World’s largest linear Fresnel based solar power plant starts production

2012-10-17 - Novatec Solar, a company in which ABB is a strategic shareholder, has completed its 30 megawatt Puerto Errado 2 solar thermal power plant in Spain. The plant is the largest of its kind in the world and uses uniquely efficient proprietary technology to generate more energy than other similar technologies

The Puerto Errado 2 (PE2) solar thermal power plant in Murcia, Spain became the world’s first linear Fresnel solar energy facility to generate power on a large utility-scale basis.

This groundbreaking facility leverages concentrating solar power (CSP) technology to produce 30 megawatts (50 million kilowatt-hours per year) of clean solar energy for the Spanish power grid - enough to power 15,000 Spanish homes and avoid some 16,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

The plant is jointly owned by five Swiss utilities, with Elektra Baselland owning a majority 51 percent stake, Industrielle Werke Basel (IWB) with 12 percent, Elektrizitätswerke der Stadt Zürich with ten percent, Elektrizitätswerke des Kantons Zürich with six percent, Energie Wasser Bern also with six percent and the remaining 15 percent is owned by Novatec Solar.

PE2 is the third commercial installation based on this technology. A 1.4 MW plant has been delivering power to the Spanish high voltage grid since 2009. In May 2012, Novatec completed a 9.3 MW plant at the 2,000 MW Liddell coal-fired power plant in New South Wales, Australia – integrating CSP technology with conventional coal-fired power generation for the first time ever.

The technology is based on a patented and award-winning modular solar boiler and a unique solar field design of linear Fresnel collectors. The technology uses direct steam generation and, unlike other solar thermal technologies, does not require heat exchangers and oil-filled absorber tube networks for heat transfer. Instead this highly economical and proven concept utilizes compact almost flat glass mirrors. The uniquely efficient solar boiler produces superheated steam directly at a temperature of up to 500 degrees Celsius and a pressure of 100 bar.

With a power block efficiency rate of 38 percent, this innovative solar technology generates more energy and has the potential to deliver higher revenues than other solar thermal designs.

By using standard materials such as sheet plates and glass mirrors the cost of building and operating the plants is exceptionally low. This is because the automated mass production of key components can be made in locally erected production facilities and quickly and accurately assembled. And because the resulting plant is land efficient and uses a robotic cleaning system that uses very little water.

ABB and Novatec Solar are uniquely positioned to offer turnkey linear Fresnel CSP solutions of solar plants with generating capacities of 50 MW to more than 250 MW. The technology is ideal for a wide range of applications such as solar augmentation of fossil fuel power plants, enhanced oil recovery, solar desalination, solar cooling, and to providing process steam or heat for mining and other industries.

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