Cranfield University and Global CSP partner to further develop small CSP collector with ORC generators
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is very unlikely to be installed in the United Kingdom -unless global warming turns UK into a sunny tropical island-, but research and dvelopment is often independent from the future application sites.
UK's Cranfield University and Global CSP, are joining efforts to develop two solar energy projects involving a CSP collector and an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) generator.
The collaboration will involve testing and improving Global CSP’s solar energy collector system – the ‘solar captor’. Based on aircraft technology, the solar captor is fully insulated against extreme weather and offers considerable cost savings over traditionally fabricated solar energy collectors. It is designed for use in power generation, air-conditioning, chilling, water purification and desalination, providing hot-water up to super-steam for manufacturing process. In addition, the partnership will design and build a medium scale Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) generator.
ORC generators use a dense organic fluid with a low boiling point temperature, allowing power generation from lower temperature sources, making them ideal for small solar energy collectors. Global CSP have already built a small 15 kW ORC prototype but will be building two larger scale ORC power plants at Cranfield (one at 75 kW -130 kW and the second at 500 kW - 1000 kW).The ORC power plants will be used for waste heat recovery in the UK and global markets.
Dr Chris Sansom, leading the project for Cranfield University, said: “Traditional steam generators are used in large power plants to produce Megawatts of power and use conventional steam powered turbines to generate electricity. 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.”
Global CSP CEO Graham Provan said: "We are delighted to announce the collaboration with Dr Chris Sansom, one of the UK leaders in Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) along with his team. The ORC power plants will be designed and initially built at Cranfield, a leading UK university with a reputation for engineering excellence."