Solving water issues for CSP Plants (SOLWATT)


Contacts:  Patricia Palenzuela,
                   Aránzazu Fernández,

Funding agency: European Commission, H2020 Program

Background: The electricity production from concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) has to cope with two main challenges, the reduction of the water consumption since a high insolation often occurs in locations with a lack of water resources, and also the improvement of the cost-effectiveness of the CSP technology. Water at CSP plants is required for the following tasks: cleaning of the collector solar field, cooling the power block condenser in the case of a water-cooled steam turbine and to make-up water in the steam cycle.

Objectives: The overall purpose of the SOLWATT project is to upscale, implement and demonstrate cost-effective technologies and strategies that bring about a significant reduction of water of CSP plants while ensuring excellent performance of electrical power generation. The SOLWATT approach proposed will tackle all segments of water consumption in a CSP plant by:

  • 90 % for reduction of cleaning operations;
  • 15 to 28 % for cooling of turbine condenser;
  • 90 % for recovery and recycling of water;

Then, a total reduction of water consumption by:

  • 35 % for a wet cooled CSP plant
  • 90 % for a dry cooled CSP plant

Achievements in 2018: The project is jointly developed by the Solar Desalination Unit (UDeS) and the Concentrating Solar Systems Unit (USSC). UDeS participates in the design of a multi-effect evaporator (MEE) unit to be installed at a real CSP plant (La Africana CSP plant located in Córdoba, Spain), which will treat water from different points of the CSP plant to be recovered and re-introduced again in the process. During 2018 UDeS has been working on the functional and technical specifications of the MEE prototype to be implemented at La Africana. The main effort devoted by USSC was focused on the preparation of a technical questionnaire and the test plan & methodology for each of the innovations that will be installed at La Africana solar plant and tested under real operating conditions during the last two years of SOLWATT. The objective of the questionnaires is to collect important information about the requirements and technical specifications of the prototypes that must be installed and tested at La Africana plant. The technical questionnaires initially prepared and distributed by PSA have been improved and partially filled in by the relevant partners, thus defining the requirements associated to the implementation and testing of each innovation.