Last I wrote, I was in a bit of a low. I suppose the nadir was my 30th birthday party, when all 15 of my guests canceled within 24 hours. At the time, I decided it was time to put some forward movement into my life, to get a job, and now I've got one.
This collector tracks the sun on its path across the sky throughout the day.
Oil pumped through this pipe is superheated by the concentrated sunlight. The superheated oil is then used to boil water and run a steam turbine generator.
Solar Thermal Collector Array with steam power plant
In 1991, after building several solar-thermal power plants in California's Mojave Desert, Luz went out of business. The failure boils down to an end of tax credits for renewable energy and the falling energy costs of the 90's and early 00's. Now high energy costs and increased tax incentives in Europe and California have revived interest in renewables. Another factor is the worldwide panic over global warming. While neither I nor any scientist or engineer with whom I have discussed the issue over the past 8 years actually believes that there is validity to climate change theory, the enormity of the popular panic, especially among those who were swept into office in the United States earlier this month, will have some fringe benefits. Because solar technology results in zero emissions, if the cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions championed by President Elect Obama is actually passed into law, then there's going to be bonanza of renewable energy projects. To my mind, this can have only positive results. When Iran buys Uranium centrifuges, Russia purchases a new warship to bully its neighbors, Al Quaida finances the training of its next pilot, or a Palestinian Authority "activist" buys C4 explosive to incinerate innocent Israelis, the money that finances this evil can always be traced back to oil. Even from a purely economic standpoint, I think it would be fair to place a heavy tariff on fossil fuels to balance out the lives and treasure lost fighting wars to secure them.
Meanwhile, the original members of the Luz team have reassembled into several competing companies. One of them, Solel, has stepped up manufacturing of parabolic troughs in the expectation of increased orders.