The Archetype project, coordinated by Enel Green Power and has been given EU funding through its Seventh Framework Programme, will see employment on an industrial scale the technology used at Enel’s Archimede plant
The Archetype project, coordinated by Enel Green Power and has been given EU funding through its Seventh Framework Programme, will see employment on an industrial scale the technology used at Enel’s Archimede plant.
Solar power is going to be of high importance for the future of low-carbon economies, with concentrated solar power (CSP), a solar power source that can also produce at night, offering particularly good prospects for growth. The Enel Group has been aware of its importance for a considerable amount of time, and is engaged in both research and the development of prototypes.
An example of this is Archetype, which is being coordinated by Enel Green Power and has been given EU funding through its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Its aim is to build a 30 megawatt CSP plant that is integrated into a desalination and biomass facility.
Archetype will employ on an industrial scale the technology that Enel used for its Archimede plant in Priolo Gargallo near Syracuse, where a gas combined cycle and CSP plant were integrated for the first time. At Priolo Gargallo, some 30,000 square metres of parabolic mirrors concentrate the Sun’s rays on a molten salt mixture that stores heat which then produces the steam needed to power the plant’s turbines. Thanks to two molten salt thermal storage tanks, energy can also be generated at night or when it’s not sunny, lessening the problem of intermittency that affects renewable energy production.
Enel’s work in CSP through 2012 included the creation of a testing circuit for salts with a low melting temperature of between 80-140°C, whose purpose is to assess the plant’s performance and the reliability of its key components, as well as the efficiency of its management.
Meanwhile, at Enel’s laboratories in Catania in Sicily the experimental characterisation of a CSP plant that can both produce electricity by using a free piston Stirling engine and use heat to warm up water for sanitary purposes.