The Jordan Minister of Environment, Dr Taher Shakhshir, inaugurated the first solar steam system in Jordan on 17 May 2015. The Fresnel collector plant was set up on the roof of pharmaceuticals producer Ram Pharma, located at the Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein Industrial Estate about 15 km away from Amman, Jordan’s capital. The concentrating Fresnel collectors manufactured by Industrial Solar, Germany, supply steam at 160 °C to the factory’s steam grid, which provides the energy needed for sterilisation, drying and fermenting. Solar energy is said to save around 30 % of the annual diesel demand for Ram Pharma processes.
Photo: Silke Anders
A long planning process is finally behind the solar specialists from Industrial Solar who set up the turnkey installation. “We had the first talks with our client in mid-2012,” Christian Zahler, Managing Director of Industrial Solar, recalls. “Solar concentrating collectors are an entirely new technology in Jordan, so it took some effort to convince the customer.” In the end, the decisive factor for Ram Pharma was the company’s diesel demand, which caused high expenses each year. What furthermore helped in the decision-making process was a subsidy approved by the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, in the framework of a private-public partnership project (develoPPP). “Guaranteed solar results are another means of increasing commercial client confidence in solar concentrating technology,” Zahler explains, without providing further information on the agreement with Ram Pharma.
Annual solar yield predicted at 860 kWh/m²
The collector field consists of 18 LF-11 Fresnel collectors with a total aperture area of 396 m² and a peak capacity of 223 kWth. Installation began in November 2014 and was completed in March 2015. “The system has been up and running for two months,” Martin Haagen, Business Development Manager at Industrial Solar, confirms. Simulations have shown a specific yield of 860 kWh/m² per year at the sun-rich site with an annual direct normal irradiance (DNI) of around 2,500 kWh/m²a.
Ram Pharma purchased and is operating the innovative solar installation. The company has produced and distributed various pharmaceutical dosage forms since 1992. The investment costs of the solar plant were not published. Industrial solar has merely confirmed that the payback period is seven years, including subsidies.