Solar power plant | Atacama desert (CL)

Solar power plant | Atacama desert (CL)

The Atacama desert in Chile is known as the driest place in the world. Moreover, some places have never received rain at all.

Thanks to these specific conditions, it was decided to use the power of the sun in an unusual way to produce electricity.

The project consisted in the realisation of a solar power plant, made of a 200 meter concrete tower that should support a steel structure of 2,000 tons including mirrors and salt tanks.

How does this solar plant work ? The rays of the sun are reflected by sensors located on the ground towards receiver mirrors located at the top of the tower. This radiator heats a saline product used as a thermal energy storage system able to generate electricity for 15 hours without direct solar radiation.

The challenge of this project was also to pay attention to the high seismic risk existing in that region. This is in these specific conditions that SECO International was involved in this project.

A concrete tower (height of 200m) supports a steel structure of abt. 2.000 ton supporting mirrors and salt tanks.

SECO’s Intervention


SECO’s assignment was to

  • verify the concept of the structure in case of earthquake.
  • verify the steel structure (main sections and details) at the top of the concrete tower in seismic conditions.
  • help CMI to prepare the design documents and drawings for approval by a Chilean earthquake specialist (regulatory framework).

SECO's partners


Project Owner : Cockerill Maintenance & Ingenierie (C.M.I)

Structural Engineer : Greisch