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GE Oil & Gas sees strong potential in CSP sector

GE installs 1st 50MW steam turbines for Spain's Acciona Energy Project

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The projects mark the first time that GE has designed CSP trains with generators located between two steam turbines.
The projects mark the first time that GE has designed CSP trains with generators located between two steam turbines.

GE Oil & Gas announced that three GE Oil & Gas 50 MW turbine units will be deployed by Acciona Energy by the end of March 2011 for milestone solar power projects in Spain.

It said that one train will be installed at the new CSP plant in Majadas, Spain and two at the company’s Palma del Rio, Sevilla facilities. The projects mark the first time that GE has designed CSP trains with generators located between two steam turbines: a reheat configuration to increase the overall cycle efficiency and systems’ capacity.

The role of concentrated solar power (CSP) in global renewable energy supply depends upon positive regulatory environments that encourage investment and the availability of proven technologies that efficiently meet capital investment and operating expenditure objectives.

To deliver reliable innovation in the CSP industry, GE Oil & Gas has exploited its petrochemical industry steam turbine technology expertise for the commercialisation of the first GE 50-megawatt steam turbines developed for large-scale parabolic trough CSP applications.

Claudi Santiago, president and CEO, GE Oil & Gas said: “Concentrated solar power will play an increasingly important role in cleaner and renewable energy supply. Spain, in particular, has led the global CSP industry with plans to increase its solar power capacity by 300% over the next decade. GE Oil & Gas is proposing to help support that growth with larger, innovative and more efficient generating technology, demonstrating our commitment to investing in the next generation of cleaner energy solutions.”

The 50 MW unit technology is claimed to be the latest evolution of GE’s advanced steam turbine technology. It is capable of providing a reliable and robust solution with a layout configuration able to combine both steam turbine optimised efficiency and an overall cycle efficiency above 39%.

Since 2007, GE steam turbine technology has powered several CSP plants across Spain. In particular, an 11-MW Abengoa Solar Tower plant in Seville - the first commercial CSP plant in Europe; and, two 15-MW Linear Fresnel plants (Novatec Biosol and EBL) in Calasparra - the world’s first large scale linear plants. As well as Acciona Energy’s 50-MW plants, GE turbine technology has also powered its Majadas and Palma Del Rio I and II facilities. In addition, the Dioxipe Solar consortium’s (comprising Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas, Elecnor Group and ABN Amro Global Infrastructure Fund) 50-MW Parabolic Trough CSP plant in Badajoz will begin operation in 2011, underpinned by GE advanced steam turbine technology and cycle efficiency optimisation.

The CSP process involves directing sunlight through an optical device, such as a lens or a mirror, and concentrating it onto a receiver that transforms it into heat energy. The thermal energy produced from this process is then used to generate steam, which in turn drives a steam turbine connected to an electric generator to create electricity for the power grid.

Acciona Energy is said to be the current world-leading company in operational CSP capacity and one of the largest operators in the renewable energy sector in the world, with solar, wind, hydro, biomass, cogeneration and biofuels assets totalling more than 7,400 megawatts.

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