It is a fully scalable, flexible and adaptable to any sector technique, despite the fact that the first study was focused on solar thermal plants

Magtel’s Energy Division, in collaboration with the company RPOW, is currently working on the innovative “Orishi” project, whose objective is to reduce water use for all those industries that have evaporation towers. Although initially the technique was only intended for solar thermal plants, this fully scalable system can be applied to other industrial sectors.

Its operation resides in the use of high-efficiency water-water heat pumps, powered by photovoltaic solar energy, with which two currents of heat transfer fluid are obtained, one cold and one hot.

The cold fluid is led to the cooling towers, reducing the temperature of the water that enters it and, therefore, reducing the flow that was necessary to evaporate for the cooling process.

Through the reduction, or even elimination, of the volume of evaporation water, the purge and drag flows of water are also proportionally reduced, as well as the amount of chemical products to be dosed on the water circuits.

On the other hand, the hot fluid will be used, generally, for the thermal processes that are required in the location and optionally, increasing the temperature by means of a second “booster” type heat pump.

This will be directed towards an ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) turbine that will transform the thermal energy into electricity, suitable for self-consumption by the evaporation reduction system or for any other use.

For his part, the director of Magtel’s Energy Division, Juan Manuel Vizcaíno, pointed out that “it is not just a project that allows reducing economic costs, but rather the need to provide an imminent solution to a serious social problem that is the lack of water”.

In addition, given the short-term forecast of the applications of water supply restrictions by the Administration, it has indicated that “it is necessary to provide solutions to the industry that prevent stops in its production, with the very important negative impact that it would have on the companies themselves, auxiliary services and workers”.

Alternative to water deficit

The serious situation of drought that the Guadiana and Guadalquivir hydrographic basins are going through reflects the immediate need to reduce water consumption. In addition, the solar thermal sector uses practically the entire volume of water for cooling through the evaporation process. For both reasons, the solution presented by Magtel is ideal to deal with this problem.

As it is a totally autonomous and isolated solution, the only connection it has with the existing facilities are two water pipes, so the remuneration regime of the plant is not altered as there is no hybridization.