The Light of Peace19 June 2000
There is huge potential from solar energy in the Middle East. This potential has brought together Egypt and Israel to jointly develop a natural gas/solar power plant.
Noor Al Salam, or the Light of Peace, is a feasibility study for a combined natural gas/solar power plant to be located in the Egyptian desert near the Red Sea. The project is a joint effort between the USA, Egypt and Israel.
The US Department of Energy (DoE) has awarded Boeing with $1 million to act as prime contractor on a system definition feasibility study. The funding is in the form of a USAID (US Agency for International Development) grant from the US Department of Energy. The study is due to last for six months.
The project will make use of Boeing’s solar heliostat technology.
The World Bank, through its Global Environment Fund, which aims to develop environmentally friendly forms of energy, is the primary sponsor of the project, and will contribute $50 million of the $75 million required for the project.
Israel’s Solel Solar Systems will provide equipment that is valued at $15-20 million.
The system, which was developed jointly by McDonnell Douglas, Ormat Industries, Rotem Industries, Weizmann Institute, and Yeda Research and Development, consists of an air receiver and special optics to reflect, concentrate and convert sunlight to provide the high temperature necessary to directly power gas turbines in a combined cycle.
Highly reflective mirrors, called heliostats, track the sun in two axes and reflect sunlight up to another reflector on top of a central tower. The reflector redirects the sunlight back to an air receiver on the ground which directly converts highly concentrated sunlight into heat and act as an external combustor for a gas turbine. This allows flexible operation directly from solar energy, directly from gas, or in combination between solar and gas. The system was described in greater detail in the April 1997 issue of Modern Power Systems.
McDonnell Douglas is responsible for system engineering and integration, heliostat field, master control system, tower and tower reflector. Ormat is responsible for the power conversion system and the fluid loop integration. Rotem is responsible for the air receiver and its associated optics. The Weizmann Institute and Yeda are responsible for the transfer of solar technology to industry.