28 Jan 2013

A NEW DESIGN 100Mw CSP IS NEARLY OPERATIONAL.  Located on one of the 7 United Arab Emirates, SW of Abu-Dhabi (near the Persian Gulf) is what may be the world’s first hybrid (Nat- gas and CSP).  It is called “SHAMS 1” (SUN 1) – Phase 1, aims to power 20,000 homes by combining CSP with a small amount of Nat-gas. The plant covers nearly a square mile of the desert landscape, which itself imposes technical challenges now largely overcome.  The project is a consortium of Masdar (An Abu Dhabi Energy Co.), Total S.A. (French multi-national Corp.), and Abengoa Solar (Spain).

SHAMS -1 USES PARABOLIC MIRRORS FOCUSED ON OIL-FILLED PIPES.  The pipes are filled with special oil (heat transfer fluid) that heats the fluid to to more than 300 degrees Celsius. That oil then, transfers its heat energy to water which is turned into steam.  PROBLEM IS: Steam-driven generator turbines require super-heated steam at 500 degrees…

THAT IS WHERE NAT-Gas COMES- IN AS A “BOOSTER-HEATER”. In an innovative variant of CSP technology, the plant then uses Nat gas to “super-heat” the steam to upwards of 500 degrees to drive a generator turbine (as in all thermo-electrical generators). The use of Nat-gas as a booster-heater , actually provides many other benefits such a heat stabilizing and enables optimal high temperature required for the steam turbine.  Another benefit is that it also allows the plant to operate at night, while maintaining a high degree of generating stability.

SHAMS-1 ALSO REQUIRED TECNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT TO OPERATE IN WINDY DESERT AREAS.  Masdar says constant wind, dust and sand have forced innovations in wind blocking strategies, and the design/development of truck mounted cleaning equipment for parabolic mirrors.  Another desert adaptation is a “dry-cooling system”.  Rather than using copious amounts of water to cool the steam condensate water (after it leaves the turbines) huge fans have been installed to do the cooling.  Pretty ingenious, hope it it suffices!

COMPETITIVE PRESSURES – SOLAR CELLS ARE CHEAP RIGHT NOW. The recent glut/plummeting cost of solar cells may challenge the commercial viability of CSP; Even so, this innovative Hybrid-CSP technology overcomes many seemingly insurmountable deficiencies of Solar-cell technology. SHAMS-1 is scheduled to go online in coming months, and expects make a significant contribution to Abu Dhabi’s commitment to produce 7% of its renewable sources energy.  We wish them success, and hope Abu-Dhabi sees fit to increase its paltry renewable energy source aspiration.  They can do much better than that!

Thanks to Triple Pundit / 25 Jan 2013.



ABU-DHABI SHOULD BE COMMENDED for its interest in renewable energy sources, and sea water desalination projects, even in the midst of their abundant oil resources.  They see what many other countries fail to see: It is the responsibility of every government to reduce its carbon dioxide/other emissions into the world’s atmosphere. We are all together in “Spaceship Earth”.  They also recognized the need to join expertise from different countries/sources more CSP-knowledgeable than they, and created this consortium, to provide avenues of international technical interchange which we believe will prove beneficial to many countries; specially, those located in arid, sandy countries.  One might be amazed at the large proportion of the earth’s land mass that comprises; and unfortunately, at the rapid growth of global desertification.

SHAMS-1 PROTOTYPE IS REPUTED TO HAVE BEEN BUILT AT A COST OF $600 M; But, that is the cost of a “first of its kind CSP.  “Phase 1”, implies that once it is tweaked, Phase 2 and subsequent like units could be built; hopefully, at a lower cost.  That leads us to a cost comparison versus a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).  Normally, NPPs require 10 years to build and cost about $10,000 M, so we need to consider the “cost of capital” for 10 years. Assuming that, an NPP will produce 1,200MW-the power equivalent of 12 SHAM-1s, but at a cost of $7,200 M spent incrementally to reduce cost of capital.  Folks, the math makes sense!  Plus CSPs will not produce any transuranic nuclear toxic materials, or pose a meltdown threat.

THERE ARE SEVERAL PROMINENT VARIANTS OF CSP COMPETING FOR A “PLACE IN THE SUN”- GOOD! – We all stand to benefit.  It is not within the scope of this article to even attempt to provide details about the most promising such ventures.  We will from time to time provide articles about other promising CSP Projects, as well as other renewable energy developments- fortunately, there are many under development.

