We all know about solar energy and its uses; we have discussed a lot about it as well, feel free to navigation towards your left side. But now it is time to move a step heard and try to learn about an advancement that has taken place in this filed and that is solar thermal power. This is actually an innovation that has taken place in field of solar systems, as this technology harness solar energy for thermal energy. Thermal collectors are used in this system are suitable for low, medium and high temperatures.
Type of solar thermal panels:
These three types of panels serve three purposes best. The low temperature collectors are formed by flat plates and ideal to use for heating swimming pools. Medium temperature collectors are also flat plates but they are used to heat water and air in residential areas and other commercial buildings. The most power is high temperature collectors, they use mirrors to collect or absorb solar power. The power collected by these mirrors is converted into electricity and then use in industrial areas to facilitate them in meeting their energy needs.
How solar thermal power work?
Most energy that we use at our homes is collected with help of non-renewable sources including oil, gas, coal and other natural elements. With passage of time demand and prices of these natural sources is rising but there availability is going down. As these are non-renewable sources, therefore excessive use is also creating problem and making them rare. To avoid this problem and overcome high cost of energy, solar thermal power is used. This is heat energy that comes with sunlight and does not contain any harmful toxics that can harm human life or environment. To collect this energy and converting it into other forms of energy thermal power panels are used.
To convert heat into electricity panels are used which look like other solar panels made up of solar cells and other powering devices. These panels are installed on large areas, and they produce electricity indirectly. Heat energy is first collected to heat the fluids present in panels, this heat then is used as power to run generators that produce energy. In this way running generators work on heat that is not produce with help of non-renewable sources, it is actually generated with heat of sun which is always available for use.
How thermal power is stored:
When sunlight is available then it is possible to directly convert heat and run generators with its power to produce energy. But there should be a way to store thermal energy to use in nighttime or when weather is cloudy or stormy. For this purpose energy is stored on thermal energy storage systems. These systems are high pressure liquid storage tanks that are used with thermal solar systems. It allows a factory to store heat which can be used foe next many hours as well for purpose of producing electricity.
Basically three thermal storage technologies are used in plants, two-tank direct system, a two-tank indirect system and a single-tank thermo-cline system.
Two tank direct system stores thermal power right into the collector which transfer heat from fluids to generator. This fluid passes to two tanks, one with low temperature while other with high temperature. From low temperature tanks fluid moves to high temperature tanks and then it is send to heat exchanger where steam is produced which run generator.
Two tank indirect systems also work direct system; only difference here is of heat transfer fluids tanks. These are little expensive and are not used to store fluids in them. Here fluid passes at low temp towards additional heat exchanger.
Single tanks thermo-cline system is completely different from other two solar energy storage systems. It uses silica sand in tanks where heat is stored at two different temperatures. Hot heat move fluids upward in the tank, and come back downwards after cooling down. This generate steam and help in storage as well, this process continues all the time to produce electricity.