Acronym: ORC-PLUS

Project title: Dispatchable small-scale solar thermal electricity

Time Period: From June 2015 to April 2019


Total Budget: 7.3 Million 

Financing:  EU H2020 project number 657690

Short description:

ORC-PLUS focuses on increasing the technological performance of renewable energy systems, reducing costs and improving dispatchability. The aim is to develop an optimized combination of innovative Thermal Energy Storage-TES (specialized for CSP scale 1-5 MWe) and engineering solutions to improve the number of production hours of an existing small CSP plant, located in a desert area and coupled with an ORC system.

With an optimized TES solution, it is possible to extend periods of energy production of a CSP plant (also during non-solar radiation), eliminating or minimizing the need to burn fossil or renewable fuels in hybrid or back-up systems. Nowadays, efforts are being devoted to R&D on TES for large-scale plants, though large potential for small/medium-scale CSP installations exists. 

The technology proposed here is based on a solar field, using a thermal oil as Heat Transfer Fluid and an ORC power unit coupled with an innovative TES. The experimental demonstration of two different industrial prototypes of TES systems will be performed in relevant environment. For each prototype, a simulation model of the pilot processes will be developed, with prototypes of TES systems.

The models will be optimized on the basis of the characteristics of the site and power load, to determine conditions and relevant parameters of the real scenarios for each application and to select the TES technology best fitting the needs of the targeted sector. The final result will be an industrial pilot plant used to validate the technology in a real operational environment and to demonstrate its feasibility. Validation includes an analysis of the techno-economic viability and environmental impact, and of the replicability of the pilot plant final design.

This project is supported by three support letters of ESTELA, ANEST and Green Energy Park (Morocco).

Website: http://www.orc-plus.eu/