Saturday, June 16, 2007

I cannot believe that both the Greens, Labor and the Australian environmental movement can not show that there are alternatives to both nuclear and fossil fuel power which will not produce CO2 or send our economy bankrupt and would enable it to function and which can be used in many countries of the world including China. Solar thermal power is the simple but effective technique of concentrating sunlight with mirrors to create heat and then using the heat to raise steam to drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. Solar heat can be stored in melted salts and in the splitting of ammonia and then recombining it and this turns out to be a very easy and cheap way so that generation of electricity will continue at night and on cloudy days and no additional fossil fuel burning is required. This storage method allows for variable output for peak, medium and base power production on demand.
Far from being inefficient, and a negative for the economy solar thermal power (CSP) has huge potential to supply the world with a major way to produce clean electricity, jobs and wealth. It has been calculated that, if it was covered with CSP plants, an area of hot desert measuring 254 km x 254 km—which is less than 1% of the area of deserts around the world—would generate as much electricity as the world currently consumes. If used in Australia alone and area 50KM square in desert areas would supply all of Australia’s energy requirements. And it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over long distances using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. 90% of the world's population could be supplied from this source.
US venture capitalist Vinod Khosla of Sun Microsystems says that CSP is poised for explosive growth because of its low costs. In part this has been brought about by the use of simple cheap flat mirrors and the ammonia storage method developed by Australian scientist Dr David Mills. The 'TRANS-CSP' report, commissioned by the German government, calculates that CSP is likely to become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. Information about CSP can be found at and