Solar Ponds

T. Jayadev, Michael Edesess

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    This report first describes the different types of solar ponds including the nonconvecting salt gradient pond and various saltless pond designs. It then discusses the availability and cost of salts for salt gradient ponds, and compares the economics of salty and saltless ponds as a function of salt cost. A simple computational model is developed to approximate solar pond performance. This model is later used to size solar ponds for district heating and industrial process heat applications. For district heating, ponds are sized to provide space conditioning for a group of homes, in different regions of the United States. Size requirements is on the order of one acre for a group of 25 to 50 homes. An economic analysis is performed of solar ponds used in two industrial process heat applications. The analysis finds that solar ponds are competitive when conventional heat sources are priced at $5 per million Btu and expected to rise in price at a rate of 10% per year. The application of solar ponds to the generation of electricity is also discussed. Total solar pond potential for displacing conventional energy sources is estimated in the range of from one to six quadrillion Btu per year in the near and intermediate future.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages43
    StatePublished - 1980

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TR-731-587


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