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MACCSol Research Project Update

The MACCSol commercialisation 

On November 28th 2013, the launch of the MACCSol commercialisation was performed by Mr Brian Hayes TD, the Irish Minister of State for Public Service Reform. Also in attendance was Mr Barry Cowen, TD and Ms Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, accompanied by representatives of the Europe wide development consortium for the project. The event was also attended by many representatives of the power industry to witness technical history being made in Tullamore.

The generation of power using solar radiation, has the potential to provide a significant portion of the EU’s renewable energy targets. A number of large European and international initiatives have targeted vast desert areas of the Middle East and North Africa for the deployment of CSP (concentrated Solar Power).

Solar power generation from these regions has the potential to provide a quarter of the EU’s total renewable energy target by 2020. The European CSP industry has identified the shortage of water to cool the condensers of the CSP plants as being a significant barrier to CSP’s deployment. Efficient and cost effective air cooled condenser technologies are required, as current air cooled condenser technologies are highly inefficient. Through its work in the power industry, RR Projects realised that it had significant expertise to bring to this challenge.

This requirement was recognised in an EU Energy call (FP7-ENERGY-2010-1) under a heading titled “Dry cooling methods for multi-MW sized concentrated solar power plants”. In partnership with The Stokes Institute in the University of Limerick in Ireland, a successful proposal to this call was achieved.

The development of condenser cooling techniques which do not consume water is critical to the success in the emergence of CSP. The adaptation of air cooling methodologies is the most obvious solution to this problem & the main technical objective of the MACCSol project. A Europe-wide consortium was formed to address this challenge and with the support of EU funding, the project has now reached the significant point of being commercialised.

In order to verify the benefits of the technology at an industrial scale, and to demonstrate these benefits to potential customers of the technology, a technology demonstrator has been manufactured by RR Projects in Tullamore. Following FAT, this unit has been installed in an Australian CSP plant near Sidney which is owned and developed by Vast Solar Pty Limited. This is an opportunity for the power sector to witness first hand this development which is set to revolutionise the industry.