The German solar engineering consultancy schlaich bergermann partner (sbp) supplied the EuroTrough solar collector for the 100MW Urat CSP project in Inner Mongolia, the largest commercial parabolic trough project in China. The Urat project was developed and realized as part of the first round of the Chinese renewable energy demonstration plan and was constructed by China Shipbuilding New Power Co. (CSNP), with Royal Tech CSP performing as EPC, which selected sbp to supply the solar collectors. The sbp EuroTrough solar collector had been the winner of the SolarPACES Technical Innovation Award in 2013.
The 100 MW Urat CSP first connected to the grid in January of 2020, with 3 months of commissioning, and by December, met its full production target within just one year, according to CSNP. Typically, thermal plants require up to four years to ramp-up to 100% operating level.
Urat EuroTrough solar field
At Urat, the solar collector field covers an area 2.6 km long and 1.7 km wide. It consists of 352 loops comprising 16,896 individual solar collector elements, each 12 m long and 5.8 m wide. The firm’s existing EuroTrough design was originally developed for 50 MW plant sizes, and has been successfully used in many trough power plants in Spain, Egypt, India, Kuwait and previously in China. But Urat presented challenges.
“It would have been uneconomical to just copy the design for the 100 MW Urat CSP plant, as extremely high wind loads, the influence of high altitude on air pressure, and a wide temperature range, from -45 °C in winter to over 30 °C in summer, made re-engineering necessary,” said Axel Schweitzer, sbp solar engineer.
“These local site conditions meant the EuroTrough collector required an exhaustive design adaption. As a result, the solar field EPC, Royal Tech CSP invested in a structural and economical optimization, which resulted in a significant reduction of required steel mass for the collector. An important key to this mass and cost reduction was considering diversification of parts and components while keeping fabrication and assembly simple at the same time. Further optimization was done on solar field arrangement, most importantly, the sloping terraces on the site which reduced step height,” he added.
Royal Tech CSP received holistic engineering services from tender through commissioning. Design adaptions, complete specifications with approved QA descriptions and technical support including local engineering supervision are part of sbp sonne services. This complete package was a key to the success of the Urat project. The mature design and quality tracing of the solar field also facilitated an extremely smooth and fast commissioning phase, with the result that Urat reached its full power output of 100 MWe in record time. CSNP Engineer Egoitz San Miguel posted video at LinkedIn on the announced achievement.
Thus, Urat achieved two noteworthy world records, as the largest EuroTrough project, with the shortest time to achieve 100% of projected output.
As consulting engineers for renewable energy, we develop and implement innovative solar technologies. What sets sbp sonne apart is its unique ability to effectively apply systems engineering knowhow to the solar energy sector, whose multidisciplinary nature cannot be covered by one of the traditional engineering disciplines alone, making it today the most experienced solar engineering office globally, leading specialized and cutting-edge technology development projects in six continents. Our highly productive team consist of structural engineers, mechanical engineers, aerospace engineers, physicists and specialists for thermodynamics, optical and energy systems. Integrated system solutions are enabled by combining decades of interdisciplinary knowledge, which extend beyond structural engineering into the fields of thermodynamics, kinematic and process control, drive technologies, optics, software development, meteorology, series manufacturing and cost reduction. Combining these skills and fields of expertise under one roof enables complex tasks to be performed on a comprehensive basis and inevitably leads to overall system innovation and true technologically cost- effective trend-setting systems. We continue to draw benefit from our successful CSP history and work hard to progress it, while in parallel expanding our activities into the large world of PV.
About Royaltech CSP:
At Royal Tech we have devoted ourselves to the R&D and promotion of concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies. We provide high temperature vacuum receivers, parabolic trough collectors and solar process heat solutions. Relying on a complete system of R&D, production, testing and demonstration, we have obtained various patents and our products have passed the tests in DLR, Fraunhofer ISE and CIEMAT-PSA. We participated in the International Electrical Commission ( IEC ) and China Electric Power Enterprise Union to develop product and industrial standards for global CSP industry. As one of the pioneers in the industry in China, we have accomplished large scale supply of vacuum receivers to overseas commercial CSP projects. We built and have been operating from 2013 a 600 meters’ parabolic trough loop which won the “National Major Energy Science and Technology” award and certified by CSP Services. As a developer and technology provider, 150MW capacity of parabolic trough projects that we participated were selected into the first National CSP Demonstration Program. Two projects are in process to be implemented. Royal Tech CSP Limited, the winner of SolarPACES 2017 Technology Innovation Award with Wacker Chemie AG, becomes the first Asian company to get this award. We will continue to develop the technologies and enhance our product advantages to further reduce the cost of CSP and improve the deployment efficiency to meet global demand for affordable high-quality clean power.