Valve technology used within Co2 reducing solar power plants

21st October 2014
Siobhan O'Gorman

For the design of power packs being used within two large concentrated solar power plants in South Africa, Hine Renovables has chosen valve and hose technology manufactured by Eaton. Both plants produce steam which drives a turbine and generates electric power.

The first plant has a 100MW capacity and uses flat panels (heliostats) to bundle the sun’s rays and send them to a central unit. The second plant, which has a 50MW capacity, uses parabolic glasses that direct the sun’s energy into a pipeline where thermal fluid is heated. Hine Renovables plans to combine the two plants to generate a capacity of 150MW and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 500,000 tons per year.

The solar panels must be angled to the sun by a tracking system to ensure the combined system works to its maximum capacity. Incorporated in each panel and controlled by a central PLC, the tracking panel is particularly important for the overall plant performance. To ensure that the energy yield does not drop below the optimum level, the system needs to be accurate and reliable. In intervals of seconds rather than minutes, the drives must also make a huge number of very small movements.

For the solar project, Eaton provided Hine Renovables with valves, counterbalance valves and cartridge valves from it's DG series. The company have also offered it's spiral and braided hydraulic hoses, along with the WALPro solutions from it's Walterscheid system for tube fittings and connectors.

”Our experience with Eaton has been excellent with numerous projects. It made sense to turn to them again for our solar power projects,” said Lander Guibelalde, Managing Director, Hine Renovables. “Hine Renovables views Eaton as a strategic partner that can provide the necessary support with the appropriate products for the design of high-quality, long-lasting, and competitive tracking systems.”

Pedro López Jacoste, Regional Sales Manager, Eaton, commented: “The latest solar tower project is one of the biggest of its kind. Eaton is proud to apply our expertise and wide range of products to ensure performance of both projects. This project was another that demonstrates our strength of operating on a global level with a wide range of products, while working with customers where they need services and engineering support. It’s a testament to our ability to serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our customers’ demanding hydraulic applications.”

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