First Section Of The 11 MWe 'Abengoa' Concentrating Solar Power Plant

This is the first 11 MWe operating module of three towers currently being built to constitute what will be soon a 50 MWe concentrated solar power (CSP) facility that is sited a few kms west of Seville in Spain near a place called Sanlúcar la Mayor. It works, as most will know, by reflecting solar power onto water in a central tower to heat oil which in turn heats water to produce steam which drives a conventional steam turbine. (simplistically it is effectively a coal fired power station with the boiler heated by sunlight instead of coal or gas). Currently the plant uses natural gas to top up its production. However it is hoped eventually to turn this type of  plant into a pure solar producer with a high capacity factor by utilising phase-change materials to store energy for use at night.

The plant looks very impressive from nearby. The tall tower has been likened to ” some sort of Easter Island / Sun God talking to its flock of reflector beings on the ground!”

Pictures by Dr David Toke Birmingham University.