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Tunisia’s advanced solar thermal power generation backed by Japanese R&D agency

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Tunisia inked an agreement to commence large-scale solar thermal power generation with New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan’s administrative agency for policy based R&D project, on 13th Dec 2010. Currently, Tunisia government is conducting “Tunisia Solar Plan” which has 40 energy efficiency projects from 2010 to 2016 using Public-Private Partnership scheme.

Tunisia

At El Borma of Tunisia, this plant incorporates 5 MW concentrated solar heat steam production facility of power tower and 40 MW gas turbine combined cycle power plant. Reportedly, this is a unique combination in solar thermal power field. The illustration shows that concentrated heat produces steam which is transferred to steam turbine generator co-working with gas turbine generator. This combination is expected to produce electricity more efficiently than before.

NEDO is a public R&D entity playing a unique role in energy fields as well as other advanced technology including water purification. Supported by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the agency has about 1,000 professional staffs with $2 billion annual budget. It carefully selects R&D themes from focused field such as renewable energy. Then, it makes a detailed R&D project plan to be conducted by an awarded company. In most cases, NEDO invites applications for their R&D projects from qualified companies. Since such projects are conducted by using advanced technology of the awarded company’s own, which may have value of a new patent, the intellectual property of the unique technology used for the project will belong to the awarded company. Here, NEDO works just as an organizational project manager.

In Tunisia’s project, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding having technology of concentrated solar power and Taisei Corporation with construction technology will join as awarded companies.

In recent years, NEDO is expanding partnerships with foreign governments and municipalities. There are several big projects, namely, smart grid pilot at New Mexico, waste water purification project at Ras al-Khaimah of UAE and power and water projects in China.

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