ABB in control as China’s first commercial CSP plant produces power

Fast-track project delivery allows customer to maximize revenues from feed-in-tariffs.

ABB has delivered an integrated automation solution that controls production at China’s first commercially operated concentrated solar power (CSP) plant. Fast completion of the project enabled the plant to become the first to produce power in the Government’s CSP initiative while also beating the deadline to qualify for the maximum feed-in tariff.

Located at Delingha in central China and operated by China General Nuclear Power Group, the 50-megawatt plant, which is equivalent to the power produced by 45,000 tons of coal a year, started producing renewable power on 30 September this year. It is one of 20 demonstration plants in a government initiative to establish CSP commercially and boost the country’s growing capacity to produce emission-free renewable energy.

China is already the world’s largest producer of solar photovoltaic (PV) power but generates little with CSP. Whereas PV converts light from the sun into electricity, CSP uses the sun’s heat to produce steam and generate power. Unlike PV plants which operate only during daylight, CSP plants can store the heat and use it at night.

The brain of the CSP plant is the ABB Ability™ Symphony® Plus distributed control system (DCS), which unifies all the plant’s production processes into a single user-friendly system. These include the parabolic troughs which collect and intensify the heat, the heat transfer system which transports the heat to molten salt tanks where it is stored, and the power block where the electricity is generated and fed into the transmission grid.

The ABB solution includes unique precision control of the parabolic troughs, which enables each one to harness maximum heat as the sun passes overhead.

ABB’s comprehensive scope of supply includes products, engineering, testing, installation supervision, commissioning of the solar field and commissioning support for the power block, and training.

“This is a proud moment for ABB and for China General Nuclear Power Group,” says Kevin Kosisko, managing director of ABB’s Power Generation & Water. “By completing the project to meet a very challenging deadline, we enabled the plant to maximize revenues and become the first to produce power in the government’s CSP initiative.”

In selecting ABB to deliver the project, China General Nuclear Power Group has chosen the world’s leading supplier of integrated electrical and automation systems for CSP plants, with a large reference list that extends across North and South America, Europe, North Africa and Asia. ABB AbilityTM Symphony® Plus is also the world’s market-leading distribution and SCADA control system for the power generation and water industries. It is part of the ABB AbilityTM portfolio of powerful cross-industry digital solutions and services that solve real business problems and produce new business opportunities.

Built on the sparsely populated plateau, the demonstration plant is expected to boost China’s efforts to meet the 2030 target of producing 20 percent of its overall energy from renewable sources.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.


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