Parabolic trough power plant (Foto: „Langrock / Solar Millennium")
Dr. Kurt Mühlhäuser, Chairman of the Executive Board of Stadtwerke München (SWM) emphasised: “We have an ambitious objective: Munich will be the first city in Germany where all private households can be supplied with electricity generated from renewable sources in SWM’s own power plants. We currently use hydroelectric power, wind energy, biomass and photovoltaic cells. With our investment in the Andasol 3 project, we have chosen another ground-breaking technology. The parabolic trough power plant in the south of Spain will bring us a great deal closer to our objective.”
Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, Chairman of the Executive Board of RWE Innogy said: “Parabolic trough technology sets new benchmarks for solar electricity generation. It can be deployed on a large scale and generates electricity in a reliable and power grid-friendly way even after sunset thanks to a huge molten salt thermal storage system. This allows the plant to generate electricity for almost twice the amount of hours as a solar power plant without the storage system. For us, this investment is therefore a further important step toward a sustainable and safe method of providing energy on the basis of renewable energies.”
Christian Beltle, Chairman of the Executive Board of Solar Millennium said: “As a result of our early entry into the market, we have extensive expertise in the development and realisation of solar thermal power plants. We have supplied the solar technology for the first parabolic trough power plants in both Spain and Egypt. The fact that we are now joining forces with four leading German companies is a wonderful acknowledgement of our work to date.”
Dr. Dieter Steinkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of RheinEnergie said: “In the Rhine region, we have a responsibility towards around 2.5 million people. It is intended in the future that the basis for our own energy generation should increasingly come from renewable energy sources alongside the environmentally friendly combined heat and power generation. Just a few days ago we took over 19 wind farms across the country with an output of over 100 MW. With Andasol 3, we are now focusing on the future technology of solar energy.”
Dr. Rainer Kistner, Head of Solar Power of MAN Ferrostaal, is excited about the new partnership for Andasol 3. “Solar thermal power plants have enormous future potential. They are environmentally friendly, reliable and predictable, since they are independent of fluctuating oil and gas prices. They ensure long-term security of energy supplies which, for us, is the most important argument to be involved in the project as an investor and as plant constructor. As a constructor of power plants and in conjunction with our technology partner Solar Millennium, we have created the best conditions for making the project a success.”
With an electrical output of approximately 50 megawatts, Andasol 3 is the third solar thermal power plant that has been installed in the Spanish province of Granada by Solar Millennium. The neighbouring projects Andasol 1 and Andasol 2, which each have an electrical output of around 50 megawatts, are already connected to the grid or in the test phase. Andasol 1 was officially inaugurated a few days ago. The power plants, which are almost identical in their construction, will have a collector surface area of over 1.5 million square metres – equal to the surface area of approximately 210 football fields – thus making it the largest solar energy site in Europe. The expected gross energy production for each power plant is approximately 170 gigawatt hours a year. This means the power plants can collectively supply electricity to around half a million people each year and avoid the production of approximately 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide .
Upon completion of the Andasol 3 power plant, around 210,000 parabolic mirrors will capture the sunlight. These gigantic, arched mirrors concentrate the sun’s rays. The heat generated by doing this is transferred to a heat transfer fluid. Trough heat exchanging devices the thermal energy is transferred the thermal energy to a water/steam circuit. As in a conventional power station, this steam drives a turbine. The generator, which is attached to it, generates electricity. By means of a thermal storage system, electricity can be provided in a planned way. This thermal storage system comprises 28,500 tonnes of a special salt mixture; its capacity can run the turbine for 7.5 hours at full load. Andasol 3 is therefore able to reliably generate electricity even after the sun has set.
The construction of Andasol 3 is already at an advanced stage: the early works has been completed as far as possible. The foundations for the collector mountings in the solar park are currently being cast. The assembly of the collectors and their subsequent incorporation into the solar park will begin shortly. The construction of the Andasol 3 power plant is the responsibility of a joint venture company involving Solar Millennium and MAN Ferrostaal, as well as the Spanish company Duro Felguera S.A. Solar Millennium’s subsidiary, Flagsol, is providing the technology for the solar park – just as it did for the sister projects Andasol 1 and 2.