CSP Today speaks to Svante Bundgaard who joined Aalborg CSP as CEO in June this year about his move from Wind Power at Siemens to the solar industry, the markets Aalborg is looking to explore and Aalborg’s development of CSP next generation technology.
Aalborg CSP, an engineering and component supplying company with over 25 years’ experience within the steam boiler industry, specialises in developing, designing and supplying steam generators for utility sized CSP power plants all over the globe. Most recently, Aalborg has announced new orders in India for steam generator deliveries of the 50 MWe Godwari plant and another 25 MWe parabolic trough CSP plant in India which is still to be announced.
CSP Today: How have you found the transition from Wind to Solar?
I am very happy with my recent move – I have come to a company with really great technology which is constantly innovating new ideas that will benefit the CSP industry. The market dynamics and structures are very similar to Wind, but while I feel the Wind market is struggling, I believe the CSP market to be more likely to see a golden age in the coming three to five years.
CSP Today: Where is Aalborg’s current focus?
In Aalborg we have historically been focused on steam generators and tower receivers in traditional markets like Spain supplying components to parabolic trough and solar tower receivers for saturated steam plants with more than 280 MWe in operation. Currently we are expanding our focus to development of Molten Salt technology and emerging markets with our new orders in India. Further we are developing smaller scale CSP Module solution with storage capabilities.
CSP Today: When do you see these molten salt applications becoming commercially available?
Currently I believe a lot of parties are working on different aspects within the value chain of molten salt to develop the technology. The progress of this research will determine when the product becomes commercially available. However, I see no reason why it should not be a commercialised technology within the next couple of years seeing that research into this technology began almost a decade ago.
CSP Today: Is Aalborg looking to supply different components for CSP technology, or only the steam generators?
For selected industrial key customers we are offering total turn-key module solutions including steam turbines, desalination plants and even absorption cooling plants. For the utility market we work together with the main CSP developers and EPC’s and we have no current plans to enter into the EPC role for this market. However if our customers and partners requires us to supply more components and engineering services than the steam generation technology, we can offer such as required in cooperation with our strategic technology partners.
CSP Today: How efficient and cost-effective is the CSP solutions compared to other solar steam generator solutions?
Our customer feedback is that Aalborg technology is both high-yielding and cost-efficient as we are building upon 25 years of experience within traditional boiler technology. Our most valued feature is that we through our fully welded coil or header design have reduced the use of tubes for tube plugging. This reduces capex cost in the projects and more importantly eliminates down-time cost and lost revenues for the operators caused by leaking components. Our high quality designs also include fast startup-times and low pressure drop and all of these features combined reduces the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) making CSP plants more competitive. This combined with a good supply chain setup enables us to offer Danish designed high-quality solutions at a low cost.
CSP Today: What is Aalborg’s view for the future?
We are definitely looking to expand into emerging markets. We currently have a strong position in India where we have gained a good start with two substantial orders the total order volume is now at 75MWe consisting of delivery of the steam generators for two parabolic trough plants there. Asides from India we are also looking towards the Chinese market after the announcement of the new Chinese 5 year solar plan. Additionally, we are investigating markets in the Middle East and Africa.In South Africa we have been working closely together with one of our key customers, and we have great expectation for the future of this market.
CSP Today: Have any CSP agreements in MENA been consolidated?
Right now our involvement in MENA is still in the pre-engineering and proposal phase – we are working directly with several interesting customers as there are a lot of projects in development for which we hope to be able to offer our competitive leading technologies and in time secure a good share of the market in the coming years.
CSP Today: With CSP global trends gearing towards cost reduction and higher levels of efficiency, what steps is Aalborg taking to make sure it maintains a competitive edge?
We continuously strive to reduce costs, to support our customers and to contribute to the CSP industry as a whole with the goal of reaching grid parity in the long term. At the same time we are optimizing designs to increase yield throughout the lifetime of the plant. However I think our focus on molten salt will be the most important element in the long-term cost competitiveness of CSP as the thermal storage option will be a game-changer for CSP Technology compared to other Green techs like Wind and PV, which still have to find the way to implement efficient storage solutions.