European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Organic Rankine Cycle - Prototype Link to Unit Storage

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ORC-PLUS (Organic Rankine Cycle - Prototype Link to Unit Storage)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2019-10-31

The deregulation of the electric power generation market and the currently evolution of the environmental regulations inspire the next development of distributed utilities close to local power loads. This trend will permit to reduce the oversizing of the power grid and the costs of the transmission and distribution of the electric power. In this frame the CSP power plants of few Megawatts coupled with advanced TES systems will could play an important role because they have all the characteristics to closely track demand and potential growth in local electrical power loads, in addition, respect at other systems, they can easily integrated in local district heating.

In this frame the H2020 ORC-PLUS Project aims to develop a level of pilot an innovative Thermal Energy Storage system capable to extend the power production of an existing solar thermal power plant located in Morocco using linear Fresnel collectors technology as solar field and a ORC turbine with a rated output of 1 MWel as power unit. The Heat transfer fluid employed by exiting CSP plant is an environmentally friendly mineral oil that work in the range 180°C -300°C.

The project will allow to support the electrification programmes of rural and semi-urban areas, creating new opportunities of investment in peripheral areas with positive socio-economic benefit. A significant effect of this cooperation is the network for the exchange of experiences and mutual support between European and Moroccan stakeholders that is the key to develop a new model of renewable power plant oriented to support the development of the local population.

The goal of the ORC-PLUS Project is to validate, in a relevant industrial context, an innovative TES system optimized for a mid-size CSP plant coupled with an ORC turbine of 1MWe.The validation in a relevant environment of this new model of CSP plant will permit to accelerate the development of local green smart grids.
The starting point of ORC-PLUS project is the CSP plant located at Green Energy park of IRESEN in Benguerir, Morocco. This plant is composed by a solar field of FRESNEL solar collectors, using a thermal oil as Heat Transfer Fluid , and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power block coupled with an aircooler. Compared to this initial status of this plant, ORC-PLUS project , developing an optimized combination of innovative units of TES and engineering tools specialized for this kind of plants, aims to increase up to 4 hours the power production of the plant during sunless hours ensuring competitive production costs with the target market
the ORC-PLUS consortium, to achieve the goal of the project, has analysed two different TES thermocline systems at a prototype level, where the first TES system utilises a mixture of salts melting at low temperature as Heat Storage Material (HSM), and the second one uses magnetite pebbles and oil as HSM + Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF)
At the end of the second period time the ORC-PLUS consortium has presented his economic evaluation about the comparison of the two aforesaid TES technologies, which provided evidence that the solution based on thermocline oil + magnetite pebbles is cheaper than the solution based on thermocline with low temperature melting salts. This difference is due in part by the lesser cost of the magnetite material, and in part by the different quantity of HSM (the solution based on the molten salts is disadvantaged by the max operative temperature of the HTF employed in the solar field).
In the end of November 2017 the ORC-PLUS consortium was completed the final design of the pilot TES system elaborated on the base of the main outcomes performed in the framework of the WP2 (developing of simulation models); WP3 (material characterization analysis), WP4 (design and realization of the trial TES system).
This action has been accompanied by an in-depth analysis of risk assessment to identify the potential risks that could contribute to the failure of the Project. The approach followed during the analysis of risk assessment was to use the project ongoing as test case to outline the more important particularities of innovative solar thermodynamic energy projects like ORC-PLUS plant.

On site it was completed the installation of the Fresnel solar collector of the solar field of the ORC-PLUS project .

According to the project, CIC has realized a trial TES prototype in scale size of 1/100 with oil and FSMs (magnetite) and completed the experimental tests of characterization of the system. In parallel, F-ISE has completed the tests on his experimental mock up. The F-ISE experimental mock up is a molten salts thermocline system without internal heat exchanger, designed to show the effect of inserting a heat exchanger in a single-tank system and to contribute, with the experimental results, to the model validation of the TES system based on the molten salts. ENEA have completed the construction of their prototypes dedicated at analysis of the behaviour of an innovative oil heat exchangers specialized for the thermocline TES system with low melting molten salts.

At end of October 2019 They have been completed the construction and the cold commissioning of the TES pilot plant at Green Energy Park (Ben Guerir - Morocco)
ORC-PLUS aims to develop a renewable technical power generation that currently, in some areas of the Mediterranean or in Sub-Saharan Africa, is covered by the Diesel generators. The expected reduction of the CO2 emission has been fixed at 920 tCO2/y (factor of conversion employed: 0,460 tCO2/MWhe for year).
Market Transformation
The smaller size of this new CSP concept requires lower investment compared to large CSP plants, so this action will allow at the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a chance to enter the future smart market of renewable generation power
The project will allow to support the electrification programmes of rural and semi-urban sites and will provide access to electricity to marginalized social classes. This will permit to provide new guarantees and to incentive private investors to relocate the industrial or commercial activities in peripheral areas., Everything said , the project will permit to promote territorial cohesion and inclusive economic growth models.
Improving EU energy security
The ORC-PLUS will contribute to improving EU energy security because it supports the developing of small storage systems supplied by renewable energy source, which are the key elements to favour success of the integration of the renewable with conventional generation (smart grid).
Joint actions with member states/Associated countries
The ORC-PLUS will permit to improve the coordination of energy R&I programmes with partner associated countries such as Morocco (directly involved in the project) and other countries creating the bases for further positive contribution at the social EU security
ORC PLUS prototypes built in the framework of the project activities at F-ISE,CIC, ENEA
ORC PLUS solar collectors installeted at Green Energy Park (Morocco)
Tank installetion operations at Green Energy Park (Morocco)