Spain lights way for Masdar

Abengoa Solar begin commercial operation of new PS20 solar power tower


Abengoa Solar has begun commercial operation of the giant new PS20 solar power tower located at the Solucar Platform near Seville. With a generating capacity of 20 MW, the new power tower will produce enough solar energy to supply 10,000 homes.

During a three-day production and operational testing period, the PS20 surpassed the predicted power output, further validating the high potential of power tower technology, the company said in a statement.

“Generating more power during production testing than the design output is indeed a significant milestone,” said Abengoa Solar CEO Santiago Seage. “The technological breakthroughs we have achieved, coupled with our cumulative expertise, have enabled us to take a qualitative leap forward in our power tower technology.”

This latest milestone is an auspicious harbinger for the European Future Energy Forum to be held in Bilbao, Spain in June. This is the follow-on event to the highly successful World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi in January, which showcased the Masdar Initiative – Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar investment in the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies in renewable, alternative and sustainable energies, as well as sustainable design.

Masdar is driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC), a wholly-owned company of the government of Abu Dhabi, through the Mubadala Development Company. In January 2008, Abu Dhabi announced it would invest $15 billion in Masdar, the largest single government investment of its kind. Masdar City itself will be powered by a 10 MW solar plant, claimed to be the first and largest grid-connected photovoltaic generation plant in the MENA region.

The world’s second power tower plant in commercial use, PS20 features a number of technological improvements over PS10, Abengoa’s and the world’s first commercial power tower. The power capacity of the PS20 is double that of the earlier power tower, while Abengoa Solar has installed a higher-efficiency receiver, made improvements to the control and operational systems, and improved the thermal energy storage system.

PS20 comprises a solar field made up of 1,255 mirrored heliostats. Each heliostat, with a surface area of 1,291 square feet, reflects the solar radiation it receives onto the receiver, located on the top of a 531 feet-high tower. The concentrated heat produces steam, which is converted into electricity generation by a turbine.

Abengoa Solar claims that operation of PS20 will avoid the emission into the atmosphere of about 12,000 tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which a conventional fossil fuel-burning power plant would have produced.

Organised by Turret Middle East, the special European Future Energy Forum will examine and present policies on energy, investment, development, alternative and renewable infrastructures.

“While the summit will always remain in Abu Dhabi, we are now extending the brand into Europe with a special forum which we aim to make Europe’s largest-ever exchange of knowledge on future energy solutions,” comments Turret Middle East chairman Richard Hease.

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