Cranfield University in the U.K. and Manchester, U.K.-based Global CSP have partnered to develop the latter's sealed solar parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) collector system for use in power generation, air-conditioning, chilling, water purification and desalination.
The partnership will also design and build medium-scale organic Rankine cycle (ORC) generators. ORC generators use a dense organic fluid with a low boiling point temperature, allowing power generation from lower temperature sources. Global CSP says the technology works well with solar energy collectors.
Global CSP has built a 15 kW ORC prototype and plans to build two larger-scale ORC plants – 75 kW -130 kW andÂ 500 kW – at Cranfield. The partners seek to develop ORC power plants for waste heat recovery applications.
‘Traditional steam generators are used in large power plants to produce megawatts of power and use conventional steam-powered turbines to generate electricity,’ says Chris Sansom, project leader for Cranfield University. ‘However there is huge potential for the innovative ORC technology to be used with low-cost, small- to medium-scale solar thermal power units which could power industrial processes, agriculture and farming, food and drink, district heating, public buildings, as well as serving remote off-grid communities in developing countries.’
In October, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the Sacramento Municipal Utility District a $12 million grant to develop a 10 MW CSP plant for work with an existing 500 MW gas-fired plant in a cogeneration arrangement.