"We are delighted at being voted CSP Technology Supplier of the Year; this honor clearly underscores our high standard for quality at SCHOTT Solar. In addition, this honor once again confirms that the market views us as an innovative force in the area of receiver technology," commented Christoph Fark, Managing Director of SCHOTT Solar CSP.
The receiver – the heart of a solar power plant
Vacuum-insulated receivers in CSP power plants convert the concentrated rays of the sun into heat that is used initially to produce steam and then to generate electricity inside a steam turbine. The question of how much solar radiation the receivers are able to convert into heat plays a key role in the efficiency of these systems. Thanks to a new coating, SCHOTT Solar has now managed to increase the degree of absorption to over 95.5 percent. At the same time, thermal radiation has been reduced to less than 9.5 percent. A further increase in absorption capacity was achieved by designing the ends of the receivers in a new way and expanding the active surface to 96.7 percent of the entire length, but also by using optional new reflectors on the ends of the receivers.
Besides performance, the durability of receivers is also of immense importance to the economic success of a solar thermal power plant. SCHOTT Solar developed noble gas capsules that can be integrated into the vacuum area of the receivers and be opened at any time later on during operation of the power plant as a way of reducing heat losses even after many years of operation. The noble gas helps keep heat losses permanently low and allows for the receivers to continue operating at high efficiency levels.
"Solar power can be generated even more economically in the future thanks to our new generation of receivers. By again contributing to lower costs of this core technology, we will also be able to ensure the continued growth of this important industry. Today, CSP power plants already offer a genuine alternative to conventional fossil fuel-based power plants," Fark explains.
CSP technology will also be used in the "Power From the Desert" project Desertec. The goal of the industrial initiative Dii is to cover around 20 percent of Europe’s electrical power needs by the year 2050 by relying on imports from North Africa. This would enable Europe to lower its electricity costs by about 40 percent. The very first wind and solar power plants with 250 megawatts of power in total are scheduled to be built soon in Morocco and should begin supplying power starting in 2014.