Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ORC-PLUS Report Summary

Project ID: 657690

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ORC-PLUS (Organic Rankine Cycle - Prototype Link to Unit Storage)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ORC-PLUS aims at increasing the technological performance of renewable energy systems, reducing costs and improving dispatchability (production on demand) and number of hours of production of an existing small CSP plant located in a desert area of Morocco. The technology proposed is based on a solar field, using a thermal oil as Heat Transfer Fluid and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power unit coupled with an innovative Thermal Energy Storage (TES).
The starting point of ORC-PLUS is a CSP plant in Benguerir, Morocco. Compared to the initial status of this plant, by developing an optimized combination of innovative units of TES and engineering tools specialized for this kind of plants, the project aims to increase up to 20 MWht, i.e. approximately 4 hours on demand power production of the plant during sunless hours.
The final result of ORC-PLUS 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 action will be useful to define the specifications and requirements needed for the proposed applications for the industrial sector of reference. The objective is to get as final result a pre-commercial solution.
In its full development, ORC-PLUS will perform an experimental demonstration in relevant environment of two different industrial prototypes of TES systems. 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.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"The target of the simulation (WP2) has been focused on the operation strategies and on how the plant system could be used to get the maximum performances. In order to optimize the energy efficiency of the Turbine and then to increase the production of power, it was necessary to analyze the utilization of the TES system in particular operative conditions of the Turbine-solar field system (e.g., in the morning the energy stored in the TES system can be employed to feed the ORC Turbine, waiting that the output of the solar field reaches the optimal operating conditions).
The material characterization analysis (WP3) have interested a full experimental characterization of Heat Storage Materials (HSMs) employed in the two TES solutions proposed. These activities have included also the aging aspects and the chemical interaction among the HSMs and the TES structure materials in the different functioning conditions. In order to reduce maintainance and capital costs and the execution time of the project, the choice of the HSMs (for both technology solutions) and of the structural material of the tank employed in the project has been performed with the support of industrial partners
According to the project, CIC has realized a trial TES prototype in scale size of 1/100 with oil and FSMs (magnetite) and started with the experimental tests of characterization of the system. In parallel, F-ISE has tested a molten salt thermocline system without internal heat exchanger to show the effect of inserting a heat exchanger into a single-tank system and contribute to the results for model validation (D4.1).
At the site of the pilot plant have already been started the works to integrate the IRESEN CSP plant with ORC-PLUS pilot plant; they have already terminated the preparation of: - the solar field (levelling, drainage system, realization of a gravel substrates to prevent the formation of dust that may be detrimental for the health of the worker and optical instrumentation), - the foundation of the TES tank, - the predisposition of the piping of the plant to connect the TES with the ORC-Turbine, and - the Fire Fighting Air system. In the intent to create the local market and in line with the features of the DoW , in this phase, has been considered the possibility to select the local manufactures as subcontractors. Soltigua has almost completed the development and the production of the solar collectors.
In the WP7 to attenuate the issues related with the development of plant "first-of-a-kind", like ORC-PLUS, and in order to bridge the gap between technological demonstration and commercial deployment has been developed by IRESEN a specific census to evaluate the public acceptance (D7.1), and to meet the public acceptance of the local stakeholders it has been arranged in Casablanca a first Workshop with the presence of external experts.
Objectives achieved
– Definition of a new simulation tool of the TES technologies proposed;
– Definition of the operation strategies of the pilot plant to maximize its performance;
– Definition of a modular approach of packaged engineering solutions for the solar field that will can be re-applied in other similar situations as part of the overall effort to reduce by 20% the construction time;
– Characterization of the low melting molten salt mixture that will be used for the construction of the pilot plant;
– Characterization of the HSM employed in the solution based on packed bed: shape and size of pebbles;
– Characterization of the materials for TES Tank with respect to the technologies employed;
– Design, and commissioning of the trial TES prototype based on oil/packed bed;
– Definition of the preliminary design of the ORC-PLUS pilot plant.
– Maximization of the Moroccan activities for the activities related with building of the pilot plant;
– Workshop on the local Public acceptance."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

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

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