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Why not Think about Operational Plant Optimization before Financial Closure?

published: 2011-03-15 9:36

Many Indian project developers are very busy these days carrying out site assessments, solar resource analysis, negotiating with EPC/EPCM contractors and with financial institutes. Therefore, it is quite normal that at this point in time nobody really thinks a lot about operational optimization of CSP plants that will start operation in two years from now.

To make it clear, we are not talking about plant control systems; we are referring to dedicated dynamic plant optimization software tool combined with some hardware equipment that might be able to forecast weather and plant production on hourly and daily basis. These tools provide plant operators with the opportunity to increase power production and decrease down time of their CSP plants. Nevertheless, we think that there are several economic and technical benefits that justify thinking in these tools right now, before financial closure.

The first reason is that all involved parties, plant owner, EPC/EPCM contractor, financial institutions, regulator, insurance companies and, of course, the future plant operator, have an interest in a smooth, incidence-free and optimized plant operation. So, why not include the cost of this tool from day one into the project finance scheme?

Secondly, early weather data gathering (e.g. cloud movement) during construction phase and the use of leaning algorithms like neural networks will definitely improve the quality of the short term prediction function, 1 hour -3 hours, used during future plant operation.

Finally, from the technical stand point of view, shortly after starting the construction activities the dynamic optimization tool can already be used as a simulator for the future plant operators.

Pump or valve failure, non performing heat exchangers, broken collector tubes, dirty mirrors after sand storms, power restriction in the grid etc., are costly incidences and countermeasures have to be taken immediately.  All these events can and will likely happen during operation of your CSP plant. The question is: Are you prepared for it?

We think that the best way to limit or mitigate the impact of these events is to have a well trained crew, which know how to prevent and fix these problems. Sun to Market has developed such optimization software. By using our validated dynamic simulation tool which is an image of your real plant in daily operation, your plant crew will be well prepared before even starting commissioning and operating of the plant. Imagine the advantage you will have in comparison with starting from scratch.

Sun to Markets Solutions India is an independent Indian service company which had started its operation in Spain and is now providing services like site assessment, solar resource analysis, feasibility studies, plant performance models, owners engineering and plant optimization tools to Indian CSP project developers.

Sun to Market Solutions India Pvt. Limited will be speaking at the 2nd Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Summit India this April (12 – 13) in New Delhi. For more information please contact maria@csptoday.com

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