THE “HOLY- GRAIL” of renewable energy at present, is to produce, and place on grid electrical energy at prices competitive with, or lower than the market rates (about 10 cents per Kwh.).  Hopefully, the miracle of competition will come to the consumers help.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


NEWS UPDATE – 17 Mar 2013  Abu Dhabi officially opened on 17 Mar 2013 the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant covering 2.5 square kilometers in Madinat Zayed (Western Region), with a cost of $600 million to build, and will provide electricity to 20,000 homes.  Shams 1 was designed and developed by “Shams Power Company”, a joint venture among  Masdar (60 %), while France’s ‘Total” and Spain’s “ Abengoa Solar” own 20 % each.  Santiago Seage, CEO of “Abengoa Solar” said: Shams 1 is the largest CSP plant in all terms”.  The United Arab Emirates (UAE’s) leaders were on site for the ceremonial opening, led by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayad Al-Nahayan, and his vice president, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.



Looks like MASDAR delivered “on budget and on time”.  Our congratulations, and may this Phase 1 be the first of many others in the region.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

January 28, 2013 at 8:29 PM Comments (0)


13 Jan 2013

Despite the fact that 62.5% of South Koreans oppose further NPP development (as of Jan 2013), “The Ministry of Knowledge Economy” (no names given to protect the guilty) says: South Korea has no option but to expand its nuclear power plant program”( to a total of 34 NPPs– Japan has 54)The Ministry has been sharply criticized recently for its dual role as Regulator and Operator of the country’s NPPs, and one of its subsidiaries was accused of suppressing negative public opinion after the Fukushima disaster, by not publishing polls.

THE MINISTRY ADDED: “It is an urgent priority to recover people’s trust and the safety of reactors, just as it is unavoidable to maintain nuclear at a certain percentage of the total power supply, considering the power supply and demand situation”

SOUTH KOREAN NPPs HAVE BAD TRACK RECORD – In 2012, a series of scares closed two NPPs, and the industry suppressed details of the closure of the “Kori No.1” reactor early in 2012.  The two troubled reactors (no names given) were fully restarted the first week of Jan 2013, easing fears about winter power shortages; However,  three (3) other NPPs (no names given) are now offline for maintenance and operational approval, again raising concern about satisfying peak- winter demand expected until the end of Feb 2013 (they can’t win for loosing Huh!). Their silence about specific NPP failures is highly reprehensive.  The people deserve/need to know – It is their right.

SOUTH KOREA IS ASIA’s4th if not the world’s 4th LARGEST ECONOMY, and depends heavily on oil and gas imports.  Even so, its current 23 NPPs supply a third of the country’s total power mix. Its population probably looks apprehensively at its small land mass and ponders: Where shall we go if the sh*t hits the fan?  It is no small question, and a constant source of worry for several small (land-mass wise) countries that are highly vested such as Sweden.

Thanks to Reuters, 08 Jan 2013


IMAGINE THAT! – A MINISTRY OF “ANONYMOUS MINISTERS”, WHO ANSWER TO NO-ONE, AND THAT ARE BOTH “REGULATOR” AND OPERATOR” OF 23 NPPs.  Democracy, where art thou?   Still one has to recognize that South Korea has done admirably well in the past 60 years.  In some social settings, less government is evidently best.  Just look at North Korea with its totalitarian regime for a stark contrast in socio-political science/philosophy.

SOUTH KOREA HAS NOT LEARNED A THING FROM FUKUSHIMA! Given that their Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) were designed and built before 12 Mar 2011 (Fukushima Day), they are all wrong!  On a low lying coastal plain, clustered like ducks on a row, NPPs with well known design flaws, they sit just waiting for the next  “extreme natural or weather event”, or even man-made calamities (Fukushima had both) to bring South Korea’s admirable economy, and industrious workforce to its knees.  In South Korea, as in the rest of the world, nuclear power purveyors swing an irresistible power (you know the refrain: Money talks, Sh*t – walks);  Even though in South Korea the large majority of its people, fear/oppose nukes, the politicians(Ministers) in power, were bought out long ago (just like in India);  so, “the band plays on”.

