- Category: PV
02 Apr 2012
- Published on Monday, 02 April 2012 02:05
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Abu Dhabi is transforming a desert location from rolling, towering sand dunes into a site for the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. The General Manager of Shams Power Company has been reported saying that the new solar plant will be completed and in operation by the end of this year, and the plant will be able to provide the UAE capital with power at commercial prices.
Yousuf Al Ali, General Manager said, “Construction began during the [third quarter] of 2010. The project’s cost is $600 million and with its completion, it will be the largest solar project in the world…once completed, Shams 1 will be one of the largest concentrated solar power [CSP] plants in the world, extending over an area of 2.5 square kilometers with a capacity of approximately 100 MW.” This will produce enough energy to power 20,000 homes.
He added, “Shams 1 is a joint venture between Masdar (60%), Total (20%), and Abengoa (20%).” The companies together provide “unique” technology to the project. The power plant was developed under a contract that ensures ownership and operation for 25 years.”
The desert site has meant that 5 million cubic metres of sand needed to be dug up and redistributed, which is the same volume as two of Egypt’s Cheops pyramids. Sultan Al Jaber, Masdar's CEO, said earlier: "Shams 1 is a milestone project for the region. Shams 1 is the first utility scale, commercial solar power project in the Middle East."
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The preliminary work began in June 2012 for the Shams One power plant, which is location near Madinat Zayed, in Abu Dhabi’s Western region. The area once covered with sand, is large enough to accommodate 285 football pitches, and the site is now a giant solar field, covered with rows of tall metal frames with glass mirrors attached to them.
"The station will consist of 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors, 192 solar collector assembly loops with 8 solar collector assemblies per loop, 768 solar collector assembly units, and 27,648 absorber pipes," explained Al Ali.
The Sham 1 plant will be different from any other solar plant in the world. Using CSP technology and parabola shapes means that solar thermal electricity is generated by focussing sunlight, concentrated by mirrors, reflects to heat a coolant which then generates high-pressure steam to drive a steam turbine. According to Al Ali, this creates an efficient, reliable and clean production of electricity.
The plant is 80 per cent complete, and testing of the equipment is expected to start soon. Once it begins running at the end of this year, it will be Abu Dhabi's largest solar project to date, ten times the size of the photo voltaic array at Masdar according to Al Ali.
"As one of Masdar's flagship projects, Shams 1 will directly contribute toward Abu Dhabi's target of achieving 7 per cent renewable energy power generation capacity by the year 2020," said Al Ali.
Masdar, the capital's clean energy company, is constructing the solar plant in collaboration with Abengoa Solar, a Spanish infrastructure and environment company, and the French oil company Total, Al Ali identified that this is why the Shams 1 technology is unique and so strong. The plant is due to be a core contributor to Abu Dhabi’s long-term renewable energy objectives, Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, which aims reduce the UAE's dependence on oil.
BNP Paribas, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Societe Generale, and the Bank of Tokyo have all financially backed the project.
This article has been written on behalf of Ploughcroft Renewable Energy: http:www.ploughcroft.co.uk