Rackam and Bienter launch a new type of power plant in Greece
A new type of power plant enhancing renewables was born this summer in the village of Neo Erasmio in Greece. The station which has been operational since the 30th of September 2015 uses a solar concentration field and a geothermal plant to provide heating in different buildings, as well as electricity, by means of a heat conversion turbine.
Designed by a team of researchers from the University of Thrace, this concept is a demonstration of the effectiveness of integrating these three technologies in one location.The plantis therefore comprised of:
· A parabolic solar concentration field of 450 m² using Rackam’s (CSP: Concentrating Solar Power) technology, connected to a thermal storage unit
· A geothermal facility developed by the Greek integrator Bienter draws energy from the ground and is connected to the same energy storage unit
· A turbine using the principle of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), which can generate electricity from heat stored in the aforementioned storage unit
The product used by Rackam for the solar concentration field is the S20, the same solar concentrator which was installed at the Cascades plant in Quebec.
Let us recall that the panels that Rackam produces at its shops in Bromptonville (Quebec) concentrate solar rays into a tube that circulates synthetic oil. This oil can then return the accumulated thermal energy at the end of its circuit. A solar field consists of a large number of concentration panels.
For the project in Neo Erasmo, according to Joel Mathieu, the power generated solely by Rackam’s solar concentration field is 230 thermal kW, or 300 000 kWh produced annually. In comparison, a house in Quebec consumes between 25 000 and 30 000 kWh per year ... The other interesting fact is the speed of construction, "In two months we have gone from an abandoned tomato field to a solar concentration field at the cutting edge of technology of 450 m², "says Joel, who spent a month in Greece to oversee the installation work and ensure that the construction of the solar field went smoothly.
The entire installation will supply; a greenhouse for local vegetable cultivation and the heating system of a school, in addition to producing hot water for a mosque! But the majority of the thermal energy produced at the site will be transformed into usable electricity by the University of Thrace with the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). Furthermore, students of the second and third university cycle may do research on this "giant laboratory" and actual energy capacities of these new technologies compared to existing mathematical models.
This innovative project has received the support of the European Union, which believes in the energy potential of this country that is naturally spoiled by light. Investors hope that this solar potential and the new technologies developed by Rackam, among others, may give hope for economic recovery to countries hard hit by the crisis since 2008.
Joel Mathieu shares this optimism: "Greece is a country that has great solar potential, with lots of sunshine per year, and the Greeks are already very advanced in regards to the use of photovoltaic panels to collect energy from the sun. This is the first project in Greece including CSP and I think it is only beginning. "
The technology also goes with the Greek legend: Archimedes repelled an invading Roman fleet by concentrating energy from the shields of soldiers, over 2000 years ago...