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Equipment
Storing Solar Energy in Steam Engines
Steam engine technology could provide an inexpensive option for solar power storage, bringing the cost of storing the energy down to a fraction of that of current battery storage solutions.


The system consists of an array of parabolic receivers that harness solar energy to makes steam that drives the engine. While the sun is out, high pressure steam is produced to power the high pressure stage of the steam engine. The exhaust steam, which contains more than half of its original energy, is captured by condensing it into an insulated tank of water, where the water is heated and pressurized. When more energy is needed, such as at night or during peak times, the water in the tank is flashed back to steam to drive the low pressure stage of the steam engine. The combined output of the high and low engine stages would provide power 24 hours a day.

According to Terrajoule, developers of the technology, "The result is storage at less than 20% of the cost of batteries, with no degradation, no cycle limits, no toxic or rare materials, and a useful life of at least 25 years."

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