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The next generation of Hybrid Concentrating Solar Power Plants

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TENCENT (The next generation of Hybrid Concentrating Solar Power Plants)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2015-10-31

The objective of TENCENT is the finalisation of the technology demonstrated in the 50kW demo plant prior to commercialisation (i.e. technology enhancements and integration into a commercial Hybrid CSP Pilot Plant of 1.5MW). The CSP market has an increasing demand with the current 4.5 GW installed worldwide being forecasted by 2030 to turn into about 1000 GW. Emerging markets need a great supply of clean energy and the regions where the direct sun radiation is strong and skies clear enough (Southern Europe, US, Australia, China, India, MENA and South Africa).
CSP has several limitations to be a mainstream source of energy: 1.Limited supply of energy on demand (dispatchability); 2.Fluctuating Solar Energy Supply depending on the irradiation of the sun; 3.The existing Heat Transfer Fluids (HTF) (synthetic oil or molten salt) are expensive and inefficient, limited by the temperatures they can operate at; 4.Integration between the different parts of the power plants is complex (e.g. between the solar part and power part); 5.High cost storage per stored KWh and 6.A low Solar Power Factor. These limitations increase the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), making CSP uncompetitive. Traditionally CSP plants are big in size (>100MW) on account of decreasing EPC costs and become somehow profitable (with financial support to renewables from specific countries). TENCENT is the key technology for all-size of CSP plants starting from 10 MW allowing a 40-50% cost reduction per kWh produced as compared to current CSP technologies.
TENCENT is based on BE’s bCell™ technology, developed in the demo plant of 50kW. Its main subsystems have already been demonstrated, including the Energy Center (a multifunctional Heat Storage & Steam Generator). Each component of the bCell™ technology has been separately tested for its functionality, operation and performance. The site demonstrates the operation and the overall performance through a steady supply of steam in a maximum flexibility, using the central control system. According to our financial and engineering models based on real data from the existing demo plant, TENCENT makes possible the grid parity of CSP technologies achieving a price of 10 c€/kWh produced in plants over 10 MW and above. In view of the improvements in efficiency, dispatchability, hybridization, modularity and the reduction of O&M costs and initial investment, our technology can reach a market segment (below 20MW) that current CSP technologies are not competitive at.
The technical, financial and commercial activities required to execute this project and scale the system up and get it ready to market have been structured into a project execution plan. The technical section includes the description of the technology that will be used in the pilot plant and its specifications; definition of the operational and implementation requirements; schedule for its development and industrial testing to validate the results; evaluation of the planning and costs; and execution of a technical risk assessment in order to define a mitigation and contingency plan.
The financial viability of the project has been evaluated by a definition of the business model and pricing, projection of annual revenues/costs/profitability expected and total investment required. The pertinent IP protection decisions have been established, continuing BE commitment to having a robust exploitation strategy. The commercial aspects of the feasibility of technology of TENCENT project have also included the analysis of the target markets, competitors and definition for commercialization strategy in order to reach a cumulative revenue of €2M after five years of commercialization. We have also began identifying, contacting and establishing collaborations with potential partners: developers, investors; EPC companies; engineering partners; energy performance contracting; original equipment manufacturers and independent power producers; as well as utility companies; Municipalities and Governments that promote hybrid solar power.
TENCENT project’s ambition is to optimise the solar field, the Energy Center, the Power Island design and the integration upgrade from the existing 50kW demo plant into a commercial Hybrid CSP Pilot Plant of 1.5MW in Dimona, Israel. In specific our objectives are the following: 1. Improve the collector structure of the solar field by increasing the size of the collector by 15%, its stiffness and enhance the control electronics to increase the availability of the whole plant by 1% to reach 99%. 2. Develop an in-situ cleaning system to automatise the cleaning process of the mirrors. 3. Finalise the Energy Center design so it covers the three functions as heat exchanger, steam generator and as a storage for 24 hours and prepare it for mass production and build an industrial prototype of the Energy Center to test the separate performance. 4. Optimise the charge and discharge cycle to achieve a 10 % better performance using simulation tools to determine optimal velocity of the material, the kind of isolation and distances of the pipes to each other. 5. Optimise the power island performance by 5 % using simulation tools and finalise the hybrid source integration design. 6. Analyse the water cooling configuration and enhance it to reduce the cost of cooling by 10%. 7. Up-scale the plant design from the 50kW to the 1.5 MW pilot plant and integrate all components (Solar Field, Energy Center and Power Island as well as the hybrid source). 8. Commissioning and functional testing of the plant under real conditions (connected to the grid). 9. Closing of agreements with business stakeholders in the overall TENCENT supply chain (international distributors, manufacturers and suppliers) once the solution is ready to scale up to industry. 10. Getting into contact with first clients in our immediate target markets (Europe) to ease market introduction once the TENCENT development is finished. Prepare business contacts for identified final users (EPCs, CSP plant owners and IPPs).
The TENCENT project will demonstrate the bCell™ technology realistically presents the possibility of H-CSP technologies to operate as mini-grid and off-grid solutions as well as in larger utility-sized plants.