Flagsol, a subsidiary company of Solar Millennium, has constructed the first Concentrating Solar Power Plant in the Kuraymat region of Egypt. This 150 MW hybrid power plant will utilize natural gas and concentrated solar power and would be operated continuously.

The solar field contains parabolic trough collectors having a total surface area of 130,000 m². The entire solar field was directed at the sun, and the heat energy absorbed fed into a heat exchanger located in the power block.

Flagsol and Essen-based Ferrostaal provided the technology for this project. The solar field was designed and delivered and operated by Flagsol, who also supplied the major components such as absorber pipes and parabolic mirrors. The solar field was constructed and commissioned with the help of Orascom Construction Industries, an Egyptian Company. On the site a number of skilled workers had assembled mirrors for the total surface area. The 6 meter high collectors were later installed in the solar field inside several rows of parabolic trough mirrors, which had a length of several hundreds of meters. Totally 2000 collectors were installed and all of them were oriented towards the sun’s position.

This site gets on average about 2400 kW hours of solar irradiation per m² per year and this irradiation is channeled to mirrors, which are parabola shaped and reflect on to absorber pipes, which are located in the collector’s focal line. The absorber pipes hold a heat transferring fluid and gets heated up to 300-400˚ by the concentrated sunlight. The liquid is then pumped into the central power block and the thermal energy thus ensued gets converted into electrical energy.

According to Flagsol’s Technology Project Manager, Matthias Strub, this power plant can be operated without any interruption and hence could supply power for 24 hours every day for seven days a week. Oliver Blamberger, Solar Millennium’s Executive Board Member stated that the Kuraymat Project demonstrates that electricity could be generated from the North African Desert and their technology was proof that the DESERTEC Solar Millennium 2/3 Dec 2010, would become a reality and the co-operation of Europe and Africa in the renewable energy field could be successful.

NREA, the Egyptian energy authority, called for tenders and commissioned this power plant. This plant’s total cost was over € 250 million, out of which, the cost of the solar field was 30%. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provided a USD$50 million grant for the solar field. The commercial operations would begin by 2011 and for two years thereafter both Flagsol and Orascom would operate the plant and then hand it over to the owner.

(AZoCleantech)