Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giant Solar Thermal Steam Turbine from Siemens

Siemens is set to supply BrightSource Solar with a 123 MW solar thermal steam turbine by 2011, for the BrightSource California heliostat farm.
"Siemens is proud to be building the largest fully solar-powered steam turbine generator to date for BrightSource's Ivanpah solar power plant."

BrightSource's Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will be comprised of three separate solar plants and will produce a combined total of 400 MW of power. Upon completion, the Ivanpah Solar Power Complex will produce enough clean energy to power the homes of 140,000 PG and E customers and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by over 500,000 tons per year. BrightSource is scheduled to begin construction on the Ivanpah site in 2009.

BrightSource Energy's solar thermal energy plants are built on the company's proven Luz Power Tower (LPT) technology.

The system uses thousands of small mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop a tower to produce high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine inside a power block, which generates electricity. The electricity is then connected to the transmission grid for consumption. The steam is air-cooled and piped back into the system in a closed-loop, environmentally friendly process. _Source
The Power Tower technology allows for the direct heating of superheated steam, for efficient steam turbine power generation. Using the Kalina Cycle, a combined cycle power generation scheme would allow for even greater utilisation of this focused energy resource.

Biomass backup systems are likely to be used more frequently with solar thermal plants, to allow for 24 hour power generation -- with the overnight power generated on a scaled-down basis. Either biomass gasification, or the firing of "biocoal" torrified biomass (with or without coal co-firing), will allow biomass to serve as a backup power source. Unfortunately, even such high-efficiency and partially redundant renewable plants will require gas and coal backup sources to compensate for the fickle nature of nature.

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