LEAK: New safety system for oil leakage in heat exchangers for hybrid solar power plants.


Project co-funded by the Government of the Principality of Asturias through IDEPA, the Science, Technology and Innovation Plan (PCTI) 2018-2020 and the European Union through ERDF funds.

Renewable Energy


The main objective of the LEAK project is to determine a new safety system for oil leaks in heat exchangers in hybrid photovoltaic-solar plants and/or in independent energy storage plants, guaranteeing efficient, reliable and safe energy production and storage. This type of plant presents a new risk that did not exist in previous solar thermal or photovoltaic plants. Conventional solar thermal plants work with oil in the solar field up to 400ºC and the salts are stored at the same temperature. The salt tanks are inertised with nitrogen to prevent fires in the event of HTF and to protect the plant. In the new plants, the oil in the solar field is also heated up to 400ºC. However, in this case the salts are heated up to 565°C by electric heaters after being heated by the oil. At this storage temperature, the degradation is much higher and therefore the use of an air atmosphere is recommended. On the other hand, in case of a puncture in the HTF-salt exchangers, the HTF could reach the salt tanks, posing a safety hazard.