Engineering procurement and construction groups have celebrated the award of the Bokpoort (South Africa) and Noor 1 (Morocco) concentrated solar power (CSP) projects. Executives from global EPC majors Acciona, Sener and TSK together with the Dow Chemical Company met to consolidate their commitment to emerging CSP markets. A consortium comprising the three contractors was recently awarded the EPC contracts by Saudi-based ACWA Power to build the Bokpoort 50 MW CSP Plant in Northern Cape, South Africa and Noor 1,160 MW CSP Plant in Morocco. Dow’s Dowtherm A was the heat transfer fluid of choice for these plants.

Ahmed Dualeh, commercial director for Dow specialty and performance chemicals in sub-Saharan Africa, says. “A large scale project like Bokpoort offers South Africa the opportunity to build its power generation capacity in an environmentally friendly way, taking advantage of the latest in CSP technology.”

Today, more than 35 CSP plants filled with Dowtherm A provide enough electrical generation capacity to meet the needs of more than a million homes.

“Working with suppliers like Dow is fundamental for turnkey contracts in solar-thermal plants and Sener has been involved in more than 25 such projects, supplying proprietary technology such as Senertrough parabolic trough receivers,” Ernesto Álvarez, power and process business development manager of Sener, says.

Bokpoort will have a net generation capacity of 50 MW with nine hours of thermal energy storage and is part of the second round of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement program. Once completed, it will be the CSP power plant with the largest amount of thermal storage in the world.

The Northern Cape is home to all-year-round sunlight, making it the logical choice for the site of a solar plant. Economically, it is an under-developed rural area and as such will contribute disproportionately to the economy of the area.

The Noor 1 project will have three hours of thermal storage and according to ACWA is currently the largest parabolic trough CSP plant in the world. It is the initial phase of a total of six being developed for the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen). The complex is set to develop into a 500 MW solar park, incorporating several utility-scale solar power plants using various solar technologies.

Construction on Bokpoort and Noor 1 have begun, with both plants planned to go live in the second half of 2015.