Concentrated Solar Power

Spain - Andalusia

Controlling heat loss

Spain - Andalusia

There is a growing global awareness that sustainable sources of energy are essential. Renewable energy sources are best and for the past 2 years Microtherm has been increasingly active in Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), arguably the most attractive of all available sources because of the unlimited solar energy reserves available in the sunny regions of the world.

The principle of CSP is very simple. Solar energy is collected by means of a system that focuses and concentrates the thermal energy onto a receiver where it can be collected and transferred for use, usually by conversion for steam turbine generation of electricity.

The two CSP systems of most interest for the use of Microtherm® are the “parabolic trough” system and the “solar tower”.

The Lebrija solar trough plant is located near Seville in Andalusia, Spain. The solar area covers around 400,000 m2 with 756 Solar Collector Assemblies (SCAs), each of which has 8 solar collectors. Each collector is a linear parabolic refl ector that focuses the sun’s radiation onto a receiver pipe positioned at the focus of the parabola. It swivels on the N-S axis to enable it  to follow the path of the sun. Because of this movement, a special swiveling ball joint assembly (BJA) is necessary in the piping outfeed system. Total refl ector length is around 60 km.

Using oil as a heat transfer fl uid (HTF), the solar field outlet temperature is around 395°C. For optimised effi ciency and electricity output, temperature control is critical, keeping heat losses to an absolute minimum. Microtherm® is the preferred insulation.

Microtherm® Moulded Pipe Section and flexible panel are used in innovative jacket systems allowing BJA rotation while controlling heat loss. The insulation is quickly demountable for routine maintenance inspections, it will not constitute a fi re risk in the event of HTF leakage and it will not degrade with time.

The “solar tower” system of collection is slightly different. The Gemasolar tower receiver plant is also located in Andalusia. The solar collection area of this plant covers around 320,000 m2 and comprises of 2,650 heliostats that are built around a central tower, 150 m high. Heliostats are curved refl ectors that focus the sun’s energy onto a receiver at the top of the tower. The temperature in the receiver can easily reach 1000°C and the receiver outlet temperature is typically 565°C.

Microtherm® is the most compact and thermally effi cient insulation for both volumetric and cylindrical receivers. Distribution pipework is insulated with Microtherm® MPS or Flexible Panel. Microtherm will continue to develop its strong market position in Spain as well as focusing on expanding business in the USA, the MENA region, India, and SE Asia.


Microtherm® Moulded Pipe Section