First CSP-biomass hybrid plant worldwide commences operation

In December 2012 the first CSP-biomass hybrid plant, Termosolar Borges, commenced operation near Lleida, Spain [1], see Figure 1. Termosolar Borges, the most northern CST plant in Spain, has a peak capacity of 22.5MW with up to 12MWe from biomass [2]. The facility is a 150m Euro investment [2] and uses parabolic troughs with thermal oil as the CST component while the biomass component consists of two grate type boilers/heaters, see Figure 2.

 

Both biomass boilers/heaters are integrated into the thermal oil loop of the parabolic trough system; gas firing is available for back-up [2]. The solar field generates saturated steam at 40bar and the biomass boilers superheat this steam to 520°C [2]. The plant will create 30 direct and 150 indirect jobs over its 25 year lifetime [3].

CSP-biomass hybrids have potential as an alternative to thermal energy storage in locations where long hours of power generation are required, and to ensure consistency of energy supply for industrial processes and power generation. Hybridisation can reduce CST cost by making greater use turbine and generator plant which is a large portion of CST plant cost, and the use of biomass can also deliver economic and employment benefits in local economies. While CSP-biomass hybrids have been investigated since the mid 1980's, Termosolar Borges is the first plant to prove the benefits at scale.

Termosolar Borges is located 150km west of Barcelona, in a region rich in agriculture and horticulture providing a supply of biomass resource, and with a high quality solar resource. Similar regional conditions exist in many areas of Australia.

The potential for CSP-biomass hybrids is the subject of a research program at the University of Technology Sydney seeking to identify ideal sites and to define optimal CSP-biomass plant configurations. This research will contribute to a better understanding in Australia of how CST can deliver economic value and large-scale, dispatchable renewable energy generation in Australia's 21st century energy market

Figure 1: Termosolar Borges CSP-Biomass plant: Parabolic trough arrays in the foreground with biomass plant in the background

Figure 2: Biomass boiler systems including flue gas cleaning

 

References

[1] CSP World, “World’s first hybrid CSP-Biomass plant comes on-line,” CSP World, 2012. [Online]. Available: http://www.csp-world.com/news/20121213/00652/worlds-first-hybrid-csp-biomass-plant-comes-line. [Accessed: 07-Feb-2013].

[2] D. Morell, “CSP BORGES The World’s First CSP plant hybridized with biomass,” in CSP TODAY 2012, 2012.

[3] Comsa Emte and Abantia, “Abantia and Comsa Emte will create the world’s first power plant which combines solar thermal and biomass energy,” 2011. [Online]. Available: http://www.comsaemte.com. [Accessed: 07-Feb-2013].

 

 

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