EGYPT – Egypt’s ministry of military production in collaboration with Smart Engineering Solutions has revealed plans to invest US$1.2 billion in the development of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants.

A significant portion of the US$1.2 billion investment will be used in the setting up of capacity to locally manufacture components of CSP system.

Osama Kamal, company’s chairperson told Daily News Egypt that the selection process of CSP companies to cooperate with, “from a shortlist of up to16 companies, had already started and is expected to be complete.

Kamal further revealed that the selection process was being conducted in conjunction with the international energy expert, Hany Al-Nokrashy.

He added that upon the selection of the company, there will be a partnership, to deepen the CSP technology and start manufacturing within the factories of military production within 12 months.

Kamal also noted that he is currently preparing a draft legislation to replace old and outdated electricity stations with CSP power stations.

According to Kamal, the work plan entails the construction of five CSP power plants with a total capacity of 250 megawatts.

Each station will cost around US$250 million and is is expected to produce 50 megawatts.

“The state will not bear the burdens for the implementation of these projects, up to 70% of the financing will be from international bodies, 10-15% will be from local banks,” Kamal explained.

When it comes to feasibility of CSP, Al-Nokrashy said that the project has a higher yield and lower cost.

He added that CSP plants use mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy to drive traditional steam turbines or engines that create electricity.

“Energy can be stored and used to produce electricity when it is needed, day or night so that electricity can be produced over 24 hours,” he concluded.

Concentrated solar power (also called concentrating solar power, concentrated solar thermal, and CSP) systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area.

Electricity is generated when the concentrated light is converted to heat (solar thermal energy), which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator or powers a thermochemical reaction (experimental as of 2013).

An advantage of CSP over photovoltaic conversion is that as a thermal technology, a CSP plant can incorporate thermal energy storage, which stores energy either in the form of sensible heat, or as latent heat (for example, using molten salt).

These enables these plants to continue to generate electricity whenever it is needed, whether day or night.

Egypt’s investment in this technology is testimony of its making this technology competitiveness over other base-load power plants using fossil and nuclear fuel