The concept is to use carbon dioxide as an energy storage unit as well as an energy generator. Solar power is one of the best sources of renewable energy. However, it is inconsistent due to long nights and winters mean it is incredibly difficult to make it a primary power supply.
A group of scientists have now discovered a way of combining carbon dioxide energy and solar energy together to create an efficient functional power turbine. "That's the grand challenge," said Stephen Sanborn chief engineer at GE Global Research (GRC). "We need to make renewable energy available to the grid when it is needed." With their concept, they will make solar power available when it is needed.
The idea works when thermal energy is stored in carbon dioxide. A field of mirrors is used to create concentrated heat to generate steam which powers turbines. The energy is then stored in molten salt. The excess energy from the turbines is then used to super cool CO2 to dry ice.
During electricity creation, the dry ice and molten salt are combined and release the energy in the form of a supercritical fluid, which is neither liquid nor gas. The fluid is then used to turn turbines and generate more electricity. This technique could be used to produce solar energy in long winters and makes this type of energy economically viable by dropping the production of a unit of electricity from $250 to $100.