OAKLAND, USA: BrightSource Energy Inc., a leading solar thermal technology company, announced that Sasol has selected BrightSource’s power tower solar thermal technology following a worldwide review of solar technologies. Under the agreement, BrightSource and its partner Alstom, global leader in power generation equipment, will conduct a comprehensive front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the South Africa market.
The FEED study is a critical step in the design and deployment of a solar thermal power plant. Sasol will use the information from the study to determine how best to deploy BrightSource’s technology in the markets it serves.
Henri Loubser, MD of Sasol New Energy, said: ”Sasol looks forward to the completion of the FEED study by one of the world’s leading concentrated solar power (CSP) technology providers. South Africa is blessed with an abundance of a natural energy source in the form of sunlight. This CSP project has the potential of significantly expanding Sasol’s new energy portfolio and will in turn contribute to the country’s transition to a low carbon economy.”
To meet its growing clean power demand, South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program, run by the country’s Department of Energy, is targeting the addition of an initial 3,725 megawatts of renewable energy by 2016.
With one of the fastest growing economies in the world, total energy supplies in South Africa are projected to more than double over the next 20 years to more than 85 gigawatts, including the planned development of 18 gigawatts of new renewable energy, according to the integrated resource plan recently adopted by the government.
“Sasol’s selection of BrightSource’s technology represents a significant milestone as we expand our high-efficiency solar thermal power systems globally,” said John Woolard, president and CEO of BrightSource Energy.
“Today, South Africa meets more than 85 percent of its power needs with coal. With great solar resources and a need for firm and reliable power to meet its growing industrial power needs, South Africa represents an ideal market for BrightSource’s solar thermal technology. Sasol is a leader in energy innovation and a natural partner as we help South Africa meet its growing demand for clean, cost-effective and reliable power.”
BrightSource’s power tower solar thermal technology generates power the same way as traditional power plants – by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels or nuclear power to create the steam, BrightSource uses the sun’s energy.
BrightSource’s system uses a state-of-the-art field of software-controlled mirrors, called heliostats, to reflect the sun’s energy to a boiler atop a tower to produce the high temperature and high pressure steam. The steam can then be integrated with conventional power plant components to produce predictable, reliable and cost-competitive clean energy. Alstom’s expertise in steam turbine technology and integrated plant solutions, together with BrightSource’s solar technology offer highly efficient solar thermal power plants.