Renovalia and Infinia partner to build solar dish-stirling power plants
The Spanish renewable energy company Renovalia has signed an exclusive frameworks agreement for a joint venture with the American firm Infinia to build thermosolar plants for third parties in Spain and Italy, and to develop projects in the rest of southern Europe, North Africa and other countries.
In addition, Renovalia will provide some components for the solar system to be manufactured in Spain by subsidiaries of the Group and external suppliers.
According to Renovalia, this is the first time that NASA technology will be used in Spain to produce electricity. To accomplish this, the Spanish-American partnership is setting up a €400 million ($567 million), 71 MW power plant in Villarobledo, Castile-La Mancha.
In addition to the Villarobledo plant, Renovalia is planning to install 150 MW a year in the future, using this technology which, in the area of renewable energy, is the least developed.
Infinia’s Solar System relies on a Free-Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) to convert concentrated solar heat to electricity. Infinia FPSEs convert thermal energy from external energy sources to linear motion which drives an integral linear alternator, thus generating clean, reliable electricity.
This system is characterized by nearly 24% efficiency, low maintenance and operating autonomy. The main difference compared to other thermal technologies is that it does not need water or gas to produce electricity. Moreover, the engines are quiet, do not require lubrication and can be connected to the network in modular phases. A 50 MW plant using this technology can be built in less than a year.
The facility operates during sunlight hours and remains out of service during night hours. That is why the department of R+D of Renovalia together with a team of international consultants and Infinia are working to develop a energy storage system to complement this technology. This video shows the actual systems: