Located in the Andalucia region of Spain, a 19.9 megawatt Gemasolar power plant uses seven Flowserve vertical turbine pumps (VTPs) to collect solar energy. This power plant is unlike any other – it is the world’s first commercial concentrated solar power (CSP) plant that uses molten salt as the heat transfer fluid.
With the innovative use of molten salt, electricity can be generated 24 hours a day for months at a time. In addition, the plant utilizes a central tower receiver with thermal storage capabilities allowing for energy production for up to 15 hours without sunlight. For residents in this region of Spain, this means the cutting-edge power plant is not only breaking barriers of technology in their backyard, but it also helps support the region’s power supply by supplying electricity to 25,000 nearby homes.
Similar to other solar power plants, the Gemasolar plant incorporates 2,650 large, sun-tracking heliostats (mirrors) to focus sunlight on the top of a centrally-located tower. The solar energy heats molten salt in excess of 500°C (932°F). When combined with high pressure, the molten salt produces super-heated steam, increasing the plant’s efficiency.
At the heart of the CSP plant are seven Flowserve VTP pumps specially engineered to handle the extreme temperatures. Flowserve dry gas fluid sealing systems are used to ensure the molten salt. Additionally, low pump submergence allows the liquid level to be drawn down farther in the storage tanks for greater energy generation. In the future, this power plant (or all power plants of this kind?) is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30,000 tons annually.
At the end of the day, Flowserve systems are integral in operation of this unique power plant that is not only breaking the barriers of technology, but is also forging a new path for energy production in a world looking for better, more efficient, environmentally-friendly energy solutions.
To read more about this story, please visit the press release on Flowserve.com.