Gemasolar celebrates its second anniversary with an excellent operational record
Gemasolar, the solar thermal plant owned by Torresol Energy, will complete on October 4 October its second year in operation since its official opening. During this time, the operation of the plant has exceeded the expected results and has demonstrated the sturdiness of SENER’s design. For example, in the summer of 2013, the plant has achieved continuous production operating 24 hours per day for 36 consecutive days, which is something that no other plant has performed so far.
Since its commissioning, the learning curve of the team responsible for the operation and the maintenance of the plant, integrated in Torresol O&M’s organization, has been very positive: the hours of availability of the plant have gradually increased so that the warranted production values could be exceeded. In addition, the critical equipment designed by SENER is achieving the performance expected, having a much higher degree of automation than the rest of solar thermal plants in operation. Particularly worthy of mention is the safety management, which has been a priority from the very beginning of the project.
Gemasolar is a 19.9 MW plant that can produce 110 GWh (net) per year and can operate for a total of 6,450 hours at full capacity. Today, it continuously supplies power to 27.000 homes, which reduces CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by 30,000 tons per year.
The engineering and technology group SENER has led the construction of the plant, has been responsible for the complete supply of technology and owns 60% of Torresol Energy.
Gemasolar is the first commercial plant to use central tower receiver and heliostat field technology in combination with a molten salt thermal storage system. It is worldwide a pioneering plant that is capable of producing electricity around the clock, exclusively by means of solar energy thanks to an integrated molten salt thermal storage system. Its unique technology has been previously recognized by awards as prestigious as the European Business Awards or, more recently, by the Award of Merit granted by the International Federation of Consulting Engineers FIDIC in the category of Major Civil Engineering Projects. This award has distinguished Gemasolar as one of the best global engineering works of the past 100 years.
The construction of Gemasolar marked a milestone in the concentrated solar power sector. Since then, several companies are trying to build a facility with the same central tower and storage system technology but, to date, none has succeeded.