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A concentrated solar power plant in China


Detailed Solution description

China tops the world’s carbon emission ranking, but the country has made a strong commitment to take climate action. It has set itself the target of lowering its carbon intensity – CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product – by 60–65% from the 2005 level and to “lifting the share of non-fossil energy in primary energy consumption to around 20%” by 2030. The number of initiatives being taken is gaining pace. They include the concentrated solar power plant project developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, with which EDF has been collaborating since 2011.

In Badaling, the site of the most visited section of the Great Wall of China, a 108 metre tower rises into the sky. It is equipped with a receiver on which the sun’s rays converge. A hundred reflector mirrors, each 100 metres square, are arranged in a semi-circle at its base. They capture the sun’s rays and direct them to the receiver at the top of the tower. The concentrated heat raises water in the circuit to 400 degrees Celsius. The power plant is also equipped with an energy storage system using oil or steam that has an autonomy of one hour. EDF and the Chinese Academy of Sciences will study the power plant’s operation using other heat transfer fluids, such as molten salt and compressed air. The project’s aim is to smooth electricity generation by providing a solution to the intermittent nature of solar energy. As such, it is particularly well suited to regions with long hours of sunlight.

A highly digitised project
Computer systems were used right from the concept phase as the design was fully created using digital technology. The orientation of the reflector mirrors is computer controlled; the operator simply has to correct any system drift and trigger maintenance operations.


Key figures illustrating Solution deployment and results

100 reflector mirrors each 100 m2
108 metre: high tower
400 °C: temperature of the steam produced by the system
1 hour energy storage capacity

  • Professional contact
    Mathieu Baratier
  • Press Contact
    Géraldine Foucher