Basically, the process of solar thermal power generation is realised within the following steps:
- concentrating solar radiation by means of a collector system;
- increasing radiation flux density (i.e. concentrating of the solar radiation onto a receiver), if applicable;
- absorption of the solar radiation (i.e. conversion of the radiation energy into thermal energy (i.e. heat) inside the receiver);
- transfer of thermal energy to an energy conversion unit;
- conversion of thermal energy into mechanical energy using a thermal engine (e.g. steam turbine);
- conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy using a generator.
Fig. 5.1 illustrates the general energy conversion chain of such a solar thermal power generation plant. Selected aspects of this kind of solar energy conversion are discussed below.
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