Energy, Environmental, and Economic Savings for I&I
The extent of energy, environmental and economic savings which lightweight, low-cost inflatable technology heliostats can enable, will be a strong function of the rapidity and extent of commercialization. This technology can be pivotal in enabling cost-effective, large-scale solar thermal power, as the single largest cost element of solar thermal powerplants is the field of heliostats. The proposed technology presented here could potentially reduce heliostat cost from around $192 / sq.m. for conventional heliostats, to around $67 /sq.m. for these advanced technology inflatable-structure heliostats. As noted earlier in Figure 1, only 0.52% of U.S. land area utilized for solar thermal powerplants, has the potential to meet 100% of U.S. electric power production with environmentally clean, renewable solar energy. Even at a fraction of this, the potential benefit to our country will be in the trillions of dollars in energy, economic and environmental savings over the long term, plus additional benefits in building freedom from reliance on foreign energy sources, dirty coal, or dangerous nuclear fission sources to meet the growing energy needs of the future.
November 24, 2002