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Photo Friday: Using solar to save natural gas

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This summer, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are testing technology that could help reduce fuel consumption by 20-25% in natural gas power plants. This technology uses natural gas + sunlight to create syngas. More specifically, the heat from a concentrating solar power (CSP) system to break the chemical bonds in natural gas. This creates a fuel (syngas) comprised primarily of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2).

Photo above of this CSP system that could help natural gas power plants to be more efficient courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Chryses 6:55 am 07/30/2013

    That’s worth pursuing. The more efficient the power generation is, the less there needs to be to satisfy the demand.

    Link to this
  2. 2. MoEnergySci 10:30 am 07/30/2013

    We should definitely look at efficiency opportunities first. Good stuff.

    Link to this

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