Fifty Shades of Black

Ivanpah, the world's largest concentrating solar power plant, located just southwest of Las Vegas,  can produce a whopping 392 megawatts of solar energy to power 140,000 California homes with clean energy

Ivanpah, the world’s largest concentrating solar power plant, located just southwest of Las Vegas, can produce a whopping 392 megawatts of solar energy to power 140,000 California homes with clean energy PHOTO: Inhabitat

So we’ve all learnt, at some time or the other, that black absorbs light the maximum. And that the sun is one of the best sources of clean and renewable energy. Now, put two and two together. Yes, we are definitely talking tapping the sun’s light and heat. And we need a black surface to do so. The catch: the color needs to be as black as black can get.

And if you thought there’s just one shade of black, University of California San Diego (UCSD) graduate student Lizzie Caldwell will tell you otherwise. Her research is aimed at finding the blackest paint, to be used to cover surfaces and structures used in the generation of solar power. The blackest because the coatings need to be durable and darker the color, greater the amount of sunlight absorbed.

The paint is being developed for a new generation of so-called concentrating solar power plants (CSP). These use thousands of mirrors to focus sunlight on a central tower, which is coated with a dark, light-absorbing material. The light is converted into intense heat, which is used to make steam. The steam can then be used to drive turbines, in order to produce electricity.

Read more on how pitch black is the way to go.

One thought on “Fifty Shades of Black

  1. Pingback: Fifty Shades of Black | Raxa Collective | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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