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Furnas plants will be able to generate hydro and solar energy

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Furnas plants will be able to generate hydro and solar energy

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Furnas plants will be able to generate hydro and solar energy (Photo: Marcello Casal jr / Agência Brasil)

From the installation of a photovoltaic solar power generation system in and around the Itumbiara Hydroelectric Power Plant reservoir on the Paranaíba river, Furnas Centrais Elétricas will study how this type of unit can expand the type of energy produced. “It is a plant for studies,” said today (3), in an interview with Agência Brasil, the technical manager of Furnas Research, Services and Technological Innovation Management, Jacinto Maia Pimentel. Itumbiara is the largest plant in the Furnas System and is located between the municipalities of Itumbiara, Goiás, and Araporã, Minas Gerais.

Furnas' research and development (R&D) project will also work with the storage of seasonal and intermittent energies in hydrogen and electrochemical systems. “We will store energy generated from the solar source because it can only be generated during the day. In order to have a longer period of solar energy supply, we store, ”said Pimentel. This storage is done in high capacity batteries and also through hydrogen, “gas that comes back to generate electricity”. These are the two forms of storage that will be tested in the project.

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In progress
The basic project has already been started and should be completed in 32 months. "We are 16 months, in the middle of the project in terms of time," said the technical manager. The project foresees investments of R $ 44.6 million in Furnas' R&D portfolio and is the result of a partnership with the company Base-Energia Sustentável, associated with Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), the University of Campinas (Unicamp), the National Service Industrial Learning Center of Goiás (Senai-GO), the University of Bradenburg (Germany) and PV Solar.

Jacinto Maia Pimentel reported that the University of Bradenburg has experience in hydrogen storage. “This facilitates our technology route because (it means) working with those who already have experience; we are not reinventing what has already been worked on. We will already work from that point forward, ”he said.

Pimenteu pointed out that the executive project is already ready and the acquisition of high technology equipment is being carried out and being manufactured in the industries. Now will begin the deployment phase of the solar power plant in the ground. “They are two sources of photovoltaic solar generation. One on the ground and another will be floating in the reservoir, ”he said. The floor plan already has the entire PV module support system in place. These modules are imported from China and by the end of this month will already be in the plant.

Final Tests
In June, Furnas expects to carry out commissioning, ie final testing of the entire plant to put it into operation. All equipment and the interconnection between them will be tested to work together, Pimentel said. With this, the forecast is that by the end of June, the plant will be operating at capacity, allowing studies to start using this energy, together with the Itumbiara hydroelectric power.

The perspective is that, if all goes well, this solar and hydroelectric power generation system could be deployed in other Furnas plants in Brazil. "Furnas is already studying a way to use the areas of its plants and their reservoirs to generate solar energy as well," he said.

Jacinto Maia Pimentel reported that Furnas already has solar irradiation systems installed in all its plants. The company is monitoring to verify in the future where it is most appropriate to install this type of unit. Contrary to the Itumbiara Plant project, in which the solar energy generated will not be commercialized, the solar energy part of the other Furnas plants “is already a commercial vein,” confirmed the manager.

According to the requirement of the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), the monitoring must be performed within one year. Pimentel estimated that by the middle of this year, some Furnas plants will have completed monitoring. This will allow the company to enter future auctions to offer solar energy. Furnas should prioritize the plants that show higher profitability, completed the technical manager.

Best rates
The solar energy that will be generated by the photovoltaic plant will be allocated to the ancillary service system of the hydroelectric plant. This energy will total 1000 kWp (kilowatt peak, photovoltaic power unit), of which 200 kWp will come from the plates located in the plant reservoir, which will be interconnected to the 800 kWp of the other plates installed on the ground. The Itumbiara HPP was chosen because it has the best rates for solar generation compared to the other plants of the Furnas system and has an adequate reservoir for the installation of floating photovoltaic panels, the company explained through its press office.

Also according to Furnas' advisory, to obtain data to help the plant's operation, a solarimetric station and a floating wave chart were installed. The set analyzes in real time the incidence of sunlight and the intensity of the waves in the reservoir. The data obtained are sent to the Dynamics Laboratory of Furnas Services and Technological Support Management, located in Aparecida de Goiânia (GO).

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