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How It Works: Masdar's Beam Down Optical Tower


The Beam Down Tower at Masdar is a step forward in concentrated solar power (CSP). Unlike other plants, the system reflects sunlight twice, once from the heliostats to the central tower and once from the tower down to a collection platform at the system’s base. Because scientists can focus the sunlight at a very small area, they can achieve great heat. They recently concentrated solar energy to 1,100 degrees. The plant is currently only 100 kW, but designers say it could scale up easily.

Concentrate the Sun
Thirty-three heliostats—mirrors arranged in the shape of a parabola—circle the 66-foot tower in three concentric rings. Motors adjust the elevation and angle of the heliostats throughout the day to track the sun and direct the reflected light toward the underside of the tower.

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