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Scientists detail desert solar power

Oct 31, 2006 UPI

A German study suggests Europe can make deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions and phase out nuclear power at the same time.

The research, commissioned by the German government, details how Europe can simultaneously meet all its electricity needs, cut emissions of CO2 from electricity generation by 70 percent by the year 2050, and phase out nuclear power.

The key, scientists said, is a collaboration of European, Middle Eastern and North African nations to take advantage of solar energy.

"Every year, each square kilometer of desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil, said Franz Trieb, project manager of the study. "Multiplying by the area of deserts world-wide, this is nearly a thousand times the entire current energy consumption of the world."

He added, "We can tap in to this energy by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight and create heat ... to raise steam and drive a generator in the conventional way. This kind of 'concentrating solar power' -- which is very different from the better-known photovoltaic 'solar panels' -- has been producing electricity successfully in California for nearly 20 years."


Updated: 2003/07/28