The Port of Antwerp has inaugurated the first Concentrated Solar Thermal farm (CST) in Europe as part of its efforts to make its operations more eco- friendly.
The plant was installed for Adpo by the Genk-based energy company Azteq as part of a pilot project co-financed by the Flemish government.
Industrial companies normally obtain heat for their processes from combustion of fossil fuels such as natural gas. Concentrated Solar Thermal energy (CST) is an innovative technology in which sunlight is concentrated by parabolic mirrors and so converted directly to heat. The temperatures reached can be as high as 400°C, thus providing high-grade heat that can be used in industrial processes.
The technology produces three times as much energy per installed square meter than a photovoltaic system. Furthermore the heat can be stored in insulated containers so that it is also available for use at night. The technology is an entirely eco-friendly alternative for industrial heating requirements and so can make a significant contribution toward reducing CO2 emissions.
The Ghent-based energy company Azteq has in the past few months installed a CST farm with 1100 m² of parabolic reflectors on the site of the logistics company Adpo (Antwerp Distribution and Products Operations) in Beveren. Until now Adpo has used gas to produce the steam that it uses for cleaning and heating tanks and containers. This requires temperatures of more than 140°C, well within the capabilities of CST technology.
The CST farm that will replace 500 MWh of gas consumption annually is installed above the company’s car park, above a railway line and underneath a high voltage line, thus providing an excellent example of double use of ground area. The solar reflectors, each 5 m long and installed in lines of 120, follow the path of the sun and focus the incident sunlight on collector tubes. The plant is the first industrial CST project in Europe.