Fluid Solar will bring renewable solar thermal energy and low impact living spaces to one third of the worlds population in thirty years.
With the integration of current renewable technologies of wind and PV feeding to the electricity grid, a base load fossil or nuclear fuel power station and a large scale grid must still be built and maintained to supply back up power when there is low or no solar or wind power available. Hence the base load power station sits idling and unused during sunny and windy periods. Coal fired plants take 24 hours or more to cycle to full power, so they are inefficient as a base load power source that is only used intermittently. Gas powered generators can be more quickly brought up to capacity, but gas is expensive as a fuel and not easily stored in large volumes, so a gas pipeline is added to the total cost. The grid itself must be increased in capacity and control becomes more complex as erratically fluctuating wind and PV inputs are “dumped” into the grid. All these factors mean an ever-increasing total cost of power provision to consumers. Increasing retail electricity costs further drive consumers to leave the grid and seek alternate energy sources such as Fluid Solar Thermal.
However, the electricity grid remains an essential element of modern societies; to power street lighting at night, for example. Fluid Solar Thermal technology can now be applied to smooth grid loads and limit grid cost increases by delivering fossil free electric power to the grid, on demand and at a price competitive with fossil fuel altrenatives.
Water heated to temperatures over 100°C produced by the Fluid Solar Thermal Panel concentrating collectors can be stored under modest pressure; low temperature steam can then be produced as needed. While this steam is not suitable for use in conventional fossil fuel fired steam turbines that operate well over 300C, Fluid Solar has a novel solution for on demand or base load electrical energy production. Fluid Solar have released a unique low temperature steam turbine, scalable from 5 kW to megawatt capacity and able to operate from steam starting at only 80C, up to 140C to suit higher power output demand.
Therefore, by using Solar Thermal technology for reliable solar thermal energy production and thermal energy storage, coupled with the Fluid Solar low temperature steam turbine, base load power grid demands can be supplied at times of demand outside the peak sunny or windy periods.
This solar powered, renewable energy system has the potential to substitute for, or replace, fossil fuel base load electrical grid power and provide on demand power, at night, or in times of low solar insolation. Distributed positioning for electrical power production from solar thermal energy is ideal. Instead of creating “hot spots” on the grid where there is too much power in one location, while other areas are deficient, the capacity for distributed production means additional micro-power plants can be placed anywhere in the grid to address local supply problems or local inability to meet demand. This could significantly improve the resilience of the grid, while reducing dependence on fossil fuel powered generation and reducing instead of increasing grid costs.