This system, which significantly increases the plant yield of plants without thermal storage, guarantees a continuous supply of electricity, overcoming intermittences, and renders it possible to flexibly adapt output to the demand for power, which is one of the main shortcomings of some renewable technologies.
The award was delivered on 24 June during the fourth edition of the Concentrated Solar Power Summit held between 23 and 25 June in San Francisco (USA). The CEO of Sener’s Office in the US, José C. Martín, picked up the award. After the event, he declared: “I am very proud of receiving, on Sener’s behalf, the CSP Today Award that represents for us the acknowledgement to our continuous effort during the last ten years to turn the solar thermal power into a reliable technology, more and more competitive as time goes by, that allows to operate plants in a dispatchable way and with access to project financing”.
The molten salt heat storage system is a Sener-developed technological innovation applied by the company to all its projects; Sener currently has a portfolio of twelve concentrated solar power projects, eight of them turnkey contracts for different clients, three of which are already up and running, and in which the engineering company is in charge of all the technology. Some of these plants are true international milestones: Andasol 1, in Granada, was the first solar thermal electric plant in the world to use a molten salt heat storage system commercially.
Connected to the grid at the end of 2008, the fulfilling experience of its construction, commissioning and commercial operation has enabled Sener to undertake eleven other similar projects using the same technology. Mention must also be made of Gemasolar, the world's first commercial plant to be driven by a molten salt receiver tower with thermal storage system. It will be commissioned in 2011, and Sener expects it to become a worldwide reference, a point of departure in cost reduction strategy in the solar thermal electric sector.
Sener has developed numerous solutions for concentrated solar power plants, ranging from components to control software and complete systems, and is currently working on new concepts such as single salt tanks, as well as alternative heat storage systems, all to drive down the costs of generating electricity using concentrated solar power.
In this regard, it should be mentioned that the company has just received a subsidy from the Department of Energy (DOE) of the United States to participate in the development of the new generation of high-performance heat storage systems for solar thermal electric plants based on the use of graphite. The objective of this project is to extend storage capacity to a broader number of applications based on lower-cost concentrated solar power.
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