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Researchers generate pressurised ‘supercritical’ steam, at the highest temperatures ever achieved using solar energy

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Posted June 4, 2014
Researchers generate pressurised ‘supercritical’ steam, at the highest temperatures ever achieved using solar energy
CSIRO Solar tower 1 creating solar steam.

Supercritical steam is a breakthrough for solar energy and means that one day the sun could be used to drive the most advanced power stations in the world, currently only driven by coal or gas.

CSIRO’s Energy Director, Dr Alex Wonhas said this milestone is a game-changer for the renewable energy industry.

“It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources.

“Instead of relying on burning  to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result,” Dr Wonhas said.

Supercritical solar steam is water pressurised at enormous force and heated using solar radiation. Around 90 per cent of Australia’s electricity is generated using fossil fuel, but only a small number of power stations are based on the more advanced supercritical steam.

Read more at: Phys.org

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