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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Central Solar PS20 Power Plan in Seville, Spain by Energoprojekt Gliwice

 
August 8th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Bentley Systems, Incorporated

A 20-megawatt power plant near Seville, Spain, set the record as the largest commercial solar power tower in the world when it was inaugurated by the King and Queen of Spain in September 2009. Owned by Abengoa Solar, a leader in solar technology, the PS20 concentrating solar power (CSP) plant is twice the size of its predecessor (PS10), and just one of four solar plants operating on the Solucar Platform in Sanlucar la Mayor, Sevilla. Another three solar plants are under construction.

Image Courtesy Energoprojekt Gliwice

Image Courtesy Energoprojekt Gliwice

The Solucar Platform will eventually generate 300 megawatts from four types of solar energy technology: tower, trough, photovoltaic, and dish. Upon completion in 2013, the 1.2 billion euro platform will produce enough energy for 153,000 households and prevent the emission of 185,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to Abengoa Solar. The four operating plants are already delivering power to the grid under the existing feed-tariff system, helping to meet Spain’s Renewable Energy Plan target. With the commissioning of each new plant, Abengoa Solar improves the technology and reduces generating costs, making CSP an ever-more attractive alternative energy source.

Image Courtesy Energoprojekt Gliwice

Abengoa’s commercial test of CSP technology began with the 11-megawatt PS10 plant commissioned in 2007. The 80 million euro PS20 plant demonstrated that the technology could be ramped up to double the generating capacity. The 531-foot-tall PS20 tower captures sunlight reflected from 1,255 mirrored heliostats lined up like soldiers on a 235-acre solar field. Each heliostat has a 1,291-square-foot surface area to track the sun and reflect solar radiation onto a receiver atop the tower. The concentrated rays from the solar field produce steam, which is converted into electricity by a turbine.

Image Courtesy Energoprojekt Gliwice

The CSP technology was designed by Abengoa Solar, one of five Abengoa business units that apply innovative solutions for sustainable development in the infrastructure, environment, and energy sectors. PS20 improved upon the technology, with a more efficient receiver in the tower, improved operational controls, and better thermal energy storage. The plant was built by Abener—Abengoa’s engineering, procurement, and construction business unit—with front-end engineering design by Energoprojekt Gliwice (EPG).

Located in Gliwice, Poland, EPG joined the Abengoa companies in 2006 to provide technical documentation for green energy projects. EPG’s scope of work for PS20 included technical specifications for basic engineering equipment; detailed engineering for piping, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation; and engineering supervision together with Abener and Abengoa.

Image Courtesy Energoprojekt Gliwice

Engineering a power tower of this magnitude required many modifications to the PS10 design. EPG brought a fresh perspective, as PS20 was its first solar tower. “We had to improve many aspects of PS10, based on lessons learned by Abener. We had much longer steam accumulators, bigger pipe and equipment sizes, and bigger displacements, relative to the thermal expansion,” said Andrzej Kuropka, EPG CAD specialist. “For example, a five-inch thermal expansion of the steam accumulator sliding leg could cause a 20-inch displacement of the high-pressure steam pipeline at the bottom of the tower. Such situations were resolved using different materials, different construction of supports, and foundation technologies.”

EPG’s designers also had to take into account that the displacement cycle occurs twice a day, with the plant’s periodic operating schedule controlled by the sun’s day-night cycle. Such atypical equipment requirements caused frequent design modifications. Using a 3D design tools and a multidiscipline workspace called ENERGO, EPG was able to deliver high-quality documentation based on an up-to-date 3D model despite the number of changes.

EPG used PlantSpace P&ID, PlantSpace Piping, and PlantSpace Equipment to perform basic and detail design in a multidiscipline 3D modeling environment. Because the PS10 plant had been designed in a 2D environment, EPG had to create 3D models from scratch using piping specifications and data sheets from the PS10 equipment and instrumentation. “EPG specialists implemented many improvements in the process,” Kuropka said. “The steam storing system was completely redesigned, and other improvements were implemented based on EPG’s experience gathered on large power plants.”

The models were used by all design disciplines. Drawings or models delivered by subcontractors and vendors were implemented in the 3D environment to check for and eliminate collisions, verify maintenance access, and analyze construction processes. The interoperability of Bentley’s software also allowed EPG to import data in different formats. For example, structural and civil designs developed on the AutoCAD platform were easily integrated into the 3D model for clash detection and layout drawing generation.

The ENERGO workspace enabled designers to work in parallel, with access to up-to-date files and the latest versions of models stored on the network server. MicroStation VBA macros were developed for model maintenance functions, such as attaching reference files according to the ENERGY workspace rules, updating the last version of a file on the server, controlling user rights for file updating, locking files to prevent further updates, and creating an audit trail for each file. Macros were also used to automate the sizing of dimensions and annotations in accordance with drawing scale; and interpret dimensions and annotations in accordance with rules contained in codes and standards.

The application of this multidiscipline workspace to the 3D design environment improved the engineering design process. In the future, ENERGO will be implemented into ProjectWise V8i, which EPG began to use in late 2009. A customized solution will take advantage of the settings and VBA macros already developed.

EPG has already applied the experience gained on the PS20 solar power tower to next-generation solar energy projects. “The experience collected from PS20 was used for developing and building the first high-temperature power tower, Eureka,” Kuropka said. “This power tower is intended to test, on an experimental basis, a new type of receiver that achieves higher temperatures needed for higher-efficiency thermodynamic power cycles.” With this new technology, Abengoa will improve plant performance, reduce generating costs, and minimize the area of the solar field. Joining PS10 and PS20 on the Solucar Platform, this experimental tower takes Spain—and the world—another step closer to the widespread use of sustainable energy from sunlight.

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