped there and kept until there is a cloudy day, or night falls, when it is released and used to power the turbines at night. Brenmiller claims that this technology is truly revolutionary, and does not have any of the limitations that similar systems that are currently on the market have. It is much cheaper and although it is still a “proof of concept”, it holds a great potential.
Brenmiller is convinced that he will not have trouble to attract investors, simply because of the brilliance of the invention. For now, however, the funding of the technology comes out of his own pocket.
Image (c) Brenmiller Energy