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March Chementator Briefs

By Gerald Ondrey |

Solar thermal power The first solar-thermal power plant in Southeast Asia fed its full output of 5 MW into Thailand’s public grid for the first time late January. The facility — designed and built by Solarite GmbH (Duckwitz, Germany; www.solarlite.de) — is also the first commercial solar-thermal plant to produce steam directly from water, thereby eliminating the need for heat-transfer fluids and heat exchangers. Water flows through absorber tubes at the focal line of parabolic troughs, which collect the radiation and generate steam (at 330°C and 30 bars) for running the turbine. Solarite uses a combination of recirculation and injection technology to maintain a stable temperature and pressure. Compared to the 395°C limit for thermal oils, the direct-steam-generation technology allows, in principle, higher operating temperatures of 500°C, which lead to a corresponding increase in plant efficiency, says the company, which notes that the plants are 25% more efficient than photovoltaic power plants. A second power plant is under development — TSE2 — that will operate at 400°C and 40 bars pressure. The technology was developed and pilot-tested with cooperation from the German Aerospace Center…
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