Posts Tagged ‘Solar Thermal Technology’

Israeli Solar Thermal Technology

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Hi Everyone!

From 1984 to 1991 I worked at Intel Electronics in Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem. In the backyard of one of the buildings in Har Hotzvim were several rows of curved mirrors which were lined up toward the sun. Why were these mirrors lined up in the back of the building ? I asked around and I found out that these parabolic reflectors were owned by the Luz company. In fact, these refectors were part of the development of the largest solar energy system in the world.

The general idea is very easy to understand. The reflectors focus the sun on a tube filled with liquid. The liquid in the tubes becomes super heated. The liquid is passed through heat exchangers which generate steam. The steam is used to power a turbine which creates electricity. There are more details but the concept is well understood and has been in use for several decades. In fact, when I was a kid back in the 60’s, I remember going outside with a magnifying glass and focusing the sun’s rays to burn things. The power of the sun has been around for a long time (even before I was a kid) but only in the last few years has it caught the world’s attention. Maybe the fossil fuel pollution and high oil prices have something to do with that.

I do not think the reflectors are in that backyard any more. The company that bought Luz’s technology (when Luz 1 folded) was Solel Inc. based in Bet Shemesh. Solel is developing a 553 Megawatt power plant, in California’s Mojave Desert. It will be the largest solar thermal power plant in the world. In Spain it is working, together with a local partner, on the development of three 50 MW solar thermal power plants. I am sure there are many other countries seriously considering using this Israeli know-how. The technology that started in the backyard at Har Hotzvim in Jerusalem, is bringing solar powered electricity to the masses. A literal “light unto the nations”. Kol Hakavod!
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Several people have contacted me regarding solar air conditioners. I am in the process of gathering information and I will let everyone know when I have a complete picture of what is available in Israel. I may also create a new FAQ, Cooling & Heating Your Home or Business with Solar energy.
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If you live in the Jerusalem area and are planning to install a new solar energy photovoltaic system, please let me know. I would like to follow the actual process with you and take pictures (maybe a movie) of the process.

Until next week…..

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,
Jacob