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Periodic Report Summary 2 - REELCOOP (Research Cooperation in Renewable Energy Technologies for Electricity Generation)

Project Context and Objectives:
The overall aim of REELCOOP is to significantly enhance research cooperation and knowledge creation on renewable electricity generation, involving Mediterranean partner countries (MPC), while at the same time developing and testing new renewable electricity generation systems. The proposed systems are to be developed in European organisations with collaboration of MPC partners, and tested under real-life operating conditions in the MENA region, thus establishing a cooperation network amongst partner countries.
Three novel prototype systems are to be developed and tested, being representative of both micro-scale (distributed) and large-scale (centralised) approaches to electricity generation: prototypes 1 (BIPV) and 2 (hybrid solar/biomass micro-CHP) are representative of typical micro-generation systems, while prototype 3 (hybrid CSP/biomass) is representative of a large scale power plant on a reduced scale. The development of the 3 prototypes will also contribute to bring to the market energy efficient, renewable electricity generation systems. The environmental sustainability and economics of the prototype systems will be assessed, and the results obtained will be disseminated to industry and research, as proof-of-concept of REEL generation solutions. Grid integration will also be assessed. The prototype systems will have a great potential for exploitation/commercialization. The commercialisation of the systems will bring economic and environmental benefits to the EU.
Table 1 presents the main target characteristics of the 3 prototype systems.

Table 1: Target characteristics of REELCOOP prototype systems
Prototype system Energy sources Electricity output Overall efficiency Level. elect. cost
1- BIPV solar 6 kW 15% 0.200 €/kWhe
2- CHP-ORC solar thermal/biomass 6 kW 10% (electrical) 0.200 €/kWhe
3- CSP plant solar/biomass 60 kW 10% 0.190 €/kWhe

Dissemination of both project achievements and other renewable electricity generation solutions, including those not directly addressed by the developed technologies (prototypes), is another goal. This is to be achieved by means of regular newsletters and dedicated workshops, open to the general public.

Project Results:
Work on the prototype systems performed during this first period (18 months) was mostly related to prototype and components development, aiming to achieve a final design for each of them. All components were developed as expected, and system simulation models were successfully developed and applied to predict final prototypes’ performances. A final design for all 3 prototypes was defined. In the second period (months 19 to 36) the construction of the 3 prototypes was carried out, by manufacturing most of the components, but also buying and gathering some components from outside companies. Installation of the 3 prototypes started after month 24, followed by their commissioning. This was completed for prototype 1 (BIPV), with field test results available since February 2016. All components of prototype 2 (hybrid solar/biomass micro-CHP) were manufactured/obtained, but logistic and financial problems with one of the consortium partners (Termocycle) did not allow the transportation of the power-ORC unit to Morocco for installation and testing; as a result, changes to the initial plan are under discussion. Concerning prototype 3 (hybrid CSP/biomass power plant), installation of all components is almost finalised on the test site in Tunisia, and field testing will follow.

Concerning prototype 1 (P1), both C-Si and DSC photovoltaic cells and modules were developed and experimentally characterised. Testing in outdoor conditions with six C-Si modules (155 Wp each) allowed the quantification of the ventilation effect in BIPV façades, as well as the validation of a simulation model developed with TRNSYS-TRNFLOW. P1 was installed in a building at Yasar University, Turkey. The PV façade has a total of 48 C-Si modules, with a total façade area of 57.6 m2 (cell area of 42.1 m2) and will be able to generate up to 7.4 kW, with a predicted annual output of 4.2 MWh/year. The system, which is connected to the campus internal grid, has a predicted average cell efficiency of 13%, based on cell area and including shading effect. One must note that the test building was a second option, after the first becoming unavailable, and has a significant average shading coefficient of 35%, due to neighbour buildings; the efficiency would be significantly higher than 15% in the first option, or if no significant shading is present. Figure 1 shows a PV module and the test façade.

Concerning P2, a system layout was defined allowing operation in all possible modes: solar-only, biomass-only or hybrid. A novel stationary solar thermal collector was developed, of the CPC-vacuum tube type, allowing flexible installation and tilt manual regulation. The measured efficiency at 177ºC outlet temperature is equal to 51% (at 1000 W/m2 normal irradiance), with a stagnation temperature of 463ºC, for an ambient temperature of 37ºC. These are excellent values, much better than for existing equivalent commercial models. After manufacture, the solar field was installed in Green Energy Park (Ben Guerir, Morocco). It has a total of 32 collector modules, with a total aperture area of 146 m2. An olive oil waste was chosen as biomass source, after chemical and direct combustion tests, allowing the selection of a suitable biomass boiler. A novel rotary-lobe expander and generator were also developed based on improved existing units, but the ORC power unit (6 kWe) was not delivered due to problems with partner Termocycle. A TRNSYS-based model was developed and indicates, for the climatic conditions of Ben Guerir (Morocco), an average (annual) electrical output of 50.6 MWh/year, and an average electrical-only efficiency of 7%, assuming hybrid continuous operation during 24 hours/day. The electrical efficiency can be increased up to 12% by increasing biomass share. Figure 2 shows a view of P2 solar collectors and biomass facility.

Concerning P3, the hybrid CSP/biomass plant, a final design was also accomplished for installation in Tunis. The solar collector field was manufactured and uses parabolic trough collectors, with an area of 979 m2, for direct steam generation. The boiler will use biogas obtained by digestion of canteen food waste, although biogas production is limited and will be complemented by other biogas sources or natural gas (for testing purposes). The power circuit uses a novel ORC unit, operating at a maximum turbine inlet temperature of 160ºC. The turbine and electric generator were designed and manufactured to be adapted to time varying conditions in the solar field. A small-scale PCM storage unit was developed in parallel, but will not be included in P3. P3 system simulations were developed with Greenius for solar-only operation, and with Ebsilon for both solar-only and solar/biomass modes. Results showed a poor performance of the solar-only (without storage) operation, especially in Winter months. Hybrid operation significantly enhances system efficiency, allowing to achieve an annual average efficiency of about 10%, when operating 24 hours/day with the solar collectors and a 530 kW boiler. The predicted annual electrical production was estimated at 515 MWh/year, for the local climatic conditions of Tunis. P3 installation and commissioning is almost finalised and field tests will start in the beginning of 2017. Figure 3 shows views of the P3 test site.

Project results have been disseminated through the website, including all publications. Relevant REEL-related events have also been announced at the website, including those organised by other EU-funded projects. Newsletters were published every 6 months, with 6 issues published up to now; these newsletters included information on REELCOOP developments, but also information on outside REEL developments.
Project Workshops were planned to serve both as training and dissemination means. They are open to outside public (companies, professionals, energy organisations) and junior researchers of partners (not directly working in REELCOOP). The first Workshop took place in Rabat (Morocco) on 11 April 2014, with the theme “State-of-the-art on Renewable Electricity Generation”, and 200 people attended it, with 150 not belonging to the two organising projects. The second Workshop took place on 27 October 2015, under the theme “REEL Generation: the distributed approach”, and was hosted by CDER in Algeria, with more than 100 attendants. All presentations made are available at the REELCOOP website.

Potential Impact:
The major technical expected results for the 3 prototypes have been presented in the previous section, and are in-line with the initial expectations, although P2 installation and field tests are late and have to be revised.
A wide socio-economic impact is expected, after project results, prototype demonstration and dissemination activities. An excellent work relationship was developed within the consortium, which will also lead to external impacts. The overall impacts so far are judged as very positive.
Several technical developments were achieved, which will certainly lead to technology transfer, as a direct result of the project work.

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