Dubai Is Building The World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant
By Muhammed Aladdin.
The Emirate of Dubai is constructing a brand new concentrated solar power plant that is already turning heads. The Noor Energy 1 Plant will be the largest of its kind, generating electricity even when the sun is down. Yes, you heard that one right! In fact, the government wants to run the whole city on it.
The estimated capacity of the plant is 700 megawatts, with a state-of-the-art power storage plant that will keep the metropolis running for up to 15 hours after sunset.
The colossal plant is expected to dwarf the current record holder Noor-Ouarzazate CSP in Morocco, providing Dubai with clean energy over the course of the day.
The project comes as a part of Dubai’s sustainability plan, which looks forward to satisfying 75% of the emirate’s need with clean energy by 2050.
What makes this project different is that unlike the solar power panels we all know and love, concentrated solar power is something that is yet to capture the popular imagination.
Abdulhameed Al-Muhaidib, the director of asset management at Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, explained the difference between typical solar panels and this technology to Arab News:
“It’s a completely different technology because you have to do a heat exchange and (use) steam turbines, a process that makes it more expensive than solar PV, the main benefit is storage because you can store heat, while in panels you can’t and lithium batteries are still expensive.”
In other words, storing heat is much easier than storing electricity, and that’s why this new technology is solving the issue of providing energy after dark by generating power from stored heat.
The plant in Dubai will use molten salt instead of water to store heat power, as studies have shown that molten salt retains more energy. Thus, it will store power for the city to use at a fraction of the now-used lithium-ion batteries.
The Saudi company behind the project has announced that by 2020, the power plant will be fully functioning, bringing concentrated solar power to the spotlight for the first time ever.