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Clean energy revolution: Converting solar energy into gas

8:44 PM, Mar 30, 2010   |    comments
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Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) called the Sundrop Fuels Inc. plant a "huge 21st century opportunity" Tuesday after touring the facilities.

Udall says not only will the concept help to create much needed jobs, but he says it will put Colorado on the verge of a clean energy revolution.

Udall also says by creating this alterative for liquid fuel, instead of depending on foreign oil, America also will become less vulnerable.

So, how does it work? First, computer-controlled mirrors work to reflect the sun's concentrated heat. The beams are then reflected into an oven-like object called a "solar reactor."

Waste materials, called "biomass" are then fed up a 60-foot tower, and blasted in the reactor at temperatures reaching 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat then tears the materials apart, vaporizing them in seconds. In an instant chemical reaction, gas is created that can be used in cars, diesel engines, even aircrafts.

Once you fill your car with that gas, there is one more environmental benefit. Sundrop Fuels Inc. says when your car burns that biofuel made from plants, it does not release carbon dioxide.

Also interesting to note, the University of Colorado at Boulder helped to invent the base technology nearly a decade ago.

Sundrop Fuels Inc. says they want to raise between $100 to $150 million to build the world's first full scale solar-powered biorefinery. They plan to locate the biorefinery somewhere in the southwestern United States, and plan for completion in 2015.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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