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ARCA Regler GmbH
Kempener Str. 18
D-47918 Tönisvorst
[ T ] +49(0)2156-7709 0
[ F ] +49(0)2156-7709 55
[ @ ]

C(oncentrated) S(olar) P(ower)
The idea of converting solar radiation into electrical energy is nothing new. Since the 1980s, C(oncentrated) S(olar) P(ower) plants, or CSPs, have been operated in the USA using mirrors (typically parabolic trough units) to focus the radiation on a receiver, which heats up due to the heat-transfer medium (typically a thermal oil, liquid salt, or water) it contains. This medium transfers the energy stored in a heat exchanger to the water-steam circuit. The steam generated is then used to produce electricity.

Two basic configurations of this system exist. The first relies on heat-transfer media in the solar array to heat water in a heat exchanger so that steam can be generated in the steam circuit. A heat-transfer medium circuit and a water-steam circuit are therefore installed. The system depicted here has this configuration. Water can also be converted to steam directly in the solar array, in which case a heat exchanger is not required.

Systems that use thermal oils as a heat-transfer medium produce temperatures that can reach 400 °C at approximately 40 bar in the solar array. Thermal oils are frequently toxic and highly flammable, however, which is why the outward-facing side of the valves fitted to these systems must be particularly well sealed. Such applications integrate ECOTROL® 6H high-pressure valves, which feature a bellows seal that prevents the heat-transfer medium from escaping even when high temperatures and pressures are encountered.

Systems that convert the water to steam directly in the solar array are currently operated at approximately 270 °C and 55 bar, with higher temperatures and pressures anticipated in the near future for better efficiency.

Control valves are especially taxed during the start-up and shut-down procedure as they counteract the fluctuations inherent in the process or system and must therefore respond in a very precise manner. Since this procedure takes place once a day, it is critical that these valves operate exactly as required in order to safeguard the availability and efficiency of the system.

The ARCA team
Rainer Müller
Senior Engineer
[ T ] +49 (0) 2156/7709-205
[ F ] +49 (0) 2156/7709-4205
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