Infinia to start deployment of its largest Parabolic Dish CSP plant

Published on: Thursday, 07 February 2013
Infinia's PowerDish

World's second utility-scale Parabolic Dish with Stirling Engine (PDSE) plant is about to start its deployment in the US.

Next month, Infinia will install the first PowerDish on site, and 430 dishes and six months later, it's expected to achieve a 1.5 MW plant.

This is the second attempt to deploy a utility-scale PDSE plant, after Tessera Solar commissioned the -now decommissioned- Maricopa plant and failed to develop other large-scale plants of roughly 500 MW.

In this case, Infinia has developed a 'small-size' parabolic dish with a 3.5 kW Stirling engine. The PowerDish, as it's commercially known, is a 6.7 m diameter and 7 m tall dish with a proprietary free-piston Stirling engine and an overall weight of 1,500 kg -that's why we have quoted 'small-size'-.

This long-time awaited deployment of the PDSE technology will take place at the Tooele Army Depot in Utah, Colorado. The project will de deployed under an initiative of US' Department of Defense to procure or produce no less than a 25% of renewable electric energy by 2025.

Within that initiative, the Air Force, Navy, and Army have established their respective task force to each manage the deployment of up to 1GW of renewable energy by 2025. The program aims to leverage off of the private sector’s capital and tax benefits, sign long term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) and Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC’s) to develop significant and sustainable energy programs within the nation’s military services.

The initiative also includes the Buy American Provision requiring goods acquired and used under the program to be produced in America. "Infinia PowerDish components are all made in the USA, and Infinia’s manufacturing headquarters in Ogden, Utah further satisfies the requirement", states Charlie Walker, Director of Sales.

 

 

 

Guy Letendre, VP Business Development explains their approach to this technology

The core of the PowerDish lies in Infinia’s free piston Stirling generator.  A proprietary technology, Infinia’s Stirling generator can uniquely convert a variety of heat sources like solar, biogas, and natural gas into electrical energy.

Infinia has been perfecting this technology since 1985. What’s unique is that no moving parts in the free piston Stirling generator touch, it does not need water, and once the generator is made, it is hermetically sealed so it will literally run for 25 years, maintenance free.

Infinia’s Stirling technology is proven. To date, our generators have over 1.5 million operating hours, and have had successful applications in everything from artificial hearts to space probes, and now – solar power generation.

The versatility of fuel (i.e., solar or bio-fuel) sources for the Stirling generator also makes its applications diverse and has allowed us to explore many new and emerging markets around the world – from the Tooele installation in North America, India, Bangladesh, Italy, Greece, Saudi Arabia and Chile – to name a few.

The PowerDish CSP unit concentrates the reflected solar thermal energy from the glass dish surface onto the ‘hot end’ of the Stirling engine, thus concentrating the heat and in turn enabling the generator produce electricity.

The PowerDish is the world’s first Stirling-based solar power generation system that is suitable for automotive-scale manufacturing making it scalable for deployment from small distribution-scale arrays to multi-megawatt, utility-scale solar power plants.

Mike Ward, Infinia’s CEO and former Autoliv president (tier 1 automotive supplier known for manufacturing excellence) has been a critical link in bringing mass-manufacturing expertise and evolving efficiency in production.  As large-scale PowerDish projects rollout at Tooele and around the world, we are excited to set a new standard of generator and PowerDish production.

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