Flowserve: Pumping Systems Order at Nevada Solar Power Plant

Flowserve Corporation announced it received an order for key pumping systems at the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nevada. The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project is a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant that utilizes mirrors to focus the sun’s energy on a central receiver that sits atop of a tower. The 110-megawatt (MW) solar energy project’s “molten salt power tower” design captures and stores the sun’s thermal energy. The liquid molten salt, which is pumped to the receiver atop the tower where it captures the thermal energy, is then piped down to tanks to store the energy until it’s needed. The stored heat is then used to generate steam to power a standard steam turbine and generate electricity.

At the heart of this CSP plant are Flowserve molten salt pumps, which must operate at temperatures up to 565˚C (1050˚F). The pumps use variable frequency drives designed to regulate pump speed and optimize the efficiency of the system. During the day, the liquid molten salt is heated from 260˚C (500˚F) to 565˚C (1050˚F) and stored in insulated tanks, so the plant can provide firm, reliable electricity whenever the utility needs it, even after the sun goes down. The station incorporates a new configuration which eliminates intermediate tanks and relies fully on the Flowserve pumps to transport the molten salt to the 269 meter-high (653 feet) receiver. Depending upon the number of daylight hours available, this “green” plant design can operate up to 24 hours per day.

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project is being constructed by Nevada-based Cobra Thermosolar Plants, Inc., a subsidiary of COBRA Group, experts in the design of solar power plants. This innovative solar power plant will be owned and operated by Tonopah Solar Energy, LLC and is expected to generate more than 500,000 megawatt hours per year, enough to supply electricity to more than 75,000 homes when it comes online in 2013.

“Our close relationship with Cobra in Spain, coupled with our 90 years of experience in high temperature pumping applications and our history of supplying equipment for solar power plant projects of this magnitude, was crucial in winning this order,” said Tom Pajonas, chief operating officer. “Also important was our ability to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for all of the project’s pumping needs and our full line of service offerings, covering installation, start-up and lifetime maintenance.”

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