How sun, salt and glass could help solve our energy needs

High in the stark Nevada desert, a couple of hundred miles north-west of Las Vegas, is the shimmering circular mirage of Crescent Dunes. Ten thousand silvery glass panes, each measuring 115 square metres, surround a tall central tower, which stands like a twinkling needle in the featureless landscape around it. Resembling a fabulous alien metropolis, Crescent Dunes is in fact a highly sophisticated, mile-and-a-half-wide solar power plant – “the next generation in solar energy”, according to Kevin Smith, one of the project’s founders.

 

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