THE MINISTRY LIES when they say: “South Korea has no choice (other than nuclear.)” They really mean that those in power feel helpless to stop the Nuke wagon from rolling.  Hell yes they have choices!  Their huge industrial; base could certainly embrace renewable energy such as “windtricity”, Solartricity (CSP or PV-solar) etc (Many other countries are already doing so in big ways). THEY JUST DO NOT WANT TO RAIN ON THE NUCLEAR PARADE, AND PREFER TO STAY ON THE ROAD TO PERDITION.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

January 13, 2013 at 8:44 PM Comment (1)


08 Jan 2013

China will host its 3rd Annual “China Concentrating Solar Power Summit” on April 10th-12th in Beijing, China. This summit is aimed at accelerating the commercialization of China’s, and the world’s CSP industry. Last 12 Sep 2012, the Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) released the Five-year Plan for CSP electrical generation development.  According to this plan, China’s solar energy installation capacity will exceed 21,000 Mw, while the generating capacity will hit 25 billion Kwh by the end of 2015. (Sounds highly optimistic).

OVER 200 REPRESENTATIVES PLAN TO ATTEND, governmental and industry leaders, solar companies, energy companies, power generation companies, technology, equipment suppliers, industry solution providers, and research institutes;  In addition to various presentations, the summit will hold pre/post-conference workshop and site tours, intended to foster more cooperation opportunities, and technology interchange.


1. Future CSP Policy Trends

2. CSP Project Updates

3. Pre-conference Workshop regarding India’s CSP Market

4. Cutting-edge CSP Technologies and Achievements

5. State-of-art CPS Management Expertise

6.  CSP Project Cost Reduction

NEW NATIONAL MATERIALS GUIDE for Energy Materials and the 12th Five-year Plan for National Energy Science and Technology, expected to drive the growth of China’s CSP industry.

CURRENTLY OPERATING CSP PLANTS IN CHINA: Huaneng Group’s 1.5 MW Hybrid Plant is (in operation); Zhejiang SUPCON’s 50Mw Tower Project (Phase 1) has been accomplished; Lanzhou Dacheng’s 200Kw Parabolic Trough and Fresnel Plant (in operation); Guodian Group’s 180KW Parabolic Trough Plant (in trial operation).


1. Dinghuan Shi, President, “China Renewable Energy Society”

2. Luis Crespo, President, “European Solar Thermal Electricity Association” (ESTELA)

3. Zhifeng Wang, Chairman, “National Alliance for Solar Thermal Energy”

4. Xiang Huang, Chief Engineer, “China Huadian Engineering Co., Ltd”

5. Shisen Xu, President, “CHNG Clean Energy Technology Research Inst.”

6.  Zhejiang Supcon “Solar Technology Co., Ltd”

7.  North China Power Engineering CO., LTD

For more Info visit: .

Thanks to WSJ, 08 Jan 2013


WE ARE HAPPY TO SEE PROMOTION OF CSP anywhere; specially in China, with its burgeoning industrial production and consequential huge air pollution problems, believed to be principally produced by thermo-electric coal-burner plants.  We have mixed emotions about china’s 5-year plans which have in the past, set very high goals, only to miss by a mile.  We will see.

MOST INDUSTRIAL SECTOR “SUMMITS” ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM.  Our experience shows most such conferees to be purveyors of parts/components looking for a market, or for a niche to fill. Even so, they do provide the opportunity for technical interchange.  This is specially a good opportunity to hear the opinions/comments of Mr. Luis Crespo (ESTELA), and to compare notes regarding European CSP technology, which by all accounts is way ahead of China at this moment.  China has a lot to learn, and they are normally quick to do so.

CSP WITH ENERGY STORAGE WAS NOT MENTIONED; one of the principal advantages of CSP, because it allows power generation 3 to 5 hours past sunset.  The technology is being developed here in the USA, in collaboration with several Spanish, and other venture capital industrialists.  There are several distinct variants of CSP: “Power Tower”, Sun following “Trough”, and with/without energy storage facilities, and variants.  Most of these plants require large expanses of land, and an adequate grid to transfer the electricity from the “wide-open spaces” to where it is needed; (the same is true of Wind-turbine generators). The efficiency of CSP plants hinges upon what are now closely guarded industrial secrets, such as energy fluid composition, and heat-transfer technology.  It is after all a government-incentivized venture capital industry. At least in places other than China; so, it is difficult to estimate how much much technology interchange can take place while that industry matures.  We believe CSP has the potential to outshine most Photo-voltaic “Solar-Cell” technology in the near future – at least for Plants.  In our view, CSP will be an important part of the renewable (green energy) “energy-mix” in most parts of the world, and are happy to see China embrace it.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


January 8, 2013 at 8:09 PM Comment (1)


06 Jan 2013

The local government of New Orleans (Katrina Land), New York, and New Jersey (Sandy Storm) are eagerly awaiting, reconstruction funds, and in fact angry at what they view as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) foot-dragging.  They have come to expect that the USA Federal Government will come to their rescue with funds to re-build their severely damaged infrastructure, and even homes. Question is: For how long can the USA Federal/State governments afford to fund the reconstruction of our sea-side (littoral) cities and towns? Beach erosion, and recent storms have even damaged the Boardwalk beyond repair.

