The ORC-PLUS (Organic Rankine
Cycle - Prototype Link to Storage Unit) Project is a H2020 European Project (Call: LCE-03-2014 Innovation Action Grant Agreement 657690). The Project Consortium is composed by ENEA (coordinator), F-ISE, CIC, IRESEN