The power of the sun together with the natural gas
Hybrid or ISCC (Integrated Solar Combined Cycle) plants represent an optimal combination of sustainability and efficiency that is achieved by integrating a solar field into a combined cycle. This hybridization of technologies lends major advantages to the installation as a whole, with the solar portion being able to operate continuously, even when available radiation fluctuates. Moreover, the conventional combined-cycle plant improves its efficiency and significantly lowers fuel consumption, in addition to cutting CO2 emissions.
Hybrid or ISCC plants are a good alternative for sustainable power generation due to their lower environmental impact as the result of combining the sun’s renewable energy with one of the cleanest and most efficient ways of generating electrical power from fossil fuels. In fact, the use of solar technology reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions.
The two most noteworthy solar thermal technologies employed to achieve this hybridization are parabolic trough technology and power tower technology in conjunction with a heliostat field.
Among the benefits hybrid solar-gas plants offer are the following:
• Hybrid plants offset the efficiency loss occurring in a combined cycle located in a geographical area with very high daytime temperatures.
• The Rankine cycle operates continuously.
• These installations lower fossil fuel consumption, which means higher global plant efficiency and a reduction in greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
• They constitute a reliable means of introducing solar thermal power into geographies where only conventional generating plants were being installed until now.
In conclusion, ISCC technology represents an optimal combination of sustainability and efficiency by integrating a solar thermal plant into a combined cycle. This hybridization of technologies brings together the advantages of both solutions for application to a single project and improves end results, yielding a more efficient, robust and environmentally-friendly plant.
” Abengoa is a groundbreaker in developing the world’s first and largest hybrid solar-gas plants.
In 2010, the first-ever and largest ISCC plant for commercial operation in the world was inaugurated in Ain Beni Mathar (Morocco). Developed by Abengoa, it also represented Africa’s first solar thermal power station at that time. This plant generates 10 % of the electrical power consumed in Morocco thanks to its 470 MW power output capacity (20 MW of which are of solar origin). The plant has a total area of 160 hectares and is located 81 km south of Oujda and 30 km from the Algerian border. The Ain Beni Mathar plant received a prize for excellence from the African Development Bank, whose awards recognize projects contributing to sustainable development in Africa.
A year later, the second Abengoa-developed ISCC plant, boasting 150 MW of power (with 20 MW coming from the solar source) went online in Hassi R’Mel (Algeria). This project marked the beginning of the Algerian renewable energy program promoting the installation of alternative energy source-based electricity production plants. The facility also meets the country’s energy needs sustainably by preventing the emission into the atmosphere of around 33,000 tons of CO2 each year, in addition to providing energy and fuel savings.