Natural gas power plants can use about 20% less fuel when the sun is shining by injecting solar energy into natural gas with a new system being developed by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The system converts natural gas and sunlight into a more energy-rich fuel called syngas, which power plants can burn to make electricity.
“Our system will enable power plants to use less natural gas to produce the same amount of electricity they already make,” said PNNL engineer Bob Wegeng, who is leading the project. “At the same time, the system lowers a power plant’s greenhouse gas emissions at a cost that’s competitive with traditional fossil fuel power.”
PNNL will conduct field tests of the system at its sunny campus in Richland, WA, this summer.
Read more: PNNL press release, April 11, 2013.