Power Plants Might Turn Hybrid to Decrease Costs

Scientists want to introduce solar energy in power plants in a cost-effective way

  Rotor of a modern steam turbine, used in power station.
The owners of hybrid vehicles are well aware of the benefits they experience on the road, as their cars are powered by a mixture of gas and electricity.

At this point in time, scientists from Tel Aviv University are trying to expand the area in which these advantages can be applied, by turning the power plants into “hybrids.”

Nowadays, in the industrial field, solar power plants are known as one of the most earth-friendly options of creating renewable energy, but the costs of these operations seem to make the entire solar industry unable to compete with the traditional coal-powered factories.

The reason why sunlight-based energy is so cost-inefficient is because the technique involves equipment made out of expensive metals.

The researchers talk about their innovative strategy, declaring that they can combine the advantages of traditional fuel with low pressures and temperatures of steam coming from green sun power in order to turn power plants into eco-friendly hybrid facilities.

According to the scientists involved in this ambitious plan, the development and implementation of this idea would make the industry save up to 50% of the amount of fossil fuels presently used with earth-friendlier substitutes.

Because the technology power plants use nowadays couldn't be spread widely due to its costs, Prof. Kribus from Tel Aviv University says he has come up with an option with a lot of potential: a steam-injection gas turbine.

"We combine a gas turbine, which works on hot air and not steam, and inject the solar-produced steam into the process. We still need to burn fuel to heat the air, but we add steam from low-temperature solar energy, approximately 200 degrees centigrade," said Kribus.

Such a hybrid cycle would be considerably more affordable because experts will be able to power the entire system using regular metals and solar collectors which are cheaper.

Even so, we still wouldn't be able to say that this kind of innovated power plant would be entirely green, as it still would be partially operated relying on the usage of traditional fuel.

Experts say that they are fully aware of the situation and that their project is designed to provide a short-term solution to the great energy demand we are experiencing at this point in time.

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