CSP Today Awards 2010 single out the industry?s finest

Abengoa, ACS Cobra, SkyFuel, Cargo Power & Infrastructure, Foster Wheeler, Abener Teyma, and Schubert & Salzer take the spotlight at CSP Today’s International Industry Awards 2010 in Seville, Spain.

CSP Today has been on a mission to flush out the CSP industry leaders of 2010. The winners of the CSP Today International Awards 2010 were announced during this week’s International Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Summit in Seville, which drew 650 industry delegates from around the globe to share innovative ideas on how to drive CSP technologies toward cost competitiveness.

The awards ceremony was staged throughout a gala dinner that capped off Day 2 of the 3-day summit and workshop. A jury of renowned industry experts selected 21 finalists across seven individual categories prior to the event, and the winners were then selected by a popular vote during the course of the summit.

2010 proved to be a defining year for SkyFuel, which walked away with the CSP Commercialized Technology Innovation of the Year award. “We truly have an innovative product that provides a step-change for existing parabolic trough designs. It lowers the cost by between 25-30% of existing parabolic troughs, which is what the CSP industry needs,” said Kelly Beninga, SkyFuel’s chief commercialization officer.

In early November SkyFuel announced that it had achieved a significant milestone when its ReflecTech mirror film used in its proprietary parabolic trough surpassed the 20-year weathering mark, demonstrating the product’s long-term UV durability. The tests carried out in the US DoE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s ultra accelerated weathering station, are on-going, and will reach the 25-year mark in February.

In August this year the company announced that it’s parabolic trough, the SkyTrough, also performed well in NREL tests, confirming that SkyFuel’s solar concentrator had met the highest standard for efficiency in its class.

In a separate category, ACS Cobra took the award for Increased Dispatchability Solution of the Year. Collecting the award on behalf of ACS Cobra, Alberto Rodriguez Rochas couldn’t have been more spot on when he described his company as the “pioneer in dispatchable solar energy.”

ACS Cobra opened a new chapter for CSP technology when it enabled dispatchable solar thermal power through heat storage technology using molten salts. Andasol 1 was the first plant in the world to be constructed with a two-tank indirect thermal storage system, which holds 28,500 tons of molten salt. The heat reservoir can run the turbine for up to 7.5 hours at full load. Andasol 2 similarly has thermal storage capacity, as will Andasol 3. Andasol-1 and 2 were developed, constructed and are currently in commercial operation by ACS-Cobra Energy.

Abengoa Solar took this year’s Emerging Markets Achievement award. In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Abengoa Solar will work alongside Total and Masdar to implement, own, and operate a 100MW CSP plant, called Shams 1, on which construction began in July 2010.

Dr Michael Geyer, Abengoa Solar’s director of International Development, highlighted the immense potential of building large-scale solar plants in the Middle East, a region that offers both an unlimited solar resource and infinite site locations for implementation of solar plants in its deserts.

‘Together with our project partners Masdar and Total we are proud to realize today with the 100MW Shams-1 project the largest commercial solar thermal power plant in Middle East as a first step to tap the immense solar resource of the deserts and to contribute in a sustainable way to the coverage of the region’s accelerated growth in electrical power demand,” he said.

Dr Geyer, who collected the award on behalf of Abengoa, also collected a CSP Today Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the concentrated solar power sector.

‘When I started working in this field in 1981 as a researcher, concentrated solar power was pure science fiction. Today almost 30 years later, our vision of concentrating solar power to generate clean, sustainable and dispatchable electricity has been brought to market reality by the research, investor, developer and industry colleagues gathered here at the CSP Today Conference,’ said Dr Geyer.

‘We have finally advanced solar thermal technology from ‘Power Point’ to ‘Power Plant’. For me all this has begun at the Plataforma Solar de Almeria, where we developed in Spanish German partnership some of the most successful CSP technologies like the EuroTrough. The future of Concentrating Solar Power has just started,’ he told CSP Today, following the awards.

The Newcomer of the Year Award went to Indian power company Cargo Power & Infrastructure. The company has already signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Gujarat utility Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) for 25 mw of solar thermal power, with a view to scaling up the plant to 50MW within three years. Separately, work is due to begin imminently on a pilot project of 1MW, which will also use concentrating solar power (CSP) technology.

The CSP Technology Supplier of 2010 Award went to Schubert & Salzer, which supplies valves to Spain’s CSP sector. For the leading supplier of valve technology in Spain, the CSP sector currently represents 40% of Schubert & Salzer’s portfolio. Why did the company qualify as the best? “We have garnered significant experience in the projects that we participated in to date – we have supplied virtually all the CSP plants in Spain so far,” says Francisco Bort, Schubert & Salzer’s managing director.

The EPC Contractor of the Year award went to the Abener Teyma consortium. The consortium was awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the 100 MW Shams power plant in May 2010 following an international tender floated by Masdar. Abener and Teyma will jointly execute the project with a 50% stake each in the consortium. Abener and Teyma are also the EPC contractors for the Ain-Beni-Mathar and Hassi R’Mel projects in the Maghreb. Both companies are subsidiaries of Abeinsa, the engineering and industrial construction arm of the Abengoa business group.

Foster Wheeler walked away with this year’s CSP Engineering Firm of the Year award. “We are one of the largest engineering companies in the world. Right now, we provide solar steam generation systems for the CSP industry the world over. We believe our experience provides a huge advantage to the solar market. In 2010 we did a great job in improving our technology for the CSP market, so we think we fully deserve this award,” said Marco Gonzalea Moreno, who collected the award on behalf of Foster Wheeler.

With 2011 pegged to be the ‘make or break’ year for CSP technology, CSP industry players will be working harder than ever to drive down costs as new projects continue to break ground. The next CSP Today Awards will take place at CSP Today USA in June 2011, and will single out those players that have best adapted to the challenges of breaking these new technologies into the mainstream.