Maximising the Environmental Gain
With any example of investment in cutting edge technology it is important to maximise, measure and report to the public on the effectiveness of this investment. Presenting this information in a format the community can readily understand will maximise the uptake of renewable technologies.
The Gemasolar CSP plant (built by Torresol Energy*) project took 2 years to build, costing $419 million dollars and powers 30,000 homes 24 hours a day, even during darkness and poor daylight. The central tower receiver and molten nitrate salt thermal energy system employs the use of heliostats (large mirror panels) rather than photovoltaic cells.
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.
· Rated electrical power: 19.9 MW
· Net electrical production expected: 110 GWh/year
· Solar field: 2,650 heliostats on 185 hectares
· Heat storage system: the molten salt storage tank permits independent electrical generation for up to 15 hours without any solar feed.
*Gemasolar is a project of Torresol Energy - Sener (South American 60%) and Masdar (Alternative power company in Abu Dhabi 40%) founded in 2008