Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) often runs stalls at community events. BZE often has a model of the Gemasolar “concentrating solar thermal power plant” at these stalls.
This page is to support BZE volunteers using
On this page
- Gemasolar: Spain
- Sundrop tomato farm: Port Augusta
- Aurora Plant: South Australia
- BZE proposed building this plant
- South Australia and renewables
- BZE Zero Carbon Australia Plans
- Crescent Dunes concentrating solar thermal plant: Nevada
- Hazelwood coal-fired generator
The Gemasolar power plant
How it works
- A Concentrating Solar Thermal power plant with storage
- Mirrors collect sunlight to heat molten salts, boil water and generate electricity.
- There are 2,650 mirrors that move continually, always focusing the collected sunlight onto the central tower.
- Each mirror (heliostat) is about 12 x 12
metres, about 4 storeyshigh. They are in a circle of 1.5 km around the central tower.
- They each focus the sunlight onto the central tower. This heats molten salts to about 565 C.
- The hot salts then flow into the hot salt tank for use when needed, daytime or nighttime.
- The hot salts retain 99% of their heat over 24 hours.
- The hot salts flow through a heat exchanger to boil water.
- The steam drives a turbine to generate electricity.
- The now-cooled molten salts then flow into the cold tank where the temperature is about 290 C. The salts are then ready to flow into the tower again.
- In Spain, west of Seville.
- The first commercial-scale plant using this technology.
- Started May 2011.
- Can produce electricity 24 hours a day
- Longest recorded continuous operation has been 36 days.
- Can generate for up to 15 hours without sunlight.
- Registered electrical power: 17 Megawatt
- Electricity to the grid: 80 Gigawatt-hours per year
- Power for 25,000 homes
- Torresolenergy: Gemasolar
- A megawatt is a unit of power: energy per second
- A megawatt-hour is a measure of energy
Sundrop Farms: Solar tower powered tomato farm
- The “Sundrop Farms” greenhouses grow tomatoes in nearly desert country
- They use a Concentrating Solar Thermal generator to provide electricity, heat and desalinated water.
- Sundrop Farms
- Completed October 2016
(Port Augusta becomes Australian renewable energy hub: ABC October 2018)
Aurora solar: Thermal solar generator in SA
- In South Australia, we were planning to build a plant like Gemasolar
- Difficulties have arisen with financing the plant (April 2019)
- About twice as big as Gemasolar
- 150 Megawatts
- Concentrating solar thermal with storage
- Storage: 1,100 megawatt-hours
- Built by Solar Reserve
- Heliostats over 10,000
BZE proposed building this plant
- In 2012, the BZE research report “Repowering Port Augusta” identified Port Augusta as the place to build a solar thermal power plant.
- BZE advocated for this. The community supported it.
- The South Australian government held an inquiry into the BZE proposal.
- In 2017, the South Australian Government awarded a $650 million contract.
- In 2019, the plan was dropped.
Crescent Dunes Plant: Nevada
- Concentrating solar thermal plant with storage
- Power 110 MW
- Energy output: 500,000 Megawatt-hours per year
- Energy storage 10 hours at full output
- Molten salt lasts for 40 years with no degradation or replacement
- Developed by Solar Reserve
- First commercial plant using this technology in the USA
- Entered commissioning phase in February 2014
- Long periods of plant shutdown due to leaks in the storage tanks: 2017
Hazelwood coal-fired plant, Victoria
- Now closed
- It used to produce 12,100,000 MWh per year.
- The case for Shutting Hazelwood Power Station: Renew Economy