World's First Fresnel Power Plant
TÜV SÜD provided integrated approval and quality management services for NOVATEC BIOSOL AG's pilot project of a solar thermal power plant.
Existing directives and national regulations frequently fail to clearly address all aspects of innovative plant designs. For the first commercially operated solar-thermal power station with linear Fresnel collector technology, Karlsruhe-based NOVATEC BIOSOL AG commissioned integrated approval and quality management services. TÜV SÜD Industrie Service accompanied the innovative project from the drawing-board through the construction phase to final approval, focusing on assessment of the numerous process-related, engineering and safety aspects.
"Our solar thermal power stations with linear Fresnel collectors produce process steam which then powers conventional steam turbines used to generate electricity", explains Martin Selig, CEO of NOVATEC BIOSOL. "The technology is also suitable for industrial process-steam applications, seawater desalination or solar cooling.“ The Karlsruhe-based company, established in 2006, is already one of the leading manufacturers in this industry segment today. The key components of the solar thermal power plant in Spain are its solar steam generators. A conventional turbine then converts the energy of the steam into 1.4 MW of electricity.
Integrated quality and inspection management
The pilot project not only required compliance with a host of technical specifications and standards. In addition, the innovative design of the power plant called for special classification of individual plant components and alternative technical solutions for component design. "The impacts of licensing law on plant design must be identified at an early stage", notes Hans Christian Schröder, Power Station Sector Manager at TÜV SÜD. "This applies to both the design and manufacturing of the plant and to its approval and operation.“
A requirement which proved somewhat of a challenge was to produce the optimum design for the absorber tubes to compensate for variations in length caused by temperature fluctuations resulting from the plant's daily startup and shutdown. In the end, a flexible corrugated hose of special steel was designed to compensate for the variations in tube length. In addition, safe operation had to be ensured at a high level of plant availability and efficiency. Also important: the life-cycle costs which play a significant role in the total cost of ownership (TCO) had to be determined and optimised.
"In view of the wide array of design-related and regulatory requirements, a segmented approach to plant assessment based on the relevant regulations proved impractical", explains Hans Christian Schröder. "Instead, the plant as a whole was regarded as a functional unit and approved in an integrated approach.“ The benefits involved for the owner/operator include planning certainty as well as high availability and cost-effectiveness of the power plant.
Martin Selig: "In TÜV SÜD, we have found a partner which is able to accompany and assist the commissioning process of innovative high-tech applications at international level – qualities which were of the essence for the successful approval of the world's first Fresnel solar power plant.“