Flush With Oil, Abu Dhabi Opens World's Largest Solar Plant  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

NPR has an article (from back in March) on the new Shams 1 solar thermal power plant in Abu Dhabi - Flush With Oil, Abu Dhabi Opens World's Largest Solar Plant.

Abu Dhabi, the most oil-rich of the United Arab Emirates, is now home to the world's single-largest concentrated solar power plant. The 100-megawatt Shams 1 plant cost an estimated $750 million and is expected to provide electricity to 20,000 homes, according to the BBC.

Why, you might ask? Bloomberg says the less oil Abu Dhabi uses for local consumption, the more it can export.

Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, head of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., speaking at a news conference for the plant's opening over the weekend, said it is part of a "strategic plan to diversify energy sources in Abu Dhabi." ...

Shams 1 uses 768 adjustable parabolic "trough mirrors" to focus sunlight onto a water boiler that produces steam, activates turbines and finally generates electricity, reports the website Clean Technica. The middle step in the process, it says, is to use natural gas to superheat the water.

The plant, located about 75 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi, is similar in design to Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) located in California's Mojave Desert. Although Shams 1 claims to be the single-largest plant, the nine SEGS plants taken together generate more than three times as much energy and serve more than 10 times as many households at peak output.

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