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It's actually liquid sodium in newer designs, which retains heat well, is stored in an insulated tank, and can generate power using that heat even after the sun goes down. So no, I don't think they're obsolete. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-concentrating...



Want to know something else that is fun about the concentrated thermal projects? If the sun is not available for long periods of time and the fluid cools down too much they have to dump energy into it to prevent it from solidify to point of overwhelming the pumps capacity!


Sounds like a good reason to keep that kind of generation in the desert, then. That's interesting, though. I suppose they could just divert some power generation to battery storage for those heaters though, just like nuclear reactors have backup generators for cooling.


FYI, liquid salt is not quite the same thing as liquid sodium. Source: someone I knew worked on liquid sodium power plants.

Also, I think PV prices may have declined around 50% since that article was written.




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