Spain’s Abengoa Solar has unveiled its first high-temperature power tower — Eureka — in Andalusia.
The only such plant in operation in Europe, the power tower is intended to test, on an experimental basis, a new type of receiver designed to achieve the higher temperatures needed for higher-efficiency thermodynamic power cycles. The aim of the new technology is to increase plant performance, thereby reducing both generating costs and the area of the solar field.
The experimental plant occupies a 16,000-square-foot portion of the Solúcar Platform and uses 35 heliostats and a 164-foot tower that houses an experimental superheating receiver. The power output capacity of the experimental plant is approximately 2 megawatts. The plant includes a thermal energy storage system supplying power supply to the grid for short periods when there is no sunlight.
“This marks the beginning of the next experimental phase for this high-potential solar power tower technology which could lead to an important step forward in our goals of generating clean electricity at competitive prices,” said Rafael Osuna, general manager of Abengoa Solar New Technologies. “Our significant investment in research and development has made this groundbreaking concentrating solar power technology a reality.”
Abengoa Solar now has three solar power towers in operation, two for commercial use in addition to the experimental tower.
The new plant is part of the Solúcar Platform, a solar thermal and photovoltaic solar installation complex scheduled for completion in 2013. The 300-megawatt plant will provide enough electricity for some 153,000 households and eliminate the emission of 185,000 tons of CO2 per year, reaching a total of four million tonnes over the course of its useful life.