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Indiana University Bloomington

Google plans new mirror for cheaper solar power

Posted by nlgiu on September 10, 2009

The search giant said it is investigating low-cost ways to develop thermal power plants

Andrew Donoghue, BusinessGreen, 10 Sep 2009


Search giant Google wants to reduce the costs involved in building solar thermal plants and is developing its own mirror technology to help achieve the aim.

Speaking at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, Google’s green energy czar Bill Weihl said it was investing in companies and researching ways to produce renewable energy within a few years.

The company said it expected to be able to demonstrate some working mirror technology in the next few months, but there was still a lot of work left to do on issues such as on the impact of wear and tear on reflective surfaces.

“We’re not there yet,” he said. “I’m very hopeful we will have mirrors that are cheaper than what companies in the space are using…”

Weihl added that Google is also investigating the potential of gas turbine technology that runs on solar power rather than the usual natural gas.

“In two to three years we could be demonstrating a significant-scale pilot system that would generate a lot of power and would be clearly mass manufacturable at a cost that would give us a stabilised cost of electricity that would be in the five cents or sub-five cents a kilowatt hour range,” he said. …


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