Samcasol CSP

Samcasol · Project Sheet

  • TEMPORARY JOINT VENTURE: TSK Electrónica y Electricidad, S.A. and MAESSA
  • CSP TECHNOLOGY: Parabolic trough collector CSP, oils (HTF) and steam.
  • SAMCASOL 1 LOCATION: Alvarado (Badajoz-Spain).
  • SAMCASOL 2 LOCATION: La Garrovilla (Badajoz-Spain)
  • AKOTRACE® electrical heat-tracing system turnkey solution
  • 8 engineers and 37 fitters.
  • 24 km of mineral insulation heating cable
  • 470 active circuits in molten salts (TES
  • 150 active circuits in oils (HTF)
  • 120 active circuits in steam
  • Over 1700 control I/O
  • 7 months of execution


The SAMCA, S.A. renewable energy company owns the two SAMCASOL 1 & 2 Concentrated Solar Power Plants (CSP), built in the municipality of Badajoz (Spain), in which AKO has supplied and installed its complete AKOTRACE® electrical heat tracing solution, in the molten salts and oil (HTF) and steam (BOP) areas.

The most important feature in this type of power plants is their parabolic trough mirror technology where tracing is a critical auxiliary service, necessary for its correct operation.

  • Electrical power: 50 MW from 2.8 km long overhead line
  • Total electricity production: 160 million KWh/year
  • Solar field measuring 220 ha, with 225,672 mirrors and 672 solar collectors in 100 km.
  • Salt system that includes molten salt storage tanks, heat exchangers, salt pumps.
  • Thermal oil system that includes main and auxiliary pumping installations, tanks, oil boilers and steam generation equipment.
  • Water-stream cycle auxiliary installations (BOP).

This thermosolar power plant is a type of sustainable installation that uses solar radiation to produce clean, efficient and safe energy capable of covering the electricity supply of thousands of households, demonstrating the different factors of CSP technologies, contributing to energy safety, on using a local resource, exploiting natural resorces and without emitting greenhouse gases.

SENER has carried out the project engineering and it has been built by a Temporary Joint Venture made up of TSK and MAESSA.

These Concentrated Solar Power Plants (CSP) are a type of sustainable installation that uses solar radiation to produce clean energy, demonstrating the differentiating factors of the CSP technologies, contributing to energy safety, on using a local resource, without emitting greenhouse gases.

The maintenance of the temperature of the transport fluid above its freezing point, in periods of low solar irradiation and in periods in which no electricity is generated, makes SAMCASOL 1 & 2's production energetically efficient.

The distinguishing feature provided by this two plant project is that it is the first thermo-solar project in which AKO has supplied its global AKOTRACE® solution in the salt concentration, and oil (HTF) and steam (BOP) areas.

The heat collected by the salts (capable of reaching, in the process phase, temperatures of over 180 ºC) is used to generate steam and, with this, produce electrical energy when solar radiation is not available. The amount of salts is around 30.000 t capable of storing 1.000 thermal MWh of energy.

The project includes using natural gas as the base fuel, at a percentage of equal to or under 15%, is designed to maintain the temperature of the fluid above freezing point, and it reaches in process phase temperatures over 400 ºC.

These two thermo-solar plants are also equipped with an integrated electricity generation system made up of a steam turbine that transforms the kinetic energy provided by the turbine into electrical energy. To answer this technical challenge, the engineering firm SENER has contracted AKO as a partner to provide its electrical heat-tracing solution, AKOTRACE®.

Project Challenge

Technical requirements, although largely already resolved by AKO in many projects executed in thermo-solar plants with parabolic trough and salt accumulation technology, HTF oil and BOP steam, added important differences such as:

  • The process working and maximum temperatures of materials in this type of plants with a risk of fire and explosion, in the circulation of the oil flow.
  • Tracing of critical points such as valves, pump heads and vertical pipelines, providing in the first case, a specific and improved solution to the one used up to the moment.
  • The availability and robustness of the control system, but above all the integration with DCS as the only TES and HTF system.
  • The scope and capacity of AKO's management in the simultaneous execution of two complete plants, that repre sent a total of 100 MW, applying its knowledge and experience and guaranteeing the efficiency and profitability of the two installations.

AKOTRACE® Solution

The scope of the AKO solution has been the execution of the turnkey electrical heat-tracing system, AKOTRACE®. AKO's strategic commitment to this project has been personally promoted by Jose Luis Bescos, General Manager of AKO: "It should be highlighted that the execution of previous projects, such as Andasol 1 & 2 and Extresol 1 & 2, has been the deciding factor for us being awarded this project and has set us apart from our competitors".

Some of the answers during the basic engineering process were based on R&D activities, led by the Innovation Director, Miguel Ángel González: " The challenge has been basically two-fold: designing a valid solution for definitively resolving the tracing of valve bonnets and pump heads, and to integrate HTF and BOP control using a single distributed system architecture. The HTF tracing system is also critical for plant operation and requires having a control system based on PLC and not on mechanical thermostats".

In the AKOTRACE® solution, it is worth mentioning that we have chosen different key technical characteristics for this project:

  • Mineral insulation cable for Salt and HTF area and self-regulating for the BOP area.
  • RTD type probes (double redundancy in salt circuits)
  • Additional safety temperature control protections
  • Specific design of heaters for singular points: valves and pumps
  • Connection redundancy and system manageability from DCS
  • Installation of AKODUO Control Trace PLCS in HTF for the control of circuits instead of mechanical thermostats.

All of the above in an execution deadline of 7 months, in which both installations have been overlapped in time and in which AKO's main qualities, customer proximity, which has provided it with all of the necessary engineering documentation, flexibility, taking part in managing the supplies and, in short, the capacity for carrying out the different works simultaneously, have been highlighted.


AKO started the Samcasol 1 & 2 Concentrated Solar Power Plant (CSP) project in March 2010 and finished it in November of the same year.

The results obtained in the introduction of the AKOTRACE® solution in such an emblematic project are:

  • Introduction of improvements in basic engineering and R&D in the form of technical and technological solutions.
  • Assurance of the criticality of the system with an efficient investment
  • The company guarantees the quality of the equipment it supplies with specific preliminary "Stress Test" studies to guarantee correct operation and it carries out spare part management, with the necessary material and staff to address any incident in the installation, as well as strictly meeting safety, health and hygiene standards.
  • Response in real time to cover two simultaneous facilities, in view of the rapid pace of the building, required by planning set to finish each of them.
  • Specialised training of the plant's staff on the correct operation of the tracing system and its installation.
  • Transparent integration with the plant's management system to make plant maintainability easier.

The execution of this project complements the experience and knowledge acquired by AKO throughout its over 30 years of experience, which has positioned it as the world leader, committed to renewable energy future technologies in parabolic trough and concentration tower Concentrated Solar Power Plant (CSP) Projects.

About AKO

Over 30 years of innovation and with 130 people team of in-house professionals AKO Electromecànica, S.A.L. is a Spanish company leader in the Regulation and Control of Temperature with Electrical Heat Tracing Solutions for Concentrated Solar Power Plants (CSP), that offers comprehensive support from project design and manufacturing, to technical assistance, to the System commissioning (turnkey projects) and after-sales service. Electrical Heat Tracing System AKOTRACE® based the heating cable technology, providing advantages and savings on energy and the overall cost of the installation, with a reliable and secure management, ensuring the health, safety and respect for the environment.

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