At present the creation of a massive solar power capacity for electricity production in North African countries is being intensively discussed. The enerMENA project under the leadership of the DLR supports the DESERTEC concept which may serve as a guide. The aim of DESERTEC is to produce cost-effective solar electricity in North Africa and to transport part of it through high voltage DC power lines to Europe. It is estimated that a significant part of the local and fifteen percent of Europe’s demand for electricity can be met from such sources in the medium-term.
enerMENA is a first practical step to implement this plan and to intensify the co-operation between EU member states and North-African countries within the “Union of the Mediterranean”.
Aim of the project is the technological cooperation and targeted support of those countries in North Africa, which are about to implement their first concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. Possibilities for enhancements during the plants start up and operation are being analyzed and implemented to increase the efficiency of the solar power plant section.
The project itself focuses on three main targets:
- Analysis and optimization of CSP plants
- Dissemination of CSP technology
- Multiplication of local know-how
Analysis and optimization of CSP plants
The DLR also conducts the on-site measurements during the construction of the solar thermal power plants of the North-African region. These activities have two objectives. The first objective is the training of local personnel to evaluate the quality of the collectors manufactured. The second objective is to provide valuable data in order to improve the quality of the collector field. Possible measurement techniques are
- Photogrammetry of a steel structure
- Deflectometric measurements of collectors with mounted mirrors
The measured data is property of the individual project consortium and is treated highly confidential. Non-disclosure agreements are signed by the parties.
Within the enerMENA framework, DLR also offers measurements during operation of the plant in order to increase efficiency. Possible measurements are:
- Highly precise DNI measurements and calibration of flow meters
- Measurement of collector efficiency
- Measurement of hydrogen concentration in the heat transfer fluid (thermo-oil)
Dissemination of CSP technology
In order to support the market development of CSP technology in North Africa in general but also to initiate or foster local industry participation in this technology, enerMENA will encourage local institutions to serve as local contact point for project developments. At these contact points, industry may receive detailed information about political and economic frame work conditions and will get technical support to optimize their products.
The contact points are intensively backed by DLR experts who will provide training and qualification. Furthermore, a meteo network of 8 high precision meteo stations will be established and placed in the North African region. It will help to provide higher confidence in meteo data achieved up to now mostly from less accurate sensors as RSP stations or satellite data. The selection of preferred sites for measurements will be based on a common decision upon the needs for precise solar resource assessments for either plant operation or project developments.
Multiplication of local know-how
The enerMENA project offers educational material for universities, training centers and high schools in the respective local language. This material focuses on CSP technology and will provide information upon CSP technology to the interested institutions to implement it in their education scheme. Professors and teachers are participating in special workshops to analyze this material and help to adopt it to their practical needs.
The Project will be conducted until the end of 2011 under the leadership of the DLR and is funded by the German Foreign Ministry.