REP solar sales will increase the efficiency of thermosolar plants up to 50%

Pie de photo: A REP researcher realizes a sales mix. Credit: REP.

Thermal solar energy, or thermosolar, has a great advantage over other solar technologies: puede producir electricity de noche. To achieve this, he uses a system of molten salt that stores heat throughout the day and allows him to continue generating electricity when the sun falls. The problem is that it is still a very expensive technology that cannot compete with the costs of carbon and gas power plants.

Para reducir sus costes, la spin-off Renewable Energy and Processes (REP), formed by chemical and industrial engineers linked to the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (España), has designed new sales formulations for estas centrales. The composition of its Solar Sales, as the team has denominated them, reduce the cost of generation de la solar thermal al menos a la mitad.

The capacity of solar cells to generate electricity during the night derives from the structure of the installation itself. Existen varios tipos de plantas de energía solar thermal; The towers are made up of a series of mirrors, called heliostats, which concentrate solar radiation in a central tower that contains salt and heats them until they melt at 550 ᵒC. The great innovation that brings sales solares de REP es que pueden alcanzar A temperature of 720 ᵒC. Para conseguirlo has developed one technique of nanofluidswhose essence is kept secret by being protected by a patent.

To achieve energy generation through thermosolar technology, during the day, the fluid composed of molten salts has two main missions. One part leads to a heat exchanger that generates water vapor mover una turbine y produce electricity. The other one is transported to a warehouse where the sales are maintained at a high temperature. At the moment when the Sun is hidden, the bypass of the central tower is closed and the deposit where the sales are stored is opened to take them to the exchanger so that the turbine continues to operate. Once cooled, the sales are taken to another deposit until dawn and the cycle restarts.

El aumento de temperatura achieved by REP hace que “se pueda”. generate vapor more hot y usar turbinas a major presión, lo que dobla la eficiencia del proceso”, explained Javier Pérez Trujillo, director general of the spin-off. De esta manera, “se pasa.” from the actual efficiency of 22% to one of casi el 50% en las plantas”, indicates.

Además, las de REP sales aportan otras vantageas. “Current plants are designed to use very high purity sales, but the reality is that the ones that are used are finally industrial sales with impurities in chlorides and sulfurs”, indicates Pérez Trujillo. Estas impurezas provocan la corrosión de materiales, algo que su equipo ha tenido en cuenta para formular unas sales menos corrosivas.

Another problem with thermal solar plants is that, although it is a renewable technology, the process of fusion of the sales generates emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). This group of chemical compounds se consider contaminantes Atmosféricos y son judiciales para la salud y el entorno. “The environmental agencies are starting to ask for records of these emissions”, indicates Pérez Trujillo.

Por ello, las sales de REP no sólo producen menos NOxsegún affirma su director general, sino que la empresa ofrecará a contaminant measurement service y corrosión para que los operators manage mejor los desperfectos y puedan offer real data to las agencias. “It functions in a similar way to pollution meters in cities and allows the registration of pollution and defects in different points of the plant”, he explains.

This innovative formula has served REP to be selected in the third round of the Fundación de Emprendedores de Fundación Repsol. The first laboratory tests have produced positive results and Pérez Trujillo hopes that his solar sales will begin to be tested in plants at the beginning of 2017 and will be commercialized at the end of that year.

The first results of these tests reveal that REP solar sales can be reached un precio de operación competitivo in the electrical market. “The reduction in the price of kWh should give the impulse that solar thermal energy needs”, explained Pérez Trujillo. In 2014, this technology covered 2% of the electrical demand in Spain, according to data from Red Eléctrica de España.

Solar sales of REP can become the element that needs solar thermal energy to find its niche in the market. Ya ha arado el reto de producir electricity de noche, ahora le falta alcanzar la eficiencia que le permite ser relatable. An efficiency that REP can help achieve.

With the collaboration of Fundación Repsol

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