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A Solution to Solar Power Intermittency


Burning natural gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as burning coal, but it still produces large amounts of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. A novel device being developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) could reduce those emissions by 20 percent by using heat from the sun to convert natural gas to an alternative fuel called syngas, a lower carbon fuel.

The process avoids the intermittency problem of solar panels, whose output depends on the weather and the time of day. The fuel produced by the new device can be stored and used whenever it’s needed to generate a steady supply of electricity.

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