The solar-hydrogen reactor is capable to work round the clock

<pre>The solar-hydrogen reactor is capable to work round the clock

The problem of operating solar power plants is that according to astronomical rules on Earth there is a night when the energy of the sun is unavailable. Worst of all, if we are talking about systems with helioconcenters, in which thousands of mirrors focus light on the target and heat it up to 800-900 ° C. If the solar panels can work and in cloudy weather at 10% of their capacity, then the working substance in the solar concentrator simply does not melt if the sun does not shine brightly.

At the German Aerospace Center, they proposed inventing a solar power plant anew, taking into account these shortcomings. Their concept is called CONTISOL and differs in that it works around the clock, because the energy in the system is not generated from the sun's rays, but from the side effect: the heating of atmospheric air.

There are two working chambers in the CONTISOL power plant. In the first one there is ordinary air, which is heated in the sun by means of a system of mirrors of a helio-concentrator. Hot air enters the second chamber, where a reaction of thermochemistry takes place, the result of which is the evolution of hydrogen. Gas is pumped out into cylinders, air from the first chamber enters the second, the first is filled from the atmosphere and so on in a circle. With a proper volume, a well-warmed-for-the-day camera can feed the second one almost all night with warm air.

The Germans built a 5 kW prototype, which proved the viability of the concept. But for commercial use at this stage, this power plant is completely inappropriate and needs to be thoroughly refined. And the question of using hydrogen as a convenient fuel or energy carrier is still quite controversial. But, as they say, dashing trouble begins.

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