Abengoa has been selected by the Centre of Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) in Spain to lead two research & development consortiums as part of the Feder-Innterconecta program. The total cost of both projects, of which Abengoa will contribute 55 %, will exceed €12 million.
Abengoa will be responsible for leading the team made up of 16 research centres and seven companies that will focus on creating a next-generation parabolic trough collector, and researching and developing other key components for the optimisation of this technology, as well as creating new thermal storage technologies for concentrating solar power plants that use steam as their heat-transfer fluid, thereby improving dispatchability.
The company says that these news areas of research, will enable it to develop new technologies that are “more efficient and cost-effective that can then be applied to projects all over the world”.
The Feder-Innterconecta program is geared towards financing large integrated projects that are experimental yet strategic. The main objective of these projects is boost development in future technological areas with international economic and commercial potential.
Abengoa said the awarding of the project leads “reaffirms the excellent technical and scientific value of Abengoa’s research activities”.
First hybrid solar power plant in Algeria
Meanwhile, Siemens Energy has been awarded a contract to provide long-term maintenance services at Algeria’s first solar-combined cycle hybrid power plant being developed by Abengoa.
The order was placed for its 150-megawatt solar hybrid plant operating at the Hassi R’Mel natural gas field in northern Algeria. The contract includes preventative and corrective maintenance for two SGT-800 gas turbines, which Siemens installed in April 2011. The service contract for the gas turbines will help to ensure long-term reliability and predictable maintenance costs for Abengoa at Hassi R’Mel, one of the world’s most innovative power stations.
“As these unique and advanced hybrid plant technologies continue to emerge, maintaining their efficiency with cost-effective service solutions is vital,” said Karim Amin, head of Siemens Energy Service, Middle East region. “Algeria has made a strong commitment to developing its abundant renewable energy sources, along with its rich natural gas resources, and we look forward to providing reliable service to Abengoa for this very important project.”
Integrated Solar Combined Cycle (ISCC) technology combines the environmental benefits of solar energy with the operational advantages of a 'conventional' combined cycle plant. The heat generated by the solar field decreases the already low emissions of a combined cycle power plant and increases the efficiency even more.
One of the world’s first ISCC plants when it began operation in May 2011, the Hassi R’Mel solar-combined cycle hybrid power plant generates electricity through both the 25-MW parabolic trough solar collectors field and a 130-MW 2x1 CCPP (Combined Cycle Power Plant). Located at Algeria’s largest natural gas field, the plant consists of 224 parabolic trough collectors that cover an area of 180,000 square meters. The gas turbine and steam cycle are fired by natural gas, with the steam turbine receiving additional solar-generated steam during the day.