Producing Super Heated Steam with Solar Thermal Technology

solar steam

Novatec Solar has further developed the design of its receiver and can now use solar thermal technology to produce superheated steam with a temperature of over 500 °C.

To do this, Novatec uses a linear Fresnel collector to focus the sunlight onto vacuum-insulated receiver tubes. These contain water, which is heated and vaporized using the solar energy. The development to these higher temperatures was mainly motivated by the resulting gain in efficiency of the electricity generation: “Through the use of superheated steam, standard turbines with a high efficiency can now be used”, explains Martin Selig, Board Member for Market and Product Development at Novatec Solar. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) will carry out performance tests on the superheating equipment. The results will then form the basis for future CSP projects using superheated steam.

In March 2009, Novatec put its first commercial power station Puerto Errado 1 into operation with 1.4 MW of electrical capacity. The company is currently building its second project, Puerto Errado 2, which will have a capacity of 30 MW.

Both power stations, however, still work with significantly lower temperatures. In Australia, the company has recently gained a contract for a solar field that will be attached to an existing coal-fired power station. This will not make the power station CO2-neutral, but will reduce its fossil fuel requirement.

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