Largest solar plant in the world: how it works, where it is, costs of thermodynamic solar energy and all useful information.
Largest solar plant in the world, where it is located
L'thermodynamic solar system largest in the world is located in Sahara desert, near the city of Ouarzazate (which means Gate of the desert). His name isNoor 1.
The noor 1and thelargest thermodynamic solar power plant in the world. It covers an area of 1.4 square km and is part of an even larger project. The plant is the size of 200 football fields and provides clean electricity to around one million people.
The construction of thelargest solar plant in the world it began in 2013 in the presence of the king of Morocco Mohammed VI. The final project, in addition to the Noor 1, provides for two other plants; while the Noor 1 is already in operation, the installation of the Noor 2, similar to the first one, and the Noor 3 which will collect the solar heat reflected by the mirrors in a tower are expected. It is a more efficient system similar to the Spanish solar tower which became operational in 2014.
How the Noor thermodynamic solar system works
The plant is equipped with hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus. The big ones parabolic mirrorsthey are arranged in neat rows.
The plant uses three different technologies ofsolar thermodynamic, each with its production capacity:
- a 160 MW concentrating solar system;
- a 300 MW solar thermodynamic system with parabolic mirrors;
- a series of parabolic cylinder collectors with a total of 150 MW.
Unlike what happens in solar photovoltaics, in one solar thermal power plant (or concentration), the electrical production does not take place directly through silicon cells. Electric current is generated using heat and not solar radiation itself.
With the thermodynamic solar energy is stored in the form of heat. Heat is used to heat a fluid and produce steam. The steam drives a mechanical turbine which in turn is connected to an electric generator.
Paradoxically, thermodynamic solar energy, due to its electrical production mechanism, can be compared more to wind energy than to photovoltaic solar energy!
Mirrors, just like huge sunflowers, move to follow the sun and channel the heat towards a absorber. Fluid flows in the absorber capable of reaching 350 ° C and releasing the accumulated heat to generate heat. The mirrors move thanks to an intelligent heliostat or solar tracker.
To maximize the accumulation of heat, the mirrors move and direct the solar energy towards the tubes in which the fluid flows. The excess amount of heat absorbed by the fluid is stored in a salt reservoir in the molten state.
The molten salt becomes a sort of energy reservoir, an accumulator of potential energy to be used to generate electric current even after sunset. Thanks to the molten salt, it is possible to produce electricity continuously up to eight hours after sunset.
Largest solar plant in the world, cost
With the end of the project and the completion of the three plants Noor 1, Noor 2 and Noor 3, Morocco wants to free itself from the import of fossil fuels. The goal is to obtain 52% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The plant was 60% funded by the European Union. Noor 1 has already exceeded expectations in terms of energy produced and bodes well for the use - in the future - of the electricity surplus in Europe. Morocco is the only African country to have a direct power line with the Old Continent.
Clean electricity of origin thermodynamics it is still a relatively expensive product, certainly a higher cost than the energy produced in wind farms.
While the wind farms installed in a favorable position produce electricity at 5-8 euro cents per kilowatt (a cost not much higher than that of electricity produced by a modern coal plant), the electricity of a thermodynamic power plantit still costs between 16 and 22.5 cents per kilowatt produced.
Thanks to the advancement of technologies, an imminent change of course is also expected in thermodynamic systemswith low-cost electricity generation. In fact, in the long term, there is no more convenient and sustainable source of energy than the Sun. The total cost of the project is estimated at around 9 billion dollars.