Executive Viewpoint: Emilio Iglesias Sola, Yara International ASA
Yara International ASA delivers solutions for sustainable agriculture, the environment and safe and efficient industry operations. Founded in Norway in 1905, Yara has a worldwide presence with sales to 150 countries. Using century-long know-how in nitrogen-based applications Yara is now entering into the CSP market with research and development, innovating a new generation of molten salts to be used for CSP storage purposes.
CSP Today speaks to Emilio Iglesias Sola from Yara International ASA who joined the company in 2003 and spearheaded the CSP initiative since 2009. After more than one year of testing by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Yara is confident that its new molten salt solution consisting of potassium, sodium and a new calcium nitrate is ready to enter the CSP market. With thermal storage and cost being two of the biggest challenges faced by CSP, Yara’s new calcium nitrate offer will provide a potential solution with promises of increased storage technical advances and significant cost reductions.
CSP Today: What were the motivations for Yara International ASA to establish a sector specifically focused on developing nitrates to be used for CSP storage?
Yara International ASA provides solutions to multiple industries. Our nitrate’s expertise is backed by over a century of know-how and we constantly undertake R&D in order to discover new properties and applications to nitrogen chemicals. Ongoing research identified a new grade of potassium calcium nitrate with particularly promising thermal properties. So, we immediately started testing application in CSP in collaboration with Universidad Complutense de Madrid. We are now ready to introduce our product to the CSP market, which we believe this could be a key element in taking CSP to the next level in its already impressive growth story.
CSP Today: When do you think the product will be commercially available?
It is difficult to predict the exact date for the first commercial CSP application of the new product. What I can say right now is that the product is tested and ready for use. Our global production platform and world leading logistics network mean that the product can be rolled out very fast, across multiple continents.
CSP Today: How does Yara International ASA new molten salt composition differ to existing molten salt mixes and how will this contribute to the CSP industry?
As you know molten salt is used for heat storage, an application receiving a great deal of attention in CSP technology development. Recently, molten salt has also started to be used as a heat transfer fluid. Major market concerns involve the price and availability of molten salts. You need large amounts of nitrates to fill the tanks in CSP plants – putting pressure on both supplies and finances.
With this new grade of calcium nitrate, Yara offers a number of major innovations that address these industry needs. First, the product offers significant cost reduction. This calcium nitrate is lower in cost than both the potassium and sodium nitrate traditionally composing the binary salt mixture used in CSP storage. Second, Yara International ASA worldscale production and logistics ensures customers supply reliability, even at high consumption volumes. Third, the product is chloride-free and therefore much less corrosive than other existing solutions, which means we are extending the lifetime of components in contact with the molten salt.
Finally, this new product expands the molten salt’s effective temperature range by reducing the molten salt melting point from 220°C to a melting point of 131°C. This translates directly into improved transport and storage performance.
This new temperature range is a big advancement for the CSP market. That is why we actually call this is the new generation of molten salts.
We expect to show all these advances in the coming CSP Today event in Seville November 2012.
CSP Today: What is the proportional composition of this molten salt?
Instead of using the binary nitrates of potassium and sodium, we are introducing calcium nitrate into the mix. However, the exact composition of the mix will be communicated later.
CSP Today: Can you tell us something about the Sahara Forest Project?
This is a very interesting project that combines several fundamentals within the Yara International ASA values and permits to be at the head of the new technologies in the agricultural and energy fields. Water scarcity, crop yield and renewable energies are global concerns where we want to contribute with innovative and efficient solutions to the society.
If you want to learn more about the specificities of this project, I would encourage you to visit this webpage link