OFER BEN-DAVID, construction site manager, new facility 390.
(photo credit: Sharon Udasin)
Environment and infrastructure firm Shikun u’Binui (Housing & Construction
Holding Company) launched its solar thermal research and development facility in
the Arava Desert on Wednesday, an experimental site that precedes a 120-
megawatt commercial version to be completed in 2015.
The concentrated solar power (CSP) facility includes about 100 parabolic troughs that shift along
one axis according to the sun’s light, for maximum absorption efficiency,
construction site manager Ofer Ben-David explained. Parallel to the ground at
the troughs’ midsections runs a closed pipeline in which circulating oil heats
to nearly 400- degrees Celsius and can be reused in the system for up to 30
years, Ben-David said.
“It’s a 100 percent closed circuit,” he told The
Although the pilot site will not actually generate any
electricity, the amount of heat it emit will be equivalent to about 1 megawatt
The commercial site, also under the Arison-owned Shikun
u’Binui, is slated to begin construction in 2013 and be completed in
The company has already received its conditional license from the
Public Utility Authority, and has submitted both its permit application to the
National Planning and Building Committee and received accreditation by the
United Nations, according to Ben-David.
Unlike the pilot site, which
contains only 100 troughs, the commercial site will hold about 10,000, he
While Ben-David acknowledged that solar thermal plants are by no
means a new invention, he stressed that the design of this system is unique and
will be continuously improved to achieve maximum efficiency.
photovoltaic fields, concentrated solar power facilities can stay on at night
and in inclement weather, he added.
“Solar thermal is a much more
sustainable source of energy because, for example, when you have clouds with
photovoltaics the electricity drops,” Ben David said.