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SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION

ENERGY FROM SAND

The objective

We spend great care in research and technological and sustainable innovation, and indeed we choose the objective to build a plant which generates energy continuously and respecting the environment.

The completed project

A2A Energiefuture, the company established for managing the redeployment processes of traditional thermoelectric power plants through the development of renewable technologies, has built the new STEM - Solare Termodinamico Magaldi - plant which uses a concentrated solar technology for collecting sun rays and converting them in energy.
STEM is the result of the joint work of A2A, Magaldi Group, CNR and the Naples University.

It is an innovative technology which allows to concentrate solar radiation, which is collected by a mirror field, on a central reflector which further concentrates the light rays on a receiver consisting of a sand bed which is capable to accumulate thermal energy. The heat absorbed by the receiver is in part accumulated in the sand and in part transferred to the exchangers for the production of superheated steam. When the sun doesn’t shine, during the night or a cloudy day, the STEM system is able to generate steam by using the thermal accumulation of sand. Electric energy is then produced by a normal steam turbine, as in any traditional thermoelectric powerplant. This technology allows to make the solar renewable energy programmable as in any thermoelectric power plant, and it has not therefore the negative effects on the stability of the National electric system which are caused by non programmable technologies such as photo-voltaic systems. The sand employed by STEM allows fewer maintenance (due to the lower corrosive power of sand) and less environmental risks if compared with other systems of this kind, which usually employ salts that are corrosive and harmful for the environment if not properly disposed of. This plant is the first step planned in the A2A Group’s Business Plan included within the Project for the Progetto per il Polo Energetico Integrato (Integrated Energy Facility) of San Filippo del Mela, a group of plants for the production of electricity from renewable sources. In the Facility, the energy is not generated by a single plant, but by multiple plants of a new design, with cutting edge technologies which are attentive to environmental sustainability.