SENER was honored with the Sustainable Development Process award for its Gemasolar solar plant, the first plant in the world to use central tower receptor technology and a molten salt storage system. The facility is currently the world’s most innovative plant in commercial operation. The engineering and technology group, SENER, shares ownership of the plant through Torresol Energy, a company 60% owned by SENER. More significantly, it was also responsible for all of the project’s technological innovations and engineering. It also supervised the construction, commissioning and start-up of the plant.
As Sendagorta pointed out when Gemasolar was launched: "Over the last decade SENER has made an enormous intellectual and economic effort to the advance and commercial deployment of the thermoelectric generation from concentrated solar power. An effort that has given its results, as we have materialized three important contributions to the development of this technology, the thermal storage, that improves drastically the plant availability and makes it possible to generate power even when there is no sunshine; the thermoelectric efficiency increase, with receivers that operate at very high temperatures; and the cost reduction with industrialized designs and processes. All these innovations are particularly demonstrated in this plant, Gemasolar".
These efforts have been recognized with numerous prizes, including today’s award, the European Business Award for the Environment in the Spanish Division. These awards are handed out biennially by the Environment Directorate General of the European Commission with the goal of publicly recognizing policies, practices, processes and products in all business sectors throughout the European Union that help advance economic and social development while not being detrimental to the environment or natural reserves, and whose quality is dependent upon development and continued human activity.
There were a total of 112 candidates for the Spanish Division of these awards, of which 12 came out winners. SENER won previously the Basque Division of the same award. Likewise, the winners from Spain will move on to the European final, the winners of which will be announced next May.
In the renewable energy sector, SENER is currently the worldwide leader in thermosolar technology – both for its technological developments and the sheer number of projects in its portfolio. To date, SENER has participated in 24 solar power plants in Spain, the US and India, representing 1500 MW of power either installed or in construction, and effectively saving 1,000,000 tons of CO2 from being dumped into the atmosphere every year.