Solar power company Brenmiller Energy is focusing on African countries to fill its project pipeline, where it sees strong growth for renewable energy and energy storage solutions.
Brenmiller in 2012 developed a thermal energy storage-based generation unit, which can function either as thermal storage unit or heat exchanger unit using various heat sources, such as electricity from wind, solar power or traditionally-generated coal power, as well as heat collected from exhausts, smelters and biomass energy.
Additionally, the unit can be used for steam generation, with capability to discharge 500 ˚C steam at 90 bars of pressure.
The technology operation range is between 1 MW and 1 GW. A unit typically consists of 12 x 12 half megawatt boxes called bCells that use pressed stones to store energy.
The system uses a unique heat transfer medium and a storage solution that allows the power to be stored for a long period of time and dispatched when required.
Power from the unit can be dispatched in peak times (early morning and shortly after sunset) in cooperation with solar power, which can become a true alternative to baseload, says Brenmiller projects VP Gilad Walker.
“An additional major breakthrough is that we are able to reach a solar capacity factor of more than 50% without the risks inherent in the thermal oil and molten salt-based solution.
“The system also has a built-in hybrid mechanism, allowing for a combination of other technologies (fossil, biomass or other) and can thus provide 100% of the user’s energy requirements,” explains Walker.
The company will complete a 1.7 MW solar power plant installation, with 90 MWh storage capability and at a cost of $15-million, in Israel in the first quarter of 2019, which will be Brenmiller’s first commercial project completion. Brenmiller has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Israel Electric Corporation for this project.
In Somalia, Brenmiller will start in the second quarter of 2019 construction on a 10 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) powered plant, that will offer 220 MWht (eight hours’ storage), across an area of 450 000 m2 and at a development cost of $43-million.
The company is in the planning process of a PV project with storage in Noupoort, South Africa, which will have 300 MWp installed PV, 2 000 MWht storage capacity and a 100 MW steam turbine. It is anticipated that this project will have a 20-year life and capital expenditure will be R4.5-million.