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Antonio María Pino

CEO de Refractaris

Article published in the magazine “Agenda de la Empresa”, in its September 2020 issue

Spain. Last June 23rd, the Royal Decree Law approved the measures to promote the energy transition towards a one hundred percent renewable electric system with the purpose of favoring the economic reactivation from the strategy of the European green agenda and the pact signed on December 11th last year.
The Royal Decree, among other issues, included “new business models” key to this momentum, setting its regulation: storage, to manage the energy generated, and hybridization, to facilitate the combination of sources by improving the use of networks and minimizing environmental impact.
Those of us who have been defending the value of energy hybridization for electricity generation for years expected that, sooner or later, the value of renewable sources in the agendas of governments would be adapted to their technological evolution, faster than expected, and the optimization of their costs, in parallel with their technical advances for the development of industries.
For this reason, we must celebrate the steps taken in this direction in our country and conclude that, apart from other considerations, two fundamental keys to the future of energy have been identified and recognized: storage and hybridization.
Today, the hybrid energy plants and projects are already contrasted realities and indisputable solutions for the future and the different models, combinations between photovoltaic solar, wind, hydraulic, solar concentration and biomass, have an extraordinary capacity for growth that we will see in the coming years. And in my opinion, the hybrid models between concentrated solar power, better known as thermosolar, and biomass are one of the most outstanding.

Solar thermal leadership

There is a little known fact in our country, at a majority level, and that is that we are world leaders in the field of concentrating solar power, better known as solar thermal, technological leaders with reference companies.
On a domestic level, the road travelled over the last 15 years has been difficult for Spanish companies, with far-reaching legislative and remuneration changes that have conditioned their development, the outlook has improved and the forecast of the 5 GW of new capacity contemplated in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 should be sufficient.
At the international level, thermal solar energy will continue to advance and the prospects are equally positive because the competitiveness of the installations is increasing. Not only because of the gradual reduction of their costs, but also because they store -on a large scale, which also reduces costs- and deliver punctually to the electrical systems, covering the demand curves.
As for biomass, is the largest source of renewable energy worldwide, representing in terms of consumption over 70 percent of the total, according to the Global Bioenergy Association, and in our country, given the forest and agricultural area, is one of the major European sources.
The hybridization of solar thermal energy and biomass dramatically increases electricity and thermal generation and ensures storage and delivery to systems. But in addition, it enters fully into the developments of the circular economy and clean energies for the recycling of waste and its energy use.
If the new plants take up what has been learned in recent years (from costs to maintenance) and open up to hybridization, with biomass and even with photovoltaic, it is very possible that we will find ourselves with a spectacular development. Because hybridization is the future of energy.