How to catch the Sahara's sun for Europe

These solar dishes at the US National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, focus the sun's rays onto a receiver that collects their heat.

The heat is transmitted to a Stirling engine that transforms it into mechanical power to generate electricity.

The new SunCatcher design is being developed by the US firms Stirling Energy Systems (SES), based in Phoenix, Arizona, and Tessera Solar, based in Houston, Texas.

Pros: Can track the sun, operates at high temperature (around 790 °C), high heat-to-electricity conversion, modular and easily expandable, low water requirement.

Cons: No commercial installations, cannot store heat, cannot produce in low sunlight or at night.


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