Renewable energy: Turning salt into power

  • 5 February 2016
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In Morocco, in north west Africa, salt is being used to keep the lights on in the city of Ouarzazate at night time

We put it on our food but did you know salt can also generate electricity?

In Morocco, in north west Africa, salt is being used to keep the lights on in the city of Ouarzazate at night time.

How does it work?

Image copyright EVN
Image caption These curved mirrored solar panels reflect heat from the sun on to oil filled tubes

Mirrors focus the sun's heat onto special tubes filled with oil.

The heat from the tubes creates steam that then generates power during the day.

Image copyright EVN
Image caption The heat from the panels is transferred to these oil filled tubes which creates steam to generate energy

The heat from the mirrors is also used to melt the salt to a temperature of 500 degrees celsius - that's five times hotter than boiling water.

The salt can then stay hot for up to eight hours so it can carry on making the steam to generate even more power.

Image copyright EVN
Image caption Steam billows from a chimney at the solar power plant in Morocco