The Negev Desert

It was a very short drive between Tel Aviv and the Negev Desert. In just an hour the entire landscape had changed. The huge craters, steep mountains and rocky plateaus of the Negev Desert cover more than half of Israel. Many business, government facilities, and research and development institutes have been very successful in the Negev. Our first visit was to BrightSource Industries research and development site where they are currently testing and improving the efficiency of a Solar Power Tower. I was very excited when we got here because in my Environmental Technology class we have been learning about Solar Power and I even had to write about Solar Power Towers on my midterm last week. To see the real thing in action was pretty exciting. The tower uses heliostats (computerized mirrors) to track the sun and reflect its rays to hit the top of the tower. Behind the darkened spot on the 60-meter tower lies a boiler which heats water to temperatures to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, producing steam that runs through a turbine and produces electricity. This field contains 1,400 mirrors and in a couple of days they will be taking it all down and will put up their next test field. When we were walking around the site were were instructed not to take pictures, or even look off to the left of the tower. Clearly, some interesting and top secret must be going on over there;  I did not want to test my luck so I just kept my eyes on the tower and sea of mirrors. photo 4 photo 5

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