The largest single Solar Gradient Pond is that constructed by ORMAT at Ein Boqueq. It covers 7.5 ha. Advances at UTEP have made possible much larger ponds, and researchers there envision ponds as large as 1 km2. To reduce technical risk, and reduce construction costs, the Institute has chosen to standardize on 12 ha ponds each of which will power a unitized 1.3 Mwe power block.
Thus each module consists of 4 identical power units, each producing 1.3 Mwe, and each powered by a 12 ha pond. These units will be housed in groups of four at the apex of each group of four ponds.
This permits the Institute to leverage earlier work by PRIengineering and Cryostar, in which the Crostar 600mm turbine was driven by R-134a at 70oC, with two turbines connected via a gearbox to a generator. Thermodynamic work at PRI indicates this unit should produce 1.3 Mwe given brine from the pond at 80oC, which is returned at 70oC.
The following chart shows a concept drawing of a modular 10 Mwe Plant.
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