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GİLA BENMAYOR > Solar tower at Mersin

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Turkey which is foreign dependent to a huge extent in energy is taking significant steps regarding “renewable energy.”

Recently, I have noticed that I am coming across visionary people more frequently who invest in “renewable energy” in a wide spectrum from geothermal to wind energy.

One of them is engineer Serdar Erturan who has worked in the solar energy sector of the United States for long years.

An expert in thermodynamics, Serdar Erturan, has been involved, for the past 15 years, with Research and Development and design in companies operating in the field of solar energy. For the past seven years, he has focused on the concentrated solar power (CSP) system that can only be found in the United States, Spain and Israel.

Then one day, he has got a mad idea of, adopting the CPS system that is installed at the top of a tower built by light material, “on Turkey which is located on the world’s important solar belt.”

Erturan’s Turkey venture began with Yılsan Holding noticing and appreciating his “CPS Solar Tower” project. Yılsan Holding has a 60-year past operating in hydroelectric, wind and geothermal fields in Turkey.

Erturan and Yılsan Holding first founded the Greenway Company that would conduct the project, and then they start searching for a location to erect the tower.

This part of the story is quite interesting because Erturan started locating hunting in sunny spots in Turkey. .
He visits the organized industrial zones in Antalya, Adana, Isparta, Karaman and Burdur and techno parks in universities in vain.

Either the locations to be rented are too expensive or people do not understand what good a “solar tower” does.

“Rental areas in Antalya are extremely expensive. When I mentioned CPS, they kind of thought I was an hotelier or something,” he explained laughing.

Finally, the tiny Toroslar Municipality at the Mediterranean province Mersin welcomes the solar tower and Erturan’s one and a half year old “forced journey” on the roads of Turkey comes to an end.

CPS Solar Tower built in Mersin in eight months is a prototype and has a power of 5 megawatts. The project where more than 20 engineers worked on accommodates nearly 120 companies of all sizes which have participates at design and production stages. According to Erturan, the project contains “many firsts in the world regarding design.” For example the 510 pieces of “smart mirrors” monitoring the sun during the day at appropriate angles was produced by Şişe Cam Company after a 2.5-year-long R&D period.

The total cost of the project is $50 million. The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) has supported the project with 400,000 Turkish Liras.

I asked Serdar Erturan who said the target of the Greenway Company was to build 10 to 50 megawatt power plants in how many years would the $50 million would refund itself.

Without hesitation, he said, “Two years,” because, “the prototype in Mersin has the features of a most advanced technology among existing solar towers in the world. Our most innovative feature is that we have wireless communication.”

Right at this point, I have to mention that Greenway targets to open up to world markets by developing this technology it has initiated at Mersin.

According to Serdar Erturan, the biggest demand to the “solar tower” is from the Middle East.

Even though they are oil and natural gas rich, Gulf countries are engaged in a “renewable energy” campaign, as well as Jordan are interested in the project. It is only a matter of time that the Greenway Company strikes a deal for a 10 megawatt station with this country. On this matter, Erturan said, “Jordan will have the opportunity to generate electricity in a much chapter way with the solar tower.”

A small note for those who wonder what the biggest advantage of the “CSP Solar Tower”is compared to the photovoltaic system widely used in the world:

While the photovoltaic system requires wide areas such as 1,000 decares; our solar tower can be set up on a land of 80 decares.

April/23/2013

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