Extruded profiles to be used for support structure of world’s first hybrid power plant
In recent years solar technology has developed into a significant field of application for extruded aluminium profiles. About 5 per cent of the extrusions produced currently go into this application. Now there is evidence that the potential of this application is in no way exhausted – on the contrary.
Hydro Aluminium, North America, has now announced that it has received an order from Florida-based Florida Power & Light (FPL) for the supply of extruded structural components for use with the 180,000 mirrors at the planned solar power plant in Indiantown, Florida.
This project is the world’s first hybrid power plant that can produce electricity using solar power as well as fossil fuels. The operation of the conventional part of the power plant will depend on the solar power production. When the power plant starts operating in the first half of next year it will have a capacity of 75 MW.
In principle, the technology to be used for the solar production of energy will be the same as that that has proven itself in California and Spain. Parabolic mirrors are used to focus the solar radiation. At the focal point there is a tube containing a heat-transfer fluid, which produces superheated steam that then turns a generating turbine. This technology also formed the basis of the plans for the recently announced multinational project for a large-scale power plant in the Sahara.
The supporting structure for the mirrors comprises frames, supports and connectors. It is designed to move so that the mirrors can track the sun throughout the day. The structures have to have sufficient strength to withstand the hurricanes that can occur in Florida.