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Pitot probe for non-ideal compressible flows of organic fluids for renewable energy applications

Project description

New pitot tube improves the efficiency of organic Ranking cycle

The organic Rankine cycle (ORC) is one of the most economic and efficient ways of generating electricity from low-temperature heat sources of limited capacity. It is a thermodynamic cycle that uses a working fluid different from water to convert heat into work. Non-ideal compressible fluid dynamics is largely encountered in ORCs. Calibration of the measuring instrument is therefore key to improving the quality of plant measurements and the overall energy conversion process. The EU-funded PROVA project aims to scale up their newly developed accurate multipurpose probe for non-ideal flows, called non-ideal pitot probe. Its successful commercialisation will allow more effective ORC heat recovery from lower temperature sources such as biomass combustion, industrial waste heat, geothermal heat, or solar ponds.


In a scenario of rising global energy needs, societal acceptance of renewable energy and yearning towards energy saving, the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology is playing a relevant role for a variety of renewable energy sources, from biomass to geothermal. ORC applications include also waste heat recovery from industrial processes, a segment with strong development potential. Due to the peculiarity of non-ideal flows in ORCs, measurements such as velocity, mass flow rate or turbine performance, which are routinely carried out in standard cycles and turbomachinery (e.g. gas turbines operating with air and combustion gases), are here very challenging. In addition, no appropriately calibrated instrumentation for non-ideal conditions are available, due to the lack of ad-hoc calibration facilities and calibration data. Such an instrument is key to the industry to improve the quality of their plant measurements and the overall energy conversion process. To tackle the aforementioned issues, the team has conceived a standardised methodology, taking advantages of the research facilities and of the developments on simulation tools carried out at the Laboratory of Compressible fluid dynamics for Renewable Energy Application (CREA, during the ERC Consolidator NSHOCK project, for the design and calibration of an accurate multipurpose probe for non-ideal flows, the Non-Ideal Pitot Probe (NIPP), for economical and independent instant data acquisition. A solution that raised the interest of the leading ORC players, representing over 90% of the market (see letters of interest) and of relevant manufacturer in close field of applications (oil & gas, compressors). Within the ERC PoC PROVA project, we intend to scale up the NIPP technology and accelerate its maturity level, thus assessing its technical and commercial feasibility. A prototipe of the NIPP probe, calibrated for a typical ORC working fluid (siloxane fluid MM), is the tangible outcome of the present proposal.



Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
Piazza leonardo da vinci 32
20133 Milano

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Nord-Ovest Lombardia Milano
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)