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Solar power plants make an important contribution to climate protection. In the Gemasolar plant near Fuentes de Andalucia in Southern Spain, robust drive units from NORD DRIVESYSTEMS ensure the alignment of the gigantic mirrors for collecting solar energy.
The dimensions of the solar thermal power plant are gigantic: On an area of 185 hectares, 2650 so-called heliostats are grouped around a tower. The 120 m2 mirrors have the task of reflecting the rays of the sun onto an absorber which is installed at the top of the tower. This transfers heat to molten salt which circulates through the tower. At the foot of the tower there is a heat exchanger in which the heated molten salt generates steam. This steam drives a turbine which generates 110 GWh of electricity per year - enough to supply 30,000 homes. With this, CO2 emissions are reduced by approximately 40,000 tons per year.
To drive the huge and heavy mirrors, power plant operator Torresol has chosen NORD DRIVESYSTEMS' robust and powerful NORDBLOC.1 geared motors which have a very high load capacity. The gear units are equipped with especially large bearings, which can handle higher lateral and axial forces than conventional geared motors.
Each of the rotating and tilting heliostats is moved by two Size 5 NORDBLOC.1 motors. Every 20 seconds the drives adjust the position of the mirrors to face the sun. This ensures that as much sunlight as possible is reflected onto the tower. This precise adjustment is necessary because some of the mirrors are located almost one kilometre away from the tower.
If more heat is available than can be directly converted by the turbine, the excess is pumped into a storage tank for use when the sun is not shining.