A solar power plant utilizing revolutionary technology is under construction in Nevada, USA. Outokumpu is with supplying stainless steel for the plant's energy storage facility, which will enable the production of electricity event at night, as well as the mounting bolts of the solar panels.
Producing electricity even at night
The 100 MW plant will use a large, circular field of mirrors, or heliostats, to reflect the sun's energy onto a central receiving tower. The energy thus captured will be used to power a conventional steam turbine generator to produce electricity. A key challenge for the project was to build an integrated energy storage facility, which would allow for the generation of electricity even at night – making the plant the first of its kind in the world.
Trusting a 30-year relationship
The facility's storage tank will have to withstand the harsh and highly corrosive conditions of hot nitrate salts at 600°C. After consultation with Outokumpu experts, Cobra Thermosolar Plants and Spain-based tank subcontractor Felguera IHI opted for Outokumpu's heat-resistant austenitic stainless steel, tailored to customer requirements. Outokumpu's knowledge about the fabricability of the material as well as the high quality and service indicated by Felguera's 30-year relationship with Outokumpu contributed greatly to the decision.
Duplex mounting bolts
After a successful start to the project, Cobra Thermosolar Plants contacted Outokumpu and requested an offer the zenithal anchor or mounting bolts for the solar panels. Chosen for the task was Outokumpu's patented lean duplex grade LDX 2101â, primarily because of its excellent corrosion and abrasion resistance, and also because it is a good solution when machining is needed. The bolts will allow the solar panels to turn in two planes, and thereby maximize power intake. The solar plant will provide clean and renewable energy for customers in California and Nevada starting in 2014.