How it Works. A Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Tower with Heat Storage

A Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Tower with Heat Storage ( Solar Thermal Magazine)

We often get asked to explain the details behind some of the clean energy or energy efficiency technologies that we highlight here on the magazine. In this video done with some very good CG you can see and read how each step of a concentrated solar thermal power tower system with heat storage works.

Here are the main elements:

A solar thermal power station is much like a coal,natural gas or even nuclear power station once the source of heat has been established. Of course if we consider emissions or safety for each of these options Solar Thermal is the clear winner.  For the Solar Thermal power plant the source of heat is the sun.


The large field of polished computer controlled mirrors known as heliostats concentrate the sun’s rays onto the collector at the top center of the tower.

Heat Storage:

Molten salt is used to collect and store the sun’s energy as heat. Cold salt at 290 degree C, is pumped from the cold salt tank up the tower to the collector where it is heated to around 600 degrees C. It then descends to the hot salt tank where the heat can be stored for use during the night or pass on to the boiler for immediate use.

The steam turbine section:

The hot salt gives up heat to create steam and returns to the cold salt tank. Water is pumped into the boiler emerging as high temperature steam to drive the turbine as in coal,natural gas or even nuclear as we know it today. The low temperature and pressure steam continues to the air cooled condenser where the song begins again.

The heart of all of the these generation technologies is the turbine. The turbine drives the generator which produces clean electricity for the world.

Enjoy the video.

About Gordon Smith
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.


  • Sage says:

    Stop the solar tower madness! Why? Because this pseudo-‘Green’ technology is BLINDING birds and frying their wings if they fly anywhere near this solar tower monstrosity! Parabolic solar troughs are the way to make steam without harming the wildlife.

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