Ripasso Energy, a solar technology provider based in Sweden, has commissioned the first units of their Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) installation in Upington, South Africa.
The technology is based on parabolic mirrors and Stirling Power Converters (SPC). During the initial operation a new solar-to-grid-quality-electricity efficiency world record of 32 % has been achieved.
This means that about one third of the solar energy is directly converted to three phase electricity ready to use. This record was reached at an ambient temperature of above 28oC which verifies the unique properties of the Ripasso Energy Stirling Dish technology especially for arid and hot climate in the “sun belt” with large solar energy resources in desert areas within reach for many Asian, African and South American countries as well as in parts of Australia and USA.
“This is a breakthrough for cost efficient and robust CSP technology and an important step towards a clean energy sustainable future”, says Gunnar Larsson, Managing Director for Ripasso Energy.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently released World Energy Outlook 2012 concluding that the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path. The need for electricity in emerging economies drives the increase in worldwide energy demand and 1.3 billion people still lack electricity. The report mentions some of the symptoms that fossil fuel subsides are increasing at the same time as CO2 emissions are at record high while the renewable industry is under strain.
The IEA report finally concluded that water needs for energy production are set to grow at twice the rate of energy demand. A report from the World Bank, “Turn down the heat”, released on Nov 18, 2012 gives more reasons – “Why a 4oC Warmer World Must be Avoided.”
The Ripasso Energy CSP technology now demonstrated in Upington arid environment with record high efficiency and low water use may therefore offer new options to deal with the challenges mentioned by IEA and the World Bank. Catching the solar energy in the desert and directly converting it to electricity instead of burning fossil fuel is a sustainable solution. The Stirling engine used by Ripsso Energy is based on a license from Kockums and has for many years used in Swedish submarines to generate electricity.
Gunnar Larsson, the director of Ripasso Energy and earlier with Kockums summarizes; “The interdisciplinary cross breeding of Stirling Engine submarine technology for an arid desert has given us a feasible and robust solution for clean energy, in the parts of the world which really needs it now.”