March 17, 2013- Abu Dhabi The world’s largest concentrated solar power plant was officially opened today in the United Arab Emirates. The project is a collaboration of Abu Dhabi’s “Masdar”(60%), the French energy company “Total”(20%), and Spain’s “Abengoa Solar”(20%). The total cost of the concentrated solar power project was 600 million dollars and the plant is expected to produce a 100 megawatts of power annually. This makes it the largest CSP plant in operation worldwide. The plant will be producing 10 percent of the current global concentrated solar power output at this time.
The project named “Sham 1″ became the first step in realizing the vision to produce 7 percent of Abu Dhabi’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. The lead partner in this project is Masdar, which is an energy initiative launched by Abu Dhabi to focus on renewable and alternative energy sources. Their goal is to achieve energy diversity and to become a leader in renewable energy technology development.
- Sham 1 - Video
Interesting - Sham 1 - Facts and Features
Concentrated solar power plants can be configured in many different ways. The “Sham 1″ project is no exception. The primary concept of concentrated solar power is the use of solar heat to transfer energy and create steam for use in conventional steam turbines to generate electricity. This can be accomplished in a multitude of different ways.
The “Sham 1″ project chose oil to be the heat-transfer fluid. The oil is pumped through pipes, located in front of the parabolic mirror troughs, which then becomes heated from the solar energy. The oil is pumped through a heat-exchanger surrounded by water, which creates steam that is approximately 380 degrees Centigrade. This 380 degree steam then enters a dual-fuel chamber that super-heats the steam to around 580 degrees Centigrade to run the steam turbines. This super-heated steam increases the efficiency of the turbines. The steam is then cooled by fans and the condensate is returned to the water tank to be cycled again. This makes the cooling process water-free, which is a big
advantage in desert environments. This particular system does not use storage, but tanks could be added at a later date to incorporate storage if desired. The dual-fuel burner uses natural gas or diesel to super-heat the steam and can also produce electricity when the sun is not shining. This makes it a hybrid system, but one that makes a lot of financial sense. Carbon emissions are estimated to be 175,000 tons less per year than with a conventional fossil fuel only power plant.
Clean Development Mechanism
This project has become the first concentrated solar power plant to be registered under the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This makes the project eligible for carbon credits. This is the second project to be registered by Masdar.
The latest concentrated solar power project to become operational is “Sham 1″. This is the largest CSP plant in the world and is expected to produce 10 percent of the global electricity provided by CSP at this time. This technology can be configured in many ways to adapt to the particular environment in which it is located. Concentrated solar power is a proven technology that is being utilized more and more. We applaud the efforts of companies like Masdar, Total, and Abengoa Solar for their efforts to further the expansion of concentrated solar power and our sustainable energy resources.