50-MW Solar-Biomass Hybrid Power Plant

Location: Imperial Valley, Calif.

Client: MMR Power Solutions LLC

Completion Date: 2007

MMR Power Solutions is considering installing a 49.4-MW power generating station in Imperial Valley, Calif., so the company hired Burns & McDonnell as its owner’s engineer to provide front-end planning support. The generating station is a combination solar/biomass system with solar as the main fuel source and biomass providing auxiliary support to maintain consistent production. Burns & McDonnell provided process support, project definition, preliminary layouts and control estimate support services for the project.

  • Owner's engineer
  • Preliminary design
  • Solar-sizing waterfall analysis
  • Site layouts
  • Preliminary material takeoffs
  • Cost estimating
  • Permitting support
  • Request for proposal support
  • Heat and material balance
  • Water balance and process design

This 49.4-MW solar-biomass hybrid power plant, located in the Imperial Valley of Southern California on a small portion of 2,000 agricultural acres, consists of a solar power system and supplementary biomass combustor.

In the solar power system, an array of parabolic, mirrored glass panels concentrate the sun's energy into heat collection elements positioned at the focal point of parabolic collector panels. At optimal efficiency, the solar block supply is approximately 200 MW. The intermediate efficiencies and inherent auxiliary load result in the 49.4-MW capacity. The solar field provides heat, which increases the thermal fluid temperature of the hot oil supply from 555 degrees Fahrenheit to 740 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot oil supply is then pumped into a hot oil expansion tank.

The biomass combustion facility includes biomass material (cow manure) receiving, preparation and storage operations; raw material (ammonia, combustion bed material and additives, and dry scrubber additives) receiving, storage and feeding operations; a biomass feed system to biomass combustor trains; two biomass combustor trains; flue gas treatment systems; a common gas discharge stack; fly ash handling, storage and loading operations; operations control systems; and environmental controls and monitoring systems.

  • Concentrated solar power field
  • Biomass (cow manure) hot-oil heating
  • Power block
  • Site infrastructure
  • Transmission and distribution definition