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Ashalim Power Station

In 1956, David Ben-Gurion spoke about his vision for “utilizing the extensive solar energy in Israel and especially in the Negev”. Six decades later in 2015, the construction of a solar station commenced in Ashalim, generating electricity from solar radiation.

Two stations producing 121 MWh have been established, one station operating on parabolic trough technology, half a million mirrors installed on steel constructions which are fixed to the ground, the reflection of which heats thermal oil inside insulated pipes to a temperature of 400 degrees Celsius.

A system of heat converters heats water which generates steam to power a huge turbine. An electricity generator is connected to the turbine.

A further feature of this station is its ability to store solar energy during the day, which is released during the night and generates additional electricity for approx. 5 hours and this as aforesaid without direct sunlight. The extra energy is stored by means of two large steel tanks (base wall thickness of approx. 63 mm and weighing 1,070 tons each) which store a special chemical salt that heats up during the day and heats the oil during the night.

A second station operates using the solar radiation concentration technology, using thousands of mirrors that track the sun’s motion across the sky so that the sunlight reflected from the mirror is directed to a fixed point in the solar tower where water is heated to a temperature of approx. 550 degrees Celsius. The steam generated is fed into the turbine and henceforth the power generation process is identical to a normal power plant. Having traversed the turbine the steam is cooled and returned to the tower as reusable water.

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