Torresol Energy, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi's Masdar and Spanish engineers SENER, has commissioned its flagship 19.9 MW Gemasolar concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Seville, Spain.
ME Newswire reports that Torresol is the world’s first commercial-scale CSP plant featuring a central tower receiver with thermal storage capabilities. The plant is expected to save more than 30 000 tonnes of CO2 emission a year.
The innovative molten salt heat transfer technology deployed at the Gemasolar greenfield independent power project helps avoid fluctuations in power supply through a system that is capable of 15 hours of energy production without sunlight. This accordingly allows for generation of electricity 24 hours a day for many months of the year, even during the hours of darkness or poor daylight during winter.
The Gemasolar plant comprises 2650 heliostats (mirrors) that stretch approximately 185 hectares. The system is capable of reaching temperatures exceeding 900 degrees Centigrade at the central receiver located at the top of the tower.
The tower technology uses molten salt as a heat transfer medium that reaches temperatures above 500 degrees Centigrade and allows delivering hotter and more pressurized steam to the turbine than the parabolic trough technology, which significantly increases the performance of the overall plant.
SENER was responsible for providing the technology, the engineering detail design and part of the EPC and commissioning works of the plant. The technology developed by SENER includes state-of-the-art solutions such as the molten salt storage system and the receiver, which is able to absorb 95 per cent of the radiation from the sun’s spectrum and transmit this energy to the molten salt compound that circulates within the receiver, which is then used to heat steam and operate the steam turbines.
Enrique Sendagorta, Chairman of Torresol Energy, said: “Gemasolar is a revolution in the CSP sector, as the standardization of this new technology will mean a real reduction in the investment costs for solar plants. The commercial operation of this plant will lead the way for other central tower plants with molten salt receiver technology, an efficient system that improves the dispatchability of electric power from renewable sources.”
Founded in 2008, Torresol Energy is a 40:60 Masdar-SENER joint venture. The company that commercially develops, manages construction, owns and operates CSP plants globally has been awarded a 25-year regulated tariff by the Spanish government.
Torresol Energy’s Gemasolar project received EUR171m ($240m) financing through a transaction that involved several leading European financial institutions including Banco Popular, Banesto, ICO and the European Investment Bank.