WASHINGTON POLITICIANS DON’T YET WANT TO “TELL IT LIKE IT IS”. It is not “politically correct” to tell such local governments: Sorry but “uncle Sam is out of funds”; Let alone recognize sea-level-rise, and climate warming, are not a temporary condition, but rather a presage of things to come. That accounts for the current intense funding negotiations regarding the budget. Local governments of New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, as well as many seaside communities in Alabama and other places are all expecting massive reconstruction help to “rebuild”. PROBLEM IS: Our USA government officials are not yet willing to publicly recognize that sea-level rise, and climate warming are not a temporary condition, but a clear and present/future danger.

SORRY, “WE TELL IT LIKE IT IS” On this publication. We peruse the news daily for significant events and trends in an attempt to connect the dots.  Mainstream data does not do that; the only “report”, and often miss the significance of such events/trends. We have said it before, that “recognizing the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” (no hoopla, misinformation, propaganda or lies) is very important toward planning for the future, and to survive and prosper.

NATURALLY THEY ALL HAVE THEIR HAND OUT “FOR A HAND-UP”- really? The local governments of New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, and many other impacted coastal areas are expecting massive reconstruction help to “rebuild” their severely destroyed infrastructure, and even people’s homes. Sorry folks, that is not likely. Just ask the people of New Orleans how much help they have received. They will tell you they are still waiting for the USA Corps of Engineers to defend them against future incursions by the sea and future storms. At least that is their business community desire. Most of the people of New Orleans have realized that moving elsewhere is a better solution.  We have many of their younger, dynamic citizens in our San Antonio, TX community, and glad to have them.

FEMA WAS NOT CREATED TO COPE WITH NATURAL DISASTERS OF SUCH MAGNITUDE, but rather to minimize human suffering among those in dire need in the aftermath of such natural and man-made disasters (the type of help they have already provided New York), and are not funded or equipped to help people “rebuild”. Hell! – even insurance companies will not insure those who insist on building on sea-side localities, and are hence vulnerable to the elements. But some say:”not to worry, we like the sea, and me and my ancestors have always lived near/by the sea”. Problem is: such attitudes belong to those that want the sweet, but not the sour, and now want Uncle Sam to pick-up the tab for their disdain. WISH WE COULD, BUT THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT FOR SUCH NEEDS, OR MONEY IN OUR TREASURY TO FUND IT; It is no wonder the Washington scene is plagued today with how to appear politically correct, when they know dammed well we cannot afford such help.

THE CLIMATE CHANGE ALSO AFFECTS OTHER MANY AREAS of our country, not just our coasts. Prolonged droughts in the central USA have produced severe agricultural shortfalls, transportation problem created by now non-navigable rivers, etc. Many lakes and dams are sorely depleted, and seem on the brink of extinction. Just north of San Antonio, TX is Medina Lake and dam. The lake now has about 6% of its traditional water level. This is tragic because it is located in an area that has traditionally served as an  absorption zone for our Edwards Aquifer, primary source of water for nearly 2 million people. Naturally, our San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is doing all it can to pipe water from other places, and even to desalinate saline underground water. Fortunately our citizens have responded well to the SAWS plea for water discipline. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT: CLEAN AIR, CLEAN WATER AND SUFFICIENT ENERGY ARE THE TRIAD ON WHICH ALL MODERN COUNTRIES WILL SURVIVE/PROSPER OR SUFFER.

THIS BLOG ENJOYS READERS IN SOME 65 COUNTRIES ALREADY WITNESSING THESE GLOBAL CHANGES. The people living in desert or semi-desert areas, already know full well the indispensability of water, and have much to teach many countries of the world where “water is cheap”-today.  We in the USA have much to learn from these folks, and there is no time to waste. Reconstruction of sea-level impacted areas needs to be viewed as “nice to do”, but with a sober assessment of future major changes.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

January 6, 2013 at 2:25 AM Comment (1)