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Innovation and synergy: SADDN launches a mobile solar power system

Published 19.3.2024

As part of Techint Engineering & Construction's ongoing commitment to energy transition, the Seville Power office, in partnership with the Corporate Innovation area and TEPAM Chile, has designed an original project for medium-scale workshops.


This is the first time that Techint Engineering & Construction will implement a mobile solar power system at a project, to be launched at the Desalinated Water Supply for the Northern District (SADDN in Spanish) project in Chile. Made possible thanks to the collaborative efforts of the company’s different areas and offices, the overall objective is to contribute to decarbonizing processes by producing clean energy and reducing dependence on diesel generators.

Unlike conventional solar panels, usually installed on the roofs of buildings or else as fixed structures on the ground, this is a mobile ensemble which can be set up quickly anywhere, ideal for TEPAM management as it adds another asset to its fleet.

The 72-kWp portable photovoltaic generator comes inside a 20-foot container (with a maximum load capacity of some 28,000 kg), manufactured by the French company EcoSun. Acquired by Techint E&C last year, after the Seville Power office team’s final visit to the manufacturer, the generator package left France bound for the SADDN project in northern Chile last February 9. It’s scheduled to arrive during the month of March.


Main features

The solar panels are delivered as a package inside the container, and are deployed outside it, covering some 400 m2 of surface area to capture the sun’s rays. This leaves the inverters, panels and all the necessary electrical system ready for use inside the container. At the SADDN, the system will be connected to conventional diesel generators to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

“In order to begin using this technology in projects, TEPAM has agreed with SADDN that the ownership of the equipment would be equivalent to the cost of renting a diesel generator plus the cost of the fuel needed to run it. This agreement is what enabled our first pilot project, so we can continue incorporating more units based on field experience,” comments Alejandro Aguirre, Innovation & Knowledge Management Sr. Manager.


Collaboration and multiculturalism

Jose Olmo Ruiz, Civil Design Lead Engineer, explains that, “The initiative came from the Innovation area who asked us to collaborate from an Engineering point of view. Also, as we’re located in Seville, we could go to France to carry out the tests. This is how we’re collaborating with work related to the energy transition and decarbonization. We’re involved in developments such as LNG, wind farms, biomass and hydrogen use, for instance. We’ve worked with all the Group companies (Ternium, Tenaris and Tecpetrol), as well as with the sites and offices in the various regions where Techint E&C is present.”

The mobile solar generation system acquired by Techint E&C will:

- Occupy the same surface area as a five-a-side soccer field.

- Reduce CO2 emissions by an annual 64,000 kg, equivalent to planting some 3,500 trees per year.

- Reduce diesel use at the projects by some 25,000 liters per year.


An ideal place for a test run

The SADDN project lies in the Antofagasta region, in northern Chile, which is one of the best places to try out the equipment because of the many hours of intense sunlight in the area. These solar panel are photovoltaic, which means that when the sun's rays hit the panel’s photovoltaic cells, the light photons stimulate the electrons in the semiconductor material making up the cells, generating a direct electric current. This energy is transformed into alternating current through the inverters and feeds low voltage panels at the points where it is placed. It can also be stored in batteries for better energy management.

The equipment will be set up at PK 100 on the pipeline route, where there is enough room to deploy the solar panels and full sun most days. “We’ll lay out the solar panels at ground level, which will help with assembly and maintenance, and also reduces the probability of damage from strong winds or earthquakes,” comments Miguel Casquet, Logistics Manager at SADDN.

At Techint E&C, we’re working hard to promote safer and more sustainable energy. This portable solution exemplifies our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint over the next few years. It’s also a good illustration of how collaboration between the Group's various areas and companies can promote innovation, one of our company’s core values.

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