Concentrated Solar Power

SCHOTT Solar has been manufacturing receiver tubes for solar thermal power plants near Seville since the spring of 2008. Photo: SCHOTT/J. Meyer
Martin Frey

Solar Receiver from Spain

SCHOTT puts the new receiver plant in Aznalcóllar into operation. A study shows high customer satisfaction.

SCHOTT Solar has been manufacturing receivers at its new plant in Aznalcóllar, near Seville, Spain, since the end of May. These are a core component of parabolic trough power plants, like those that are being realized in sunny regions all over the world. The roughly 40 million euros in investments ­resulted in the creation of 100 new jobs. SCHOTT Chairman, Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, was quite happy with the successful start of pro­duction. ”More units are already being produced than we ­expected,” he notes.

During the first stage of expansion of the plant, enough SCHOTT PTR® 70 receivers are to be manufactured to achieve an annual capacity of 200 Megawatts. ”Because the demand continues to increase rather significantly, especially here in Spain, we plan to double our production capacity at this site to 400 Megawatts by the end of the year,” says Dr. Martin Heming, a member of management for the SCHOTT Group and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SCHOTT Solar AG.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, 400 megawatts of capacity will be added by the spring of 2009. Together with manufacturing in Mitterteich, Germany, solar receivers with a power plant output of one gigawatt per year will then be available. Assuming an average size of 50 megawatts, this will be enough for 20 parabolic trough power plants. “This now marks the beginning of the breakthrough for this technology,” says Dr. Heming. ­Besides, Dr. Gerrit Sames, Chairman and Chief Operating ­Officer of SCHOTT Solar AG, points to the dynamics of this segment in which SCHOTT Solar is both the market and technology leader. ”From the start of manufacturing in Mitterteich in 2006 until the spring of 2009, SCHOTT Solar will most likely quintuple its receiver manufacturing,” he is convinced.
The Competence Center for receivers is based in Mitterteich, Bavaria. Yet another plant is scheduled to open in the U.S. in 2009. Photo: SCHOTT/J. Meyer
Currently, more than 100 solar thermal power plants are either under construction or in planning on a world-wide basis. More than 80 of these will be in Spain. Francisco Vallejo ­Serrano, the Andalusian Minister of Economic Affairs and Innovation, gave even higher figures during a visit to SCHOTT. In Spain, building applications for seven to eight gigawatts have already been submitted and grid access rights acquired, five gigawatts in Andalusia alone. In order to be able to live up to these high expectations, customer satisfaction is of immense importance. A recent study conducted by the market research institute tns Infratest gives SCHOTT Solar top scores in areas, such as product line, sales performance, speed and reliability of deliveries. Customers, like Solar Millennium AG from Erlangen, Germany, a global planner of parabolic trough power plants, agree: “We used receivers from SCHOTT Solar for the AndaSol projects, the first European parabolic trough power plants in Spain, ­because we were convinced of the high quality of these products from the very beginning,” explains Christian Beltle, Chairman of the Board of Management of Solar Millennium AG. ”We’ve been very satisfied with the relationship and reliability so far and expect production capacities to expand quite considerably so that we can rely on SCHOTT Solar as a supplier of these key components once again for our future projects, such as the 150 megawatt hybrid power plant in Kuraymat, Egypt, that we’ve now started working on,” he stresses.

Receiver manufacturing is not the only engagement in Spain for the SCHOTT Group. SCHOTT Iberica has been operating a manufacturing site for specialized glass tubing near Barcelona since 1963. The sales office for the Iberian Peninsula has also been here since 1979. Important projects include the Zerodur® glass ceramic mirror segments for the large telescope on the Canary Island of La Palma or the glass components for the ­memorial to the victims of terrorism at the Atocha Train ­Station in Madrid.