27 October, 2010

The Counselor of Economy, Innovation and Science of the Andalusian Autonomous Government, Antonio Ávila, visits the Gemasolar concentrated solar power plant

The Counselor of Economy, Innovation and Science, Antonio Ávila, visited the Gemasolar concentrated solar power plant today, a facility being built by Torresol Energy in Fuentes de Andalucía (Seville). It is the first commercial power station in the world with central tower receiver technology featuring a molten salt heat storage system that allows it to produce power for up to 15 hours without solar radiation. The plant will thus supply clean, safe power to 25,000 homes and reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions by more than 30,000 tonnes a year.

The visit by Antonio Ávila, accompanied by the President of the Andalusian Power Agency, Isabel de Haro, as well as the Director of the same institution, Francisco Bas, and the Provincial Delegate of Seville of the same Department, Francisca Amador, coincides with the end of the plant-building stage, where this month the last of the 2,650 heliostats that make up the solar field was assembled. The commissioning thus begins, which is the last one before the plant begins to operate commercially, scheduled for 2011. The visitors were accompanied by the Chairman of Torresol Energy, Enrique Sendagorta, and the company’s CEO, Álvaro Lorente.

Gemasolar includes major technological innovations, such as a molten salt heat storage system that can reach temperatures of above 500 °C, thus prolonging the normal operating period of these plants. It is the first commercial plant to apply this type of technology in the world and constitutes a point of departure in the cost reduction strategy in the thermosolar power sector.

The installation occupies 185 hectares and will be capable of generating 19 MWe. Thanks to its molten salt storage system, its annual output will be equivalent to a 50 MWe plant with cylindrical-parabolic technology without storage capacity. The power generated (approximately 110 GWh/year) will be sent by means of a high-voltage line to the substation of Villanueva del Rey, where it will be injected into the grid of the electricity company of Seville (Endesa) for distribution, mainly in Andalusia.

The technological relevance of Gemasolar, a Torresol Energy flagship project, has received international recognition, including the CSP Today award in the ‘Thermosolar Innovation’ category. Moreover, delegations from governments and universities from countries such as the USA, Australia or Abu Dhabi visited the plant during the construction phase to see the actual project, which enjoys the backing of the Regional Government of Andalusia through the Andalusian Power Agency.

It should also be mentioned that the project is supported by the Technological Corporation of Andalusia (CTA), of which Torresol Energy is a fully-fledged member. Moreover, the company has set up a collaboration network to promote innovation programmes in Andalusia with local companies and centres such as the Almería Solar Platform, the University of Almeria, the University of Granada, the Higher School of Engineers of Seville and the University of Cadiz, among others

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