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AN ITALIAN “TURBEC” TURBINE FOR ISRAELI SOLAR POWER
Israeli sun and Italian technology, working together to create clean energy in the Samar Kibbutz. The driving power of the 100kW solar plant in the Arava desert in Southern Israel is a super high technology microturbine produced by Turbec S.p.A., a firm from Reggio Emilio, whose registered offices are in Cento in the Province of Ferrara. The firm, which is 75% owned by Italian industrialists and 25% held by Ansaldo Energia through Turboenergy S.r.l., is led by its president Carlo Mauri. Mr Mauri is the founder and head of Api Com, a firm created in 1978 and specialising in the development and production of trial systems for manufacturers of motorcycles, cars and engines.
With the collaboration of the Aora company, the microturbine was successfully installed at the Samar Kibbutz as part of a Power Conversion Unit, which converts solar power into 100kW of electric energy and 170kW of thermal energy.
An Italian success story, chosen not only by Israel but also by the Almeria plant in Spain, and for which requests have already been received from the US.
“Our microturbine is unique because it works with an input of hot air - explains Mr Mauri - which is another reason why it was chosen by Israel. Furthermore, Turbec had already tried out a similar application in a German research centre”. So how does this technology work? “Solar rays are concentrated on the tower using reflective surfaces from the mirrors in a heliostatic field. – continues the President of Turbec – The rays are channelled to a single “solar receiver” that heats the compressed air, which in turn moves the turbine”. The Ferrara company achieved international success in just a few years: "we purchased Turbec from Volvo Aero and ABB in 2002 - Mr Mauri continues - and we started production in Italy in 2005. The development of this technology took us 3 whole years of work".
Research has certainly not stopped there: Turbec is currently working on other hi-tech products.
“We are applying the same type of machinery in combination with biomass boilers – the entrepreneur announces – this project is taking up a lot of our time at the moment, so much so that I could say it is our main project. Up to now we are still the only firm in the world to develop a product already being industrialised. This heavy investment in the biomass sector has already given very interesting results that we will soon be able to transform into large-scale production of this type of machinery. Our aim is to develop our machinery to the point where we can achieve a 20% yield of electric energy obtained directly from biomass”.
The firm has made a very specific choice to invest more than 20% of its turnover over the last two years in research into renewable energy, which in addition to having the obvious advantage of low emissions of greenhouse gases also has considerable economic advantages. “Not only has this choice been advantageous - Mr Mauri concludes - but it is the only possible way to make a firm such as Turbec grow. Renewable energy sources and organic waste products function as the "petrol" for our electricity and heat generators.