These solar power plants work with long rows (for example, 112 m) of parabolic reflectors with a tube containing the working medium running through the focal point. The reflectors are automatically aligned to follow the path of the sun. The radiation is intensified 80-fold due to the bundling in the reflector, and oil in the absorber is heated to around 400°C. The hot oil flows to the power plant building, where it generates steam via a heat exchanger to drive a steam turbine with a generator. (Alternatively, power plants with fluid molten salt in the absorber tube are being considered.)
A parabolic trough solar farm consisting of nine power plants with a total output of 350 MW has been operating in the United States for 20 years. In Spain, Andasol 1, 2, and 3 achieve 150 MW combined. Thanks to integrated heat storage from molten salt, Andasol delivers full output for over seven hours even when the sun is not shining. The world's largest plant, at 580 MW, is currently being built in Morocco.
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By Z22 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27881587
© Z22 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27881587