[Project development and design/solar field] BrightSource Energy
2020.01.16 From: BrightSource Energy
Company Name: BrightSource Energy
Headquarter: Oakland U.S.A
Address: 1999 Harrison Street Suite 2150, Oakland, CA 94612
Company & Business Introduction
CSP Business Category: EPC/Design/Engineering/Construction, Solar Field, HTF & TES, O&M
Key Product/Service: Project development and design, solar field
Company and Business Introduction:
BrightSource Energy designs, develops and deploys concentrating solar thermal technology to produce high-value steam for electric power, petroleum and industrial-process markets worldwide. BrightSource combines breakthrough technology with world-class solar thermal plant design capabilities to generate clean energy reliably and responsibly. BrightSource’s solar thermal system is designed to minimize impact to the environment and help customers meet their clean energy goals.
Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., BrightSource Energy is a privately held company with operations in the United States, China, Europe, Israel and South Africa.
CSP is our core business. We provide CSP project development and design, full scope for solar field (design, optimization, supply, EPC, and O&M), and development of solar field control systems. BSE senior staff has over 30 years of experience in CSP projects. Our engineering teams work closely with the other parties in the projects: EPC, power plant and BOP, boiler and DCS, for instance. Our flagship projects include the Ivanpah’s three units (~400 MWe) and Ashalim (100 MWe).
CSP Project References:
Noor Energy 1
Noor Energy 1 is a 950 MW power plant complex, including the 100 MW CSP project
The Ashalim project is the first wireless solar field, built in the Negev as part of a government plan to increase renewable energy in Israel
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System consists of three units, delivering power to residents of California via PG&E and Southern California Edison
High Level Plant Design
BrightSource provides overall plant optimization and conceptual design, including both plant performance model and process. Based on their outputs, BrightSource then designs the solar field (heliostats, layout, control, auxiliary equipment), as well as high level receiver and storage parameters.
The first step in the plant design is to select the turbine and storage capacity based on the guidance provided by the Owner. Next steps include sizing the receiver and solar field, which, together with the heliostat parameters, provide inputs to the performance model.
The performance model calculates net output of each design set using many other inputs, shown in the figure below. The optimization continues with a financial model that calculates the electricity tariff from the performance model outputs and additional inputs such as Capital Expenditures (CAPEX), Operations and Maintenance, cost, interest rate, etc.
The solar field layout optimization is a critical tool for obtaining maximum performance from a given project. The plant configuration optimization and determination of the system capacity is an iterative process, which uses performance and financial models in order to achieve the best electricity tariff.
BrightSource layout approach calculates the best location for each heliostat, rather than aligning them in neat rows. This approach provides critical benefits to the plant:
Optimizes entire power plant performance
Consider all performance effects
Optimize for annual performance
Advanced algorithm for optimum heliostat positioning
Minimizes shadowing and blocking
Achieves maximum land usage
Handles challenging constraints related to roads, utilities and topography, irregular plot shapes
The solar field consists of tens of thousands of heliostats laid out according to the layout optimization scheme.
Overall solar field control is managed by the central Solar Field Integrated Control System (SFINCS). A wireless network of BrightSource-designed Access Points transfers SFINCS communications to/from the heliostats, which have a local controller (Wireless Heliostat Controller or WHC).
The heliostats are totally wireless. They have an autonomous power supply and wireless communications. This saves thousands of kilometers of cable, a very significant cost reduction.
BrightSource has developed several generations of heliostat, based on the principles of simplifying installation and maximizing aiming accuracy.
Each heliostat is driven by a dual-axis drive that tracks the sun and maintains the focal point on the power tower. Azimuth and elevation positioning is controlled by two stepper motors.
The heliostat support structure consists of a torque tube with metal support arms. The mirror facets are bonded to the support arms, with no use of mirror pads.
Power is provided by a photovoltaic panel installed at the top of the heliostat, together with a battery storage system. This is a critical part of the wireless and autonomous heliostat design.
Wireless Heliostat Controller
A Wireless Heliostat Controller (WHC) installed on each heliostat provides the local control. The WHC hardware is BrightSource designed for efficient low-power operation and wireless communications.
The WHC software provides the heliostat logic, communication with the SFINCS, and solar algorithms, as well as interfacing to the heliostat’s motors to move the heliostat. The software design maximizes the heliostat autonomy, simplifying the job of the SFINCS in managing the solar field. Important features include operational autonomy (independent state transitions, movement, etc.) and automatic safety responses (for instance defocus or transition to safe position on ESD or communication failure).
SFINCS - Solar Field Integrated Control System
The SFINCS strives to maximize plant performance by means of maximal, stable and continuous energy transmission to the receiver. DCS data on plant processes and receiver specifically as well as SFINCS information on the solar field and weather conditions form the basis for setting the flux delivery levels and monitoring actual receiver parameters.
A comprehensive physical model of elements involved in energy transmission from flux to molten salt or steam (depending on the receiver type) is embedded in the SFINCS design and behavior.
The system architecture reflects the SFINCS main functionalities: operation policy enforcement, performance, flux transmission management, calibration processes, weather analysis, operator interaction, maintenance support, data management, and solar field management.
The SFINCS uses two sets of auxiliaries: weather and cameras.
The Weather System consists of sensors distributed throughout the solar field to measure insolation (DNI), attenuation, wind speed and direction and other ambient conditions. These are critical inputs to calculating solar flux.
The Camera System includes IR and VR cameras that look at the receiver as well as cameras on the tower that look at the solar field. The IR and VR cameras provide accurate and precise data about solar flux on the receiver, while the tower cameras allow the SFINCS to calibrate the heliostats, a process that ensures precise aiming of solar flux. In addition, both types of cameras allow the operators to monitor solar field operations.
SPOC - Solar Plant Operation Control
The SPOC is a high-level control optimization system that provides the main plant production controller with signals of operating strategy and production scheduling in order to optimize plant performance, i.e. maximize revenues.
As such, the SPOC plays an important role in the automation of plant operations, and in enabling the plant to reach its maximum potential output under current operating conditions.
BEAMS Construction Management Tool
Beams supports the solar field construction workflow, from the definition of the solar field layout and the bill of materials, to the supply chain (COT and shipment handling), to assembly and construction of the field, and, finally, the handover from construction to Commissioning, Operations & Management.
Beams provides both a web-based user interface and a mobile application. Quality and shipment data are easily entered by suppliers or logistics personnel. On site, the construction team receives work orders to manage the activity and records progress by scanning barcodes into the mobile application. The result is a one-stop site for everyone working on the solar field, collecting all the data needed to operate the field as well as to manage all the steps along the way.
PISA - Plant Information System
BrightSource realizes that plant control systems like the DCS and SFINCS are now behind cyber walls for security reasons. PISA is new development that collects data via a one-way diode, conforming to the cyber requirements, and makes that data available for analysis via web-based user interface. Data is stored securely in the cloud, with no hardware installation required.
PISA provides a rich set of reports and trend analysis, as well as allowing access to raw data. It’s just the tool needed to evaluate plant performance, compare to the performance model and look for interesting or problematic phenomena.
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