| Hello, I have a question about whether any
attempt has been made to boil sea water using
parabolic mirrors and then use that steam to
condense it to get water or use that steam to
generate power (via turning a turbine)? Thank you
for your help.|
|Question Date: 2019-04-28|
Great question! What you are referring to is
"Concentrated Solar Power" (CSP).
There are already power plants in the United
States and other parts of the world that use (CSP)
to produce energy. CSP plants use mirrors
to direct a large amount of sunlight into a small
point, which then heats up a liquid. The
concentrated sunlight can heat things to over
1000℉, so usually water is not heated
directly. Instead, another fluid such as molten
salt receives the sunlight, then it
exchanges heat with water to make steam. This
steam can be used for power generation or
distillation to drinking water as you
No, I have heard of no such attempt, and I'm
pretty sure it would not be attempted. If you have
parabolic mirrors, then it would be more
efficient to focus the mirrors on a set of solar
panels instead and generate power that way.
There are solar power plants that are designed in
this way, by using mirrors to collect light and
shine it onto a receiver. I am to understand that
even this design is outdated, however, and is
being replaced with better technologies.
You can certainly boil sea water using
parabolic mirrors and condense the steam to
get desalinated drinking water.
Here are some links about using solar power to
get steam to run turbines! :
Solar Thermal Power Plants
The process you described is called "solar
thermal desalination." You focus sunlight
using a reflective surface (like your parabolic
mirrors) to produce steam from seawater,
separating fresh water from salt. A quick internet
search reveals that there have been many research
and development projects that look at how this
process can be translated to an industrial scale.
You may be interested in reading the following
website of interest
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