Solar tower construction updatePosted: Tuesday, 1st March, 2011
The construction of the tower in Solar Field 2 is almost complete. As you can see in the photo, the heliostat field is taking shape, and new mirrors are being added to the array almost every day. 256 mirrors of the total 451 have been installed and are operational, and the others are waiting on delivery from our local manufacturer. We expect another hundred to be added over the next week. Evening tests have shown that the computer-controlled system for moving the mirrors is working well.
The tower is nearing completion as well. The lower half of the external cladding is being added, and the scaffolding will remain in place until this is finished. After that the internal elevator will be used for access to the top of the tower.
On the top of the tower is the solar receiver, which has been designed and built by our international commercial partner. During operation, a hinged shutter on the front will open, allowing the focused sunlight to enter a cavity where it will shine onto a series of pipes. Air flowing through the pipes will be heated to almost 1000°C, which is hot enough to run a gas turbine cycle and achieve the ultimate objective of the tower project: to generate zero-emissions electricity.
Last week the final connections were completed on the receiver piping and a pressure test was successfully carried out. Things look to be on schedule for the first on-sun receiver tests at the end of the month.