Zurich, Switzerland - Europe’s first large-scale solar energy plant – the 100 megawatt Andasol I and 2 in the Sierra Nevada of southern Spain – opens up a new era in renewable emissions-free power generation. ABB’s market-leading and award-winning Extended Automation System 800xA will control this innovative new process.
Currently under construction in one of the sunniest parts of Spain – the desert-like heights of the Sierra Nevada in Andalusia – Andasol will be the largest solar energy plant in Europe, and one of the largest in the world, when completed in 2009. It will also be Europe's first parabolic trough power plant.
Andasol 1 and 2 will each generate 50 megawatts of emissions-free electricity using innovative technology that captures and concentrates sunlight in two vast solar fields of trough-shaped parabolic mirrors. The technology converts the solar radiation into heat, which is pumped to adjacent power plants where it generates electric power from steam turbines.
Parabolic trough power plants use concentrated sunlight in place of fossil fuels to generate heat and steam to drive turbines and create electricity in a conventional thermal power plant. A large field of parabolic trough mirrors track the sun and concentrate solar radiation on a collector tube installed at the focus of the mirror. Heat transfer fluid passing through the collector tube is heated to temperatures high enough to generate steam.
Both power plants will be controlled by ABB’s Extended Automation System 800xA and ABB Power Generation Portal™ software. The power generated at the plants will be delivered to the local grid via ABB power transformers and substation equipment.
Andasol I and 2 will produce about 350 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power 100,000 Spanish households, and displace 345,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
Each power plant will have its own 200 hectare solar field containing 624 parabolic troughs arranged in 156 loops. The fields produce up to twice the thermal energy that can be absorbed by the plants’ steam turbines. The excess energy is stored in liquid salt tanks for up to seven hours, thereby ensuring a continuous and stable supply of electric power to the grid.
ABB has unrivalled expertise in supplying distributed control systems for power generation technologies – from conventional coal- or gas-fired plants to renewable technologies like solar energy.
With more than 3,300 installations worldwide, System 800xA provides customers in all industries with unprecedented information access and powerful control capabilities, and Power generation Portal is one of the most widely used information platforms in the world with an installed base of more than 1,000 systems.
Andasol will be the second solar energy plant in the world to use parabolic troughs to capture solar radiation and generate electricity on a commercial scale (the first is the 64 MW Nevada Solar One in the United States).
System 800xA extends the scope of traditional control systems to include all automation functions in a single operations and engineering environment so that plants/mills can run smarter and better at substantial cost savings. Its reach extends well beyond the realm of essential process control to production management, safety, smart instrumentation, smart drives and motor control, information management, asset optimization, simulation, and documentation. System 800xA’s unique engineering environment manages one set of consistent data, for single-point entry, single-point change, and re-use across the plant. Control Engineering magazine selected System 800xA Extended Automation to receive an Editors’ Choice Award as one of the best products introduced in 2004.
SOURCE: ABB Measurement & Analytics