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World's largest solar thermal plant

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28 April 2012
The world’s largest thermal plant has gone into full operation at the Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman University near Riyadh after a six month trial period and build-up.

The $14m-plus solar heating plant was manufactured by Austrian research institute GREENoneTEC company and constructed by Jordanian engineering company Millennium Energy Industries.

The plant uses 36,305m2 of solar panels to feed solar energy into a district heating grid for 40,000 students at the Princess Noura Bint Abdulraman women’s university.

From July 2011 onwards, students and staff have been moving onto the campus and covers have been removed one by one from the six solar fields of the plant; all six are now uncovered. Millennium Energy Industries will continue to monitor the plant’s systems over the first year of operations.

Special solar glass and an improved mounting system were designed to protect the installation from the severe sandstorms in the region, said Robert Kanduth, CEO at GREENoneTEC.

There are also six tanks of 150m3 each to store any excess solar heat at 110°C, as well as dry cooling tower which will ensure the solar systems’ temperature below 120°C should an exceptional situation arise.

About 80% of Austrian-made solar panels are exported, at a volume that has quadrupled over the last five years, said Doris Bures, Austrian Minister of Technology, citing Austria’s innovation in sustainable technology.



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