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Eaton technology helps Hine Renovables deliver for solar plants

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Spanish hydraulics experts Hine Renovables has chosen valve and hose technology from Eaton to help complement the design of power packs being used at two large concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in South Africa.

As a result of Eaton’s ability to provide numerous high-quality, cost-effective valves, hoses, fittings and connectors, Hine Renovables decided to use Eaton hydraulic products for two different types of large CSP plants in South Africa. They both create steam, which drives a turbine thus producing electric power. One plant employs flat panels (heliostats) to bundle the sun’s rays and send them to a central unit, the power tower. The second uses parabolic glasses that direct the sun’s energy into a pipeline where thermal fluid is heated. The two new solar projects – a parabolic trough with a 100MW capacity and a solar tower type plant with a 50MW capacity – will combine to generate a combined capacity of 150MW as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 500,000 tons per year.

To ensure the system works to its maximum capacity, the solar panels must be angled to the sun by a tracking system. This system, incorporated in each panel and meticulously controlled by a central programmable logic controller (PLC) is of key importance for the overall plant performance. It must be very precise – otherwise the energy yield will be below the optimum level. It also has to work reliably under extreme conditions, i.e. in heavy wind and dust. Equally demanding is the fact that the drives must make a huge number of very small movements in intervals of seconds rather than minutes.

When Hine Renovables designed the power packs for the solar projects, it looked to incorporate high-quality, cost-effective components. As a global supplier of hydraulic products, Eaton was selected to provide Hine with valves and hoses to complement its solar design.

Lander Guibelalde, managing director of Hine Renovables, says: “Our experience with Eaton has been excellent with numerous projects. It made sense to turn to them again for our solar power projects. Hine Renovables views Eaton as a strategic partner that can provide the necessary support with the appropriate products for the design of high-quality, long-lasting, and competitive tracking systems.”

Once contacted, Eaton provided roughly 80,000 valves of various types including the DG series valve, counterbalance valves and cartridge valves, which were mainly produced in Great Britain and Eaton spiral and braided hydraulic hose. Finally, for tube fittings and connectors, Eaton provided Hine Renovables with its WALPro products from Eaton’s Walterscheid system.

Pedro L√≥pez Jacoste, regional sales manager, Eaton, says: “The latest solar tower project is one of the biggest of its kind. Eaton is proud to apply our expertise and wide range of products to ensure performance of both projects. This project was another that demonstrates our strength of operating on a global level with a wide range of products, while working with customers where they need services and engineering support. It’s a testament to our ability to serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our customers’ demanding hydraulic applications.”

To learn more about valve and hose technology from Eaton, visit www.eaton.com/hydraulics.

 
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