Receiver installed on world's tallest CSP tower; China completes first Fresnel plant with salt storage

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Dubai's Noor Energy 1 project features the world's tallest CSP tower and 600 MW of parabolic trough capacity. (Image credit: Shanghai Electric)

CSP receiver installed at Noor Energy 1 in Dubai

Shanghai Electric and partners have installed the CSP tower receiver at the Noor Energy 1 plant in Dubai, the Chinese company said June 25.

The 40-meter receiver increases the height of the tower to 262 m, making it the highest CSP tower in the world.

Developed by Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power, the $4.4 billion Noor Energy 1 project will be the world's largest CSP plant and includes a 100 MW CSP tower plant, three 200 MW parabolic trough CSP systems, 250 MW of PV capacity and 15 hours of molten salt CSP storage capacity. Shanghai Electric is the lead construction company while the main components are being supplied by European and US firms, some using Chinese facilities.

The Dubai Electricity Water Authority (DEWA) awarded the Noor Energy 1 project in 2017 at a record-low tariff of $73/MWh. DEWA is the power offtaker and acquired a 50% stake in the project.

   CSP levelized cost and auction price trends

                                (Click image to enlarge)

Source: International Renewable Energy Agency's 'Renewable Power Generation Costs 2019' report (June 2020).

The installation of the receiver is a key project milestone and comes six months after the tower was completed. Construction partners resumed installation of major components in the spring, following some disruption due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Construction advanced ahead of schedule last year and suppliers are managing cost and logistics challenges to ensure the project can meet its commissioning deadlines, project partners told New Reuters Events in April.

The first parabolic trough section is due to start commercial operation in August 2021, followed by the CSP tower plant in November 2021. The second and third parabolic trough sections are due online by April 2022 and December 2022.

China brings online first Fresnel plant with molten salt storage

China has started commercial operation of the world's first Fresnel CSP plant with molten salt thermal energy storage, industry group China Solar Thermal Alliance (CSTA) said in a statement.

The 50 MW Dunhuang Dacheng plant uses molten salt as the heat transfer fluid (HTF) and storage medium and the solar collector field attains an output temperature of over 535° C, CSTA said.

Higher temperatures can increase system efficiency but fluctuations can hamper performance and degrade components.

"The temperature difference deviation of the molten salt of each solar collector loop can be controlled within 5%," CSTA said.

Zhongnan Engineering Corporation Limited led the construction and partners included Lanzhou Dacheng Technology Company and PowerChina Sepco 1 Electric Power Construction.

The plant was first connected to the grid in December and has since advanced through the commissioning phase. Power generation was achieved 18 days after hot molten salt flows were established and commercial operations started June 19.

Reuters Events