10 September 2012

Having won the French government solar contract at the end of July, CNIM is going to build and operate a thermodynamic concentration solar power plant in the Pyrénées-Orientales


The French Department for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy has given CNIM the green light for its project of building and operating for a period of twenty years a thermodynamic concentration solar power plant at Llo in the Pyrénées-Orientales. 

This solar power plant on a twenty-hectare site is the industrial scale roll-out of a pilot designed by CNIM and installed at its site in La Seyne-sur-Mer in the South of France. The prototype using Fresnel mirror technology has been operating continuously for the last two years. 

CNIM submitted its thermodynamic solar power plant proposal in response to a call for bids from the French Energy Regulation Commission (CRE) to build and operate solar electricity generating plants rated at over 250 kWp. Tenders were invited as part of the government’s renewable energy development and future investment program. The future solar power plant at Llo is the culmination of CNIM’s thermodynamic solar power research and investment strategy. Significant milestones along the way were the design and building of the prototype at La Seyne-sur-Mer in 2010 and the validation of the concept by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) in April of 2012, including the financing of the e-Care pre-industrial demonstrator.

CNIM’s Llo plant, with 9 MW capacity and a thermal energy storage system, sufficient to meet the needs of more than 6,000 households, will produce electricity for export via the grid. The plant will use CNIM’s ‘Fresnel mirror’ technology. This works by collecting thermal energy via mechanically controlled mirrors which direct the sun’s rays onto an absorber tube, the solar boiler. The thermal energy can be stored or converted into electricity via a steam production cycle. 
The Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (French Deposit and Consignment Office) is a partner on this project.

Roger Pujol, Head of the Solar Energy Division at CNIM Group, explains: “This decision by the Department for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy rewards the CNIM Group’s long-term investment in promoting thermodynamic solar power and marks its support for the development of a French industrial sector that creates jobs at home and also exports innovative technological know-how. CNIM is delighted by this recognition for thermodynamic solar power as a storable renewable energy source, facilitating integration with the grid.
The Llo plant will be built on a pioneering site for concentration solar power, a few kilometers from the solar furnace of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Odeillo, and the Thémis plant in Targassonne. CNIM built the solar boiler for that plant in the 1980s.” 

For more information:

- On the working of a thermodynamic solar power plant based on Fresnel technology (tilting flat mirrors that follow the sun’s path, concentrating its rays onto an absorber tube where water and/or steam circulate).
Watch the video: http://www.cnim.com/centrale-solaire-conception-construction.aspx

- On e-Care, CNIM’s pre-industrial demonstrator: 

- On CNIM’s thermodynamic concentration solar power pilot plant installed at its site at La Seyne-sur-Mer, which has been operational for the past two years.