Solar technology company Abengoa Solar announced this week that their second solar tower in Seville, Spain, PS20, has begun commercial production with the capacity to power 10,000 homes, which will prevent 12,000 tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
The solar power tower plant works through a field of 1255 heliostats, which are mirrored surfaces that can be turned to the direction of the sun’s rays, that reflect and focus the sun’s energy on a receiver mounted on a central tower. The radiation heats water or molten salts, which then produces steam that in turn powers a turbine affixed to a generator. The power could be stored in molten salt storage tanks, a further technology that Abengoa Solar are currently working on. This would then enable power to be supplied during the night and during cloudy weather.
The tower, which is situated at the Solúcar Platform near Seville, is Abengoa Solar’s second tower power plant, and is twice the size of their first plant, PS10, and displays many developments from the original tower, including improvements to the systems and controls that run the plant and a more efficient receiver. In addition, the thermal energy storage system has been upgraded.
During the three-day operational and production testing period, the tower exceeded power output expectations, testament to the efficient design and potential for this and similar solar developments. Abengoa Solar’s CEO, Santiago Seage, commented,
“Generating more power during production testing than the design output is indeed a significant milestone. The technological breakthroughs we have achieved, coupled with our cumulative expertise, have enabled us to take a qualitative leap forward in our power tower technology.”