Erlangen (Germany), 08.04.2008. Solar Millennium AG (ISIN DE0007218406) enters sustainable conversion technology and invests in a R&D project in Herten. The goal of broadening the technological portfolio is to make solar thermal power plants in hybrid operation, work round the clock. Thereby, both solar energy and clean gas from the decomposition of regenerative feedstock are used. By doing this, the power plants can cover the base load of the power grid in a climate-friendly, reliable way.
The technology is known as Blue Tower. The use of regenerative feedstock to generate energy is based on the principle of the staged reforming. The feedstock is mostly decompressed into gas and a minimum amount of solids by thermolysis. The resulting gas is refined to a climate-neutral product gas by reforming, i.e. Blue Gas. The heat of reaction needed for thermolysis and reforming is gained mainly from the solid material. The Blue Gas can be used to generate electricity, for example. Blue Tower is a multi-feedstock technology. This means with this technology, a variety of very different materials can be used, for example garden waste, roadside green cuttings, olive stones or chicken manure.
To enter into this technology, Solar Millennium has bought a 76% stake in the technology company Blue Tower GmbH which has its headquarters in Herten. The remaining 24% is owned by the patent owner, Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Mühlen. The corporate aim of the company is the planning, realization and marketing of these conversion plants. It will use the patents behind this technology, worldwide. The licence grants the right to issue sub-licences which have already attracted great interest from well-known plant construction companies.
The technology company Blue Tower also owns 10% of the H2Herten GmbH (also with its headquarters in Herten). The remaining 90% is owned by Solar Millennium's 100% investment company Blue Tower Capital GmbH, Erlangen. The construction of a demonstration project by the corporation is set to begin in summer 2008 in Herten. In the planned 40-meter high Blue Tower, roadside green cuttings from the Ruhr region will be used for hydrogen production and for generating electricity. An application for public funding has been made to the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia.
Christian Beltle, CEO of Solar Millennium sees great opportunities in joining solar thermal power generation with Blue Tower technology: "A decisive advantage of solar thermal power plants when compared to other forms of renewable energy is the possibility to reduce power generation's dependence on current availability of solar radiation by using thermal storage. With this, we can produce electricity when the sun isn't shining, also in high demand periods. By joining solar thermal power generation with Blue Gas in hybrid operation, we can even add to the advantages by producing electricity round the clock in an economic, environmentally-friendly way."
Dr. Henner Gladen, CTO of Solar Millennium, highlights the advantages of multi-feedstock technology: "Blue Tower, unlike well-known biomass technologies, uses regenerative feedstock. Because we can use a wide variety of materials, we are free of the dependence on the availability and cost of a single raw material. Due to this, the technology can be used almost limitlessly in locations throughout the world. In all of the above, this technology is sustainable and climate-friendly."
About Solar Millennium AG:
Solar Millennium AG, Erlangen, is a globally active company in the renewable energy sector, with its main focus on solar thermal power plants. Together with its subsidiaries, Solar Millennium specializes in parabolic trough power plants - a reliable, proven technology in which the company is a worldwide leader. The company covers all major business sectors of the value-added chain for solar thermal power plants, from project development to technology and turn-key construction of power plants, to the operation and ownership of power plants. In Spain, Solar Millennium developed Europe's first ever parabolic trough power plants, two of which are already under construction. Further projects are planned with a capacity of several hundred Megawatts located worldwide, with the focus upon Spain, the USA, China and North Africa. The company is also developing solar chimney power plants, with the aim of making this technology ready for the market.
About solar thermal power plant technology:
Solar thermal power plants generate electricity using heat energy captured from solar radiation. In a parabolic trough power plant, trough-shaped mirrors concentrate the sun's rays onto a pipe in the focal line of the collector. Their absorption heats a transfer fluid in the pipe, generating steam in the power block by way of heat exchange. As with conventional power plants, the steam is utilized in a turbine to generate power, and by integrating thermal storage, this power can be supplied on demand. Thus, solar power plants can also generate electricity after sunset.
You can download the press release here.