This week’s CSP Today news brief includes: Ferrostaal, Solar Millennium and Flagsol
As well as, Areva Solar, Wind Prospect CWP, Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Western Downs Regional Council, University of Queensland; Australian Solar Thermal Energy Association, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales; Chalmers University of Technology; Leoni, Dii.
Ferrostaal acquires Solar Millennium’s stake in Flagsol
Ferrostaal, a provider of industrial services in plant construction and engineering, has acquired solar thermal power specialist Solar Millennium’s 74.9% stake in Flagsol.
Ferrostaal now has the full ownership of the company, which is a specialist in CSP technology, engineering and EPC-construction of CSP and industrial heat plants. Ferrostaal will retain all 80 employees of the Cologne- based company, reported businessweek.com.
Solar Millennium initiated insolvency proceedings in Germany in December last year, at which time it was shared that as a separate legal entity Flagsol had business relationships with Solar Millennium but was not linked to the insolvency of the company.
Insolvency proceedings were opened on 1 March 2012, with Nuremberg-based lawyer Volker Boehm of Schultze & Braun appointed insolvency manager.
Setback for CSP project in Australia
In a setback for CSP technology in Australia, the $1.2 billion Solar Dawn project failed to obtain finance by a June 30 deadline. Since the Consortium did not meet the recent financial close milestone, the Queensland Government has formally withdrawn its $75 million from the current project support agreement.
Solar Dawn is a proposed 250MW solar thermal power plant to be built near Chinchilla in South West Queensland by a consortium including Areva Solar and Wind Prospect CWP.
The Consortium still advised the Commonwealth Government that the project is well-advanced and remains Australia’s best prospect for a large-scale solar thermal project. The plant is described as the preferred solar thermal power project in Round 1 of the government’s Solar Flagships Programme.
Project Director Anthony Wiseman said that the Consortium will pursue discussions with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Queensland Government to move Solar Dawn forward based on the project’s advanced status.
“It (the project) represents a $1.5 billion economic investment in Queensland, delivering 300 construction jobs, local manufacturing and a $68 million solar research program for The University of Queensland,” said Wiseman.
For more, click here: What now for Australia’s Solar Dawn Project?
Australian government supports CSP technology
The Australian government has sanctioned a grant for a study that is going to assess the potential for concentrated solar thermal technologies. A grant of $85,000 to the Australian Solar Thermal Energy Association (AUSTELA) will go towards a $170,000 study of the potential of solar thermal electricity in Australia’s electricity market.
The AUSTELA project aims to promote concentrated solar thermal technology by identifying the potential economic benefits of deploying the technology in the National Electricity Market and the implications for electricity costs and carbon emissions.
The study is expected to be completed in April 2013, with participation from the University of Technology Sydney and University of New South Wales.
CSP industry needs to consider reflective surface materials options
A study by Gothenburg, Sweden-based Chalmers University of Technology has highlighted that that solar thermal power is largely unrestricted by materials availability, but CSP mirror manufacturers might have to look at other reflective surface materials, such as aluminium, to secure cost competitiveness.
The study, focusing on material issues for CSP, has indicated that CSP does indeed seem to be largely unrestricted, viewing the material requirements compared to the global reserves. In theory, enough solar plants could be built to cover five times the current global electricity demand. However, the report also highlights some issues that are likely to pose challenges to the industry. The main point of concern is that silver, today used extensively for reflecting surfaces, will most likely be in short supply in the coming decades even without demand from a booming CSP industry.
Following a Greenpeace/IEA SolarPACES/ESTELA growth scenario where CSP reaches 8000 TWh/year in 2050, solar plants would consume up to 50-120% of today’s yearly nitrate salt production, and 5-15% of several common materials such as glass, nickel, magnesium and molybdenum.
The Swedish University’s Erik Pihl says in the short term, substituting silver and increasing nitrate salt production should be the first priority. Pihl believes that we can expect to see material demands for plants decreasing as the industry goes for higher steam temperatures and increased plant efficiency. He points out that the common design of a parabolic trough plant requires more molten salt per MW than a salt-receiver tower plant, even when the former has fewer storage hours. That means that trough plants appear slightly more sensitive than tower plants to possible salt production bottlenecks, unless other storage techniques can be employed. Also, higher temperatures means more use of high quality steels, but alloy materials such as molybdenum and niobium have restrictions in both stock and production.
Leoni joins Desertec consortium
German company Leoni, a supplier of wires, optical fibers, cables and cable systems, is now a part of the industrial initiative Dii and its international business network.
The company has joined the Desertec consortium as an associated partner.
Leoni would focus on raising the efficiency of solar thermal and photovoltaic power plants by reducing the power plants’ construction cost.
The company stated that it has recently begun to supply solar thermal plants – mostly with assembled cable systems. Leoni counts on its plug-and-play capability as its main advantage; being industrially pre-assembled, they can be rapidly installed without involving any experts. According to the company, it only takes up half as much time to trim, cut and fit the cables with connectors in the factory than in the usually uncomfortable surroundings of a solar power plant field. Also, labour costs are lower in a factory than in field installation. Overall, assembly and installation costs are reduced by about 75%.