Eureka Solar Tower Tests Receiver in Andalusia

Abengoa Solar's first high-temperature power tower, Eureka, was unveiled June 19 by Martín Soler Márquez, director of Innovation, Science, and Enterprise for the Andalusian Regional Government. This power tower is intended to test, on an experimental basis, a new type of receiver that will achieve the higher temperatures needed for higher-efficiency thermodynamic power cycles. It is the only plant featuring these characteristics in operation in Andalusia and Europe. The aim of this new technology is to increase plant performance, thereby reducing both generating costs and the area of the solar field.

This experimental plant occupies a 16,000-square-foot portion of the Solúcar Platform and uses 35 heliostats and a 164-foot tower that houses the experimental superheating receiver. The power output capacity of the experimental plant is approximately 2 MW. The plant includes a thermal energy storage system supplying power supply to the grid for short periods when there is no sunlight.

According to Rafael Osuna, general manger of the company, "this marks the beginning of the next experimental phase for this high-potential solar power tower technology, which could lead to an important step forward in our goals of generating clean electricity at competitive prices. Our significant investment in research and development has made this groundbreaking concentrating solar power technology a reality."

Abengoa Solar now has three solar power towers in operation, two for commercial use and this experimental tower.

The new plant is part of the Solúcar Platform, a solar thermal and photovoltaic solar installation complex scheduled for completion in 2013. Thanks to its 300-megawatt power output, the plant will supply clean electricity to 153,000 households and eliminate the emission of 185,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, reaching a total of 4 million tons over the course of its useful life.

The Solúcar Platform also features a research and development area that is building several demonstration plants for new technologies. This makes the platform the only place in the world with installations employing practically every type of solar technology available, whether in commercial use or under demonstration.

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