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Solar thermal power plants could be supplying electricity for about 100 million people in the earth’s sunbelt regions, in the sunny Mediterranean countries, in Australia and in the south of the USA within 20 years! Using solar thermal power plants, about one per cent of the surface of the Sahara would be enough to produce all the energy the earth needs! After 14 years we are going to have new solar power plants in the sun belt of our world.
We need more solar power plants before it is too late!
When we think of solar energy we think of the silvery-blue solar cells on some peoples’ roofs. These consist of a semiconductor such as silicon, and convert solar energy into electricity. But they are not suitable for a large solar power plant and are too expensive.
Experts are now looking at another possibility, namely, “solar thermal power plants”, which convert the sunlight (non-diffuse) first into heat and then into electricity.
Germany is a world leader in solar technology.
German research institutes and companies are among the world leaders in the development of solar thermal power plants. German companies are able to construct the best solar power plants. In sunny countries solar power plants represent the most efficient way of using the sun’s energy directly and they will undoubtedly play a major part in supplying the energy needs of the future. The solar thermal power plant built by German companies in the Mojave Desert in California about 16 years ago is still unparalleled anywhere in the world. From the beginning it has operated without any major faults and is the pride and joy of “German engineering”. At that time German companies set new standards in the construction of large-scale solar power plants. With a total output of 354 MW the power plant far surpasses any plant built hitherto.
The Costs of Producing Solar Electricity
The US solar thermal power plant has a total aperture area of 2.3 million square meters. To date they have produced more than 8 billion kilowatt hours of electrical energy. The cost per kilowatt hour of producing solar energy came down from 0.27$ to about 0.12$.
Engineering for the future
- concentrates on hydrogen and its production, transport, storage, combustion and logistics
- prefers regenerative energy which is sustainable and which represents an unlimited source when seen from the point of view of our time scale, and which
- is anxious to create jobs particularly in Germany by carrying out large-scale projects world-wide
- aims to alert people - with limited financial means – to the problems involved in supplying energy in the future
Letter of April 07th 2004 to the Saudi-Arabian ambassador in Berlin, Judiya Alhathal, chargé d’affaires
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Letter of April 07th 2004 to the Saudi-Arabian ambassador in Berlin, Judiya Alhathal, chargé d’affaires (in Arabic)
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The Reply of the Saudi-Arabian ambassador in Berlin, Judiya Alhathal, chargé d’affaires, of July 28th 2004
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Solar Thermal Electricity for Germany
It does not make much sense to build solar thermal power plants in Central Europe. They only work when the sky is clear and the sun is shining, because the mirrors can only concentrate direct sunlight. Hamburg has only 1,500 hours of sunshine per year, whereas in the south of Spain, Malta, Cyprus, on Crete or in North Africa they have 3,000 hours or more. Solar thermal energy would therefore be twice as expensive in Germany as in the sunnier south.
There are enough sites in the south of Europe and in North Africa where solar thermal power plants could be built and it would be no problem to transport the electricity to Central and Northern Europe, so that in the medium-term solar power plants could be an export boom for German industry. Solar power plants would make a significant contribution to the energy supply in Germany and would also help protect the climate.
Can we afford a “time-out”? Time is running out. Emerging industrial nations such as China and India will need a lot of energy in the future, so that our desire to secure our energy sources could become a nightmare for us, popping up everywhere where we don’t expect it.
The fact that there is no upper limit to the price of crude oil and natural gas has given us an idea of what is to come.
In the past, those societies and cultures which have refused to accept unpopular truths and ideas have always perished.