BrightSource Energy, developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, has announced that it has signed a series of contracts with Riley Power, a subsidiary of Babcock Power, for three boilers to be operated at its 392MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California’s Mojave Desert. The Ivanpah project will couple Riley’s solar receiver steam generators with BrightSource Energy’s Luz Power Tower solar thermal technology to produce superheated steam of up to 550°C.

“One of the core advantages of our Luz Power Tower technology is that it uses a conventional Rankine cycle to create the world’s highest temperature and highest capacity solar powered steam,” said Israel Kroizer, chief operating officer, BrightSource Energy, and president of BrightSource Industries (Israel). “By setting the bar for solar steam quality, we’re able to produce reliable and low-cost power that meets our customers’ needs.”

BrightSource Energy’s proven Luz Power Tower (LPT) technology produces electricity the same way as fossil fuel power plants – by creating high-temperature steam to turn a conventional turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels to create the steam, BrightSource uses thousands of mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight on to a boiler filled with water that sits atop a tower. When the sunlight hits the boiler, the water inside is heated and creates high-temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine which generates electricity. In order to conserve water, the steam is then air-cooled and piped back into the system in a closed-loop, environmentally friendly process. This fully integrated approach takes advantage of high operating efficiencies and low capital costs to provide reliable and low-cost carbon-free energy.

Riley Power’s state-of-the-art solar receiver steam generators are based on their conventional and proven boiler technology. Each solar receiver steam generator is designed to produce superheated steam at high pressure and temperatures in order to generate hundreds of thousands of pounds per hour of superheated steam. “Our innovative technologies and decades of boiler experience are combining to provide BrightSource with a highly efficient solar boiler. Whether the heliostats are in full sunlight or varying cloud conditions, Riley’s solar boiler is designed to be robust and reliable,” stated Angelos Kokkinos, president of Riley Power. “At Babcock Power we focus on providing our customers with innovative renewable energy solutions through our bpigreen® initiative, embracing a cleaner environment in everything we do.”

Babcock Power’s bpigreen program focuses on new boilers, heat exchangers and air quality control systems in the ‘Green Power’ renewables markets, serving electric generating plants using biomass, waste-to-energy, thermal solar, and other renewable fuels.

About the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

The approximately 3,600 acre project located in San Bernardino County, California, will consist of three separate solar thermal power plants and provide power under separate contracts with Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). PG&E will purchase approximately two-thirds of the power generated at Ivanpah and SCE will purchase approximately one-third. In all, BrightSource has contracted with PG&E and SCE to deliver 2,610MW of electric power.