Sunflowers Inspire Improved Solar Power Plant – GeoEye High Resolution Imagery Featured on MSNBC

The well-tuned geometry of the florets on the face of the sunflower head has inspired an improved layout for mirrors used to concentrate sunlight and generate electricity, according to new research.

The sunflower-inspired layout could reduce the footprint of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants by about 20 percent, which could be a boon for a technology that’s limited, in part, by its massive land requirements.

CSP plants employ arrays of giant mirrors, each the size of half a tennis court, to beam the sun’s rays up to heat a tube of fluid in the top of a tower. This hot fluid drives steam turbines that generate electricity.

In the traditional layout, the mirrors are arranged in rows of circles that ripple out from the central tower. Some, such as the Spain’s Gemsolar power-generating array, take up 185 acres. That plant, when complete in 2013, will provide power for about 25,000 homes…

A commercial satellite picture from GeoEye shows the Gemasolar power-generating array in Seville, Spain.

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About webmastergeoeye

GeoEye is a leading source of geospatial information and insight for decision makers and analysts who need a clear understanding of our changing world to protect lives, manage risk and optimize resources. Each day, organizations in defense and intelligence, public safety, critical infrastructure, energy, and online media rely on GeoEye’s imagery, tools and expertise to support important missions around the globe. Widely recognized as a pioneer in high-resolution satellite imagery, GeoEye has evolved into a complete provider of geospatial intelligence solutions. GeoEye’s ability to collect, process and analyze massive amounts of geospatial data allows our customers to quickly see precise changes on the ground and anticipate where events may occur in the future. GeoEye is a public company listed on NASDAQ as GEOY and is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, with more than 700 employees worldwide. View all posts by webmastergeoeye

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