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What is Concentrating Solar Thermal?

Concentrating solar thermal plants produce clean power with zero greenhouse gas emissions.  Electric power by converting the sun's energy into high-temperature heat using various mirror configurations. The heat is then channeled through a conventional generator. The plants consist of two parts: one that collects solar energy and converts it to heat, and another that converts heat energy to electricity.

Concentrating solar thermal plants can be sized for village power (10 kilowatts) or grid-connected applications (up to 100 megawatts). Some systems use thermal storage during cloudy periods or at night. Others can be combined with natural gas and the resulting hybrid power plants provide high-value, dispatchable power. These attributes, along with world record solar-to-electric conversion efficiencies, make concentrating solar power an attractive renewable energy option in the Southwest and other sunbelt regions worldwide.

 

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Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Since the year 1750

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World CO2 since 1750 (cubic feet)

World Carbon Dioxide Emissions since 1750 (cubic feet)


The carbon clock tracks total carbon dioxide emissions in metric tons since 1750.

Since 1750, humans have emitted over 5 trillion pounds of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Roughly half of this has ended up in the oceans where it is beginning to damage the coral reefs. The other half is still in the atmosphere and causing global warming. Each pound of CO2 takes up as much space as a 500 pound person.

The formula (which should be good for a year or two) is:
C(t) = 2.58 1012 + 1240t, where t is seconds since the start of 2007.

C is tonnes (metric tons) of carbon dioxide emissions.
2205 x C gives pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

That comes to over 43 billion tons/year or over 86 trillion pounds/year.

Carbon dioxide (2) = 1 carbon atom with 2 oxygen atoms.
Carbon has relative weight 12 and Oxygen 16.
So it takes only 12 pounds of carbon to make 12+16+16 = 44 pounds of CO2. 

 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions  
Linked to the Loss of Polar Bears

Photo courtesy of Alaska Image Library. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

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