Free «Industrial Issues» Essay Sample

The following is a report of the solar power technologies. I will use the information from the above mentioned article, compiled from the information provided by several contributors, explains how the sun power can be tapped to be used for energy production. The article quotes that solar energy is inexhaustible, free and abundant. They explain how the CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) plants could replace the fossil fuel power stations as of the near future. The article describes the various technologies that can be used for the installation of the CSP plants. The article declares the parabolic-trough collector as the most common type in use, though there are other alternative technologies that are rapidly coming up, which include Linear Fresnel collector plants and the central tower plants.

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Carbon dioxide is one of the major causes of global warming today, a topic that is making headlines in the majority of the media today. When emitted, the gas collects in the atmosphere and forms a thickening blanket, traps the sun’s heat, therefore, causing the earth to warm up. In the US, the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution is from the coal-burning power plants; producing 2.5 billion tons of the gas every year, followed by automobiles that emit approximately 1.5 billion tons of Carbon dioxide annually. Though temperatures naturally fluctuate, it is clearly notable that the average global temperature has continually increased at the fastest rate in the history. Global warming is causing damage in the major parts of the U.S and the other parts of the world, leading to drought, deaths from extreme heat waves, severe dust storms and wildfire seasons.

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The second section is about the Parabolic trough technology. In these, it uses trough-shaped mirrors to focus sunlight rays onto an absorber tube as the receiver, placed in the trough’s focal line. When the trough tracks the sun, it heats a transfer fluid. This is then circulated in those tubes and pumped through the heat exchangers to produce steam. This technology has been in practice since 20 years.

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The next is the solar power tower; a circular set of flat tracking mirrors that concentrate sunlight into a central receiver where a heat transfer medium (molten air or salt or water/steam) transfers it to the steam cycle so as to generate superheated steam to the turbine. The Linear Fresnel technology uses flat, long or slightly curved mirrors to focus the sunlight onto a linear receiver located at a common focal point on the reflectors. The ISCC systems enable attractive emissions reduction and excellent performance. This involves integrating parabolic troughs with conventional, combined cycle plant, together with a steam-cycle plant. This reduces the carbon dioxide emissions associated with using a conventional plant.

In conclusion, I strongly feel that the author achieved his objective since he explains all the CSP plants technologies to detail. The article gives the benefits of solar power; job creation, economic growth, diversity of fuel, technology transfer, environmental protection and innovation. Secondly, the article explains the various technologies to detail by use of well-drawn clear diagrams and quoting facts from research done by other authors. It also gives the future prospects, noting that the solar power is anticipated to increase significantly in the near future.

However, I feel that the article's weakness is that it fails to give the limitations of those technologies and that of the solar power and the costs associated with it. This information is useful for future civil engineering since it gives a suggestion on the power predicted to be more useful. From the paper, it is evident that the future civil engineer is expected to be innovative on how to improve on the installation of the current plants.

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