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Cooling It! No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming

by Gar W. Lipow

The Sun is Burning: High Temperature Active Solar


The same concentrating solar mirrors that can drive electrical turbines can also provide heat for industrial processes. Reasonably priced rooftop parabolic collectors have been developed that can reach temperatures suitable for many industrial processes[300].


However the potential is more limited than with electricity. When it comes to electricity production you can locate plants to sunny climates (such as the clearest parts of the desert) and transmit the electricity where it is needed via high voltage lines. There are a lot of reasons for not relocating massive amounts of industry to the fragile desert ecosystems for instance lack of water. (Industry needs lots of water.)


While evacuated tube collectors can produce low temperature heat on cloudy days, concentrating collectors produce high temperature heat only in direct sunlight. Also the practical maximum means these concentrators could only serve about 35% of the process heat and industrial boiler fuel market (though they might increase that a bit by acting as pre-heaters). It seems reasonable that we could provide 45% of that 35% - less in some areas of course, but more in others. That comes to nearly 16% of the industrial energy in our high efficiency scenario, or ~2 quads.

End Notes

[300]Solargenix Energy LLC, Solargenix Energy - Formerly Duke Solar Energy - The Natural Power For Good. 2005, Solargenix Energy LLC, 28/Mar/2005 <>.