Bad Mirrors Set Solar Thermal Plant On Fire
Gareth Andrews / 3 years ago
When it comes to renewable energy there are a few options, from the power of the sea in tidal factories or the wind in a wind farm, your options are as numerous as the earth offers. An alternative to classic solar farms are the solar thermal plants, like the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility. The idea of these farms is that instead of expensive solar panels, mirrors reflect sunlight to heat up water, with the steam being used to power generators. That is until you get a bad mirror which just wants to set fire to everything.
Thanks to a misaligned mirror, the facility had the heat of the sun focused not on the boiler at the top of a tower but instead at about two-thirds of the way up, at some electrical cables. One the cables melted, they set fire to and in turn melted both steam and water pipes resulting in a fire which lasted no more than 20 minutes thanks to the staffs quick reactions.
With one tower already down for maintenance, and now another burned out (literally), only one of three towers are currently operational producing power a fraction of the theoretical 448,000 MWh it can generate annually. With the plant already under fire for not meeting its yearly targets for generating energy, a fire taking down a third of your production ability can’t help.