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Torresol Energy commissions 19.9 MW Gemasolar power plant in Spain

Oilfield Technology,

Torresol Energy, a joint venture between Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s leading future energy company, and SENER, the leading Spanish engineering and construction firm, announced today the commissioning of its flagship 19.9MW Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant in Seville, Spain.

The world’s first commercial-scale CSP plant featuring a central tower receiver with thermal storage capabilities has commenced supplying electricity to 25,000 homes in the Andalucía region of Spain. 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 °C 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 °C and allows delivering hotter and more pressurised steam to the turbine than the parabolic trough technology, which significantly increases the performance of the overall plant.

Frank Wouters, Director of Masdar Power, said, “The commissioning of the CSP plant marks another key milestone in the development and deployment of solar energy in Europe. It also highlights Masdar’s commitment to partner with global industry leaders such as SENER and bring clean technology closer to the community.”

Torresol Energy’s focus areas for developing, building and operating additional CSP plans include the US, Southern Europe, Middle East and North Africa. In these areas, the company aims to promote tower plants with a central receiver tower system, or parabolic trough technology, based on the experience acquired in Spain and Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

Spain is one of the world’s most advanced renewable energy players. In 2009, renewable energy represented 12.5% of total energy generation in Spain, and this is expected to go up to 20% by 2020.

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