Ivanpah: Design & integration of the world’s largest solar thermal plant

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Source: FCBI Energy

As the attention of the CSP industry in the United States turns towards mastering the design, engineering and construction of large-scale plants, EPC (engineering, procurement & construction) groups have become a vital cog in guaranteeing the success of 100MW+ projects. Currently the most prominent example would be the work of Bechtel Corporation at Ivanpah, California, the $2.2 billion project that is set to be the world’s largest solar thermal facility. Justin Zachary of Bechtel will be giving a glimpse into their experiences of this landmark project later this year – after the company unveiled their official sponsorship of the 2nd CSP Plant Optimization Conference USA, taking place on 7-8 September in San Francisco.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System will be the first large-scale solar thermal project built in California in nearly two decades, and the largest of its kind in the world. The complex will consist of three separate plants using BrightSource Energy’s Luz Power Tower (LPT) technology. It will displace 400,000 tons (363,000 metric tons) of carbon dioxide emissions per year, whilst also reducing water usage by 90 percent through deploying a closed-loop dry-cooling technology.

As specialists of power tower plants Bechtel will discuss the main challenges and solutions in the design and execution of Ivanpah, and identify the opportunities for optimization in large-scale CSP.  This unique case study compliments the wider themes of the CSP Plant Optimization conference, which is aimed at improving the design, engineering & construction of large-scale solar thermal plants, to drive the CSP industry forward in the United States.

Bechtel has worked on more than 22,000 projects around the globe, yet the design and construction of Ivanpah is set to be one of the company’s biggest projects to date. Optimizing the plant’s cycle efficiency has been one of the foremost considerations during the project’s implementation. The challenges in how they have designed the power block to ensure maximum efficiency will be the main theme of their presentation, to provide lessons learned for the industry.

The 2nd CSP Plant Optimisation USA conference will give delegates the opportunity to discuss these issues directly with Justin Zachary from Bechtel. Industry response to this case study has been overwhelming for event organizer Jack Ahearne, who said that “this indicates that the industry’s attention is focused on streamlining design, construction and engineering methods for large-scale CSP”. For more information on Bechtel’s presentation, and other experts that will be joining this high level engineering discussion please visit: www.csptoday.com/optimizationusa/

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