At Endesa we are committed to technological improvement and the optimisation of the natural resources consumed at our facilities, improving efficiency in generation processes. Thus, in 2017, the following projects were undertaken, aimed at reducing pollutant gas emissions, the valuation of by-products and reducing the consumption of natural resources such as water:
INNOVAALGA and A4HW Projects: Valuation of CO2 derived from combustion gases at the Litoral thermal power plant in Almeria by the cultivation of microalgae, and the valuation of the biomass generated to obtain high-value proteins and sustainable fertilisers.
CaO2 Project: Optimisation of the CO2 capture process through carbonization-calcination cycles by experimentation at the La Pereda 1.7 MWt pilot plant.
ASHREACT: A project oriented toward the valuation of the ash derived from the coal combustion process at the thermal power plants, by means of an alkaline pre-activation process to obtain products to replace Portland cement.
CANEM: installation of a system for emulsifying water in fuel oil to reduce the emissions of NOx and particulate matter in fuel-oil boilers.
LESSOX II: A study of low-investment strategies to reduce SOx and NOx emissions at the thermal generation facilities, to adapt the plants to the new European Directive on emissions.
ORPAO: Improvement of the desulphurisation plants by optimisation of the intermediate processes, enabling a reduction in operating costs, an improvement in the quality of the gypsum and a reduction in liquid effluents, improving quality and the environment.
GYLL: pilot project for recovery of dump leachate water by the use of an innovative technology based on vibrating membranes.
MATCHING: A project funded by the H2020 European Research Programme, whose main objective is to reduce the impact of water consumption in thermal generation plants, particularly that used in the cooling process.
COAL STOCKPILING: Development of a project to prevent energy losses in coal yards as a result of natural oxidation and self-combustion processes, and also of the displacement of coal particles by wind.
CONAVA: Implementation of expert adaptive predictive control systems to optimise combustions and turbine steam temperature control in different generating plants (Teruel, As Pontes and the Besos combined cycle).
COLIFO: System to monitor the remaining life of the principal components of the boiler, with the aim of improving the operation of coal-fired thermal units.
STORE: Analysis and pilot validation of energy storage solutions to improve generation management in isolated grids.
PROTEC: Development of advanced metallic coatings for the protection of boiler pipes and increased plant availability.
‘El Hierro': Assessment of the installation of an energy storage system to boost the quality of electricity supply on the El Hierro island grid and improve the intake of renewable energy on the island.
THESIS: Study of the integration of new thermal storage technologies for solid materials to recover residual heat in electricity generation plants.
As for innovation in nuclear generation, some of the research projects include the following:
EPRI nuclear programme, the purpose of which is to achieve operating excellence of nuclear power plants.
PCI coordinated research programme, performed with the participation of companies in the sector and of the CSN (Nuclear Safety Council), whose purpose is to analyse the safety of nuclear power plants, both for their operators and for the regulatory body.
PIC joint programme of the electric companies and ENUSA, which coordinates the R&D&I activities related to nuclear fuel, defining projects of common interest.
In cooperation with the CEIDEN platform, samples of the concrete from the José Cabrera Nuclear Facility, now out of use, are to be analysed in order to obtain data of great usefulness in the improvement of the safety conditions of the facilities currently in operation.
The recovery of by-products from coal-fired thermal power plants is also a notable area of research, which we are exploring thanks to the ACTICEN Project. The aim of this project is the development and industrial validation of a new generation of sustainable concretes through the massive incorporation (over 50%) of fly ash into the conglomerate mixture. These ashes are from thermoelectric plants and have been previously processed via an innovative physical-chemical treatment, enabling concretes to be obtained with the same technological and functional properties as those with a composition including only Portland cement.
This project is being developed by a consortium headed by Endesa in which the Eduardo Torroja Institute for Construction Science belonging to the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) is also participating as technical coordinator and the companies Vías (part of the ACS group) and Prehorquisa as partners, with the ultimate aim of developing new sustainable concretes made with physical and chemically pre-activated ashes.
This technology prevents the emission into the atmosphere of around 0.7-0.8 tonnes of CO2 for each tonne of Portland cement replaced with pre-activated ashes from coal-fired power plants.
The ACTICEN Project, with file number RTC-2016-4872-5, has been financed by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, under the Retos Colaboración 2016 (2016 Collaboration Challenges) programme. This funding is co-financed by the EU via the ERDF funds, with the aim of promoting technological development, innovation and quality research.