Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jul 02

First Hybrid Solar Power Station

Posted in Energy Industry | Future Technology | Solar Power

Hybrid Solar Power Weizmann Institute created a milestone in the field of alternative energy in association with AORA. AORA is a leading Israeli solar energy technology company. It launched the world’s first hybrid solar thermal power station at Kibbutz Samar in southern Israel. During the inaugural launch of the powerhouse, guests from other countries such as Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Chile and Australia were also present. Yehoshua Fried, who is the chief executive officer of the AORA, thanked American investor Meir Reiss and Canadian Director of Corporation and Consultant to Management, Zev Rosenzweig, for believing in his dream.

Fried had believed in alternative source of energy a long time ago but he was waiting for the right kind of atmosphere to give his dream a concrete shape. Now we can see that concentrating solar power (CPS) stations can provide environmentally-friendly power 24 hours a day. AORA’s station is named as “Power Flower” because of its unique yellow tulip design. This power station is situated in an area of half an acre of land and has thirty tracking mirrors (heliostats).

Each of the thirty heliostats tracks the sun and reflects its rays towards the top of a 30 meter-high tower. This tower contains a special solar receiver along with a 100 kilowatt gas turbine. This receiver utilizes the solar energy to heat air to a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius. Now this heat energy is directed into the turbine, which converts the thermal energy into electric power that will be fed directly into the national grid.

The new environmental friendly power station does not use water as steam operated turbines do, and it can be constructed in several months rather than the years it takes to build other solar power stations. This power station mainly utilizes solar energy, but it can also be run on other alternative fuels, including bio-gas, bio-diesel and natural gas. They obviously act as backup plan. When sunlight is inadequate at night or on cloudy days the power station would be able to produce enough electricity to distribute. This power station has also incorporated the modular system to its greatest advantage. This makes it possible to purchase and operate as many 100-kilowatt modules as needed. A great advantage of the module system is that this system can continue its operation even if one or several modules need repair. “The size and relative price of this solar power system means it can be implemented in local as well as large-area installations,” Fried explains.

We can see that till now solar technology development was confined to small units or residences or commercial complexes. But now we can develop hybrid solar power stations to meet our energy needs. Small-scale solar thermal technology will produce 100 kW of on-demand power and 170 kW of thermal power. They are utilizing the gas turbine for improving space and energy efficiency. This will minimize the requirement of mirrors and save space. Yuval Susskin, Chief Operations Officer at AORA has plans to execute his plans in many countries.

AORA is aiming to set up power stations for small, community-sized scale that would be practical and less expensive. Susskin shares his views, “There is a chasm in the industry — between massive solar thermal [arrays] in the desert and small photovoltaic in the home because there is nothing that satisfies community-sized scale solar. No one is working on providing solar power to nearby homes.”

  • Arun Kumar

    This is a good step for the small and mid-size market. Looks promising.

  • Francisco A Roque

    Great! At least somebody started working on something that resembles Tesla’s power tower, however, if it will be powered during cloudy days, let it be powered with hydrogen! Not gas or food source products, let it be 100% solar and hydrogen.


  • Sepp Hasslberger

    This seems a good design. The article isn’t very clear about how the energy is utilized. It seems to me that it should say what this system uses is the increased pressure of the air that is expanded by heating it up to 1000 degrees.

    This fact – if my view is correct – could also mean that the pressurized air so obtained could also be used in times of no sun or even through the night, if pressurized storage tanks for the air can be provided.

  • RenaissanceRonin

    I suspect that Sepp is exactly right. Pressurized tanks will store “energy” to be distributed during night and cloudy day scenarios.

    I lived on an Israeli kibbutz for many years, and I can tell you that the idea of being self-sufficient and sustainable is held as highly as being able to breathe air. If anybody can work this out to fruition, the Israeli’s will. They aren’t afraid to think out of the box, nor do they allow themselves to get stuck in a quagmire of political left turns, played to the beating of “oil drums.”

    A “half acre.” That means that you could build a “power park” almost anywhere, and be free of the grid, and it’s frailties!

    Good for them. I hope the world takes note. This tech would benefit everyone on Earth.

  • Jos Conil

    Really great!. The use of air instead of water as the medium of energy conversion has made this power station really innovative. The possibility of using bio fuels as solar back up is also a great advantage.

    Wishing all success to ARORA and Weizmann Institute. Hope this initiative turns out to be commercially successful as well.

  • Friso Sikkema

    @ the article: 100 kW really is a tiny amount of power.
    also this technology has been known for decades. See e.g. the spanish projects.
    The larger the scale, the lower the price. viva CSP!

    @ Francisco: The use of hydrogen may not be such a good idea, hydrogen must be made first, from natural gas, which is inefficient.

    @ Sepp: the use of compressed air as energy storage is known, but inefficient without the use of a gas turbine at the exhaust of that compressed air.

  • Sepp Hasslberger


    100 kW seems fine for a small village or a Kibuzz. Scaling up is possible by using more than one module. Whether larger scale is more cost effective depends. We will know once there is a commercial version of this.

    Hydrogen can be made by electrolysis, using some of the generated power to do this, the resulting hydrogen would be available as a combustible for times when no sun is available.

    Compressed air – I do not understand your point. The system works with a gas turbine, that is driven by compressed air. If some of the compressed air is stored instead of driving the turbine, it would be available to generate electricity later, all that’s needed is an air tight and pressure resistant storage container.

  • russ

    The power is in the expansion of air heated from ambient to 1000 deg C? Big turbine and low efficiency. No heat recovery but then there is no steam cycle.

    I love the compressed air schemes – calculate the volume and cylinders needed then you can forget it.

    H2 – sure – one very inefficient method of ‘saving’ power or rather one very efficient method of wasting it. Of course you can have electrolysis – very, very inefficient.

    100 kW – very good – supplies my house and one more.

    Cool idea but DOA I believe except for special circumstances where a few light bulbs are needed. The economy of scale is super important – this doesn’t have it.

  • Jonathan Hatton

    Really fascinated by this.We are looking for a solution to power supply for small Indian Ocean country,with islands.

    How does one go about making contact with the developers to explore opportunities?

    Jonathan Hatton

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