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Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

Photo Friday: Using solar to save natural gas


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.

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

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