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Torresol gets €171 million solar thermal plant funding

Torresol Energy, the strategic alliance between SENER and Masdar, has announced a €171 million financing deal for Spanish solar thermal plant Gemasolar.

Gemasolar is a 17 MWe utility grade solar thermal power plant with central tower and salt receiver technology. The plant is located in Fuentes de Andalucía, Seville, Spain, and could be operational in 2011.

According to Torresol, the project will “open the way for a new solar thermal electricity generation technology that is a better alternative to cylindrical – parabolic type commercial solar thermal power plants that are currently being built.”

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Chief Executive Officer at Masdar, says: “Gemasolar is an important milestone for the CSP [concentrating solar power] industry and its success is likely to revolutionise this industry.”

The contract has been awarded to a consortium, including SENER and AMSA, an ACS Cobra subsidiary. SENER will be in charge of providing the technology, the detail design and commissioning of the plant.

The technology includes the receiver, which is able to absorb 95% of the radiation from the sun’s spectrum and transmit the energy to the salt compound that circulates within the receiver, as well as the Sensol software for sizing and optimising the plant. The technology provided includes a thermal molten salts storage system, which is capable of reaching temperatures over 500°C.

Gemasolar’s autonomy will be 15 hours without sunlight. Furthermore, the high temperature at which solar energy in captured in the salt receiver allows for more highly pressurised and hotter steam increasing the steam turbine’s performance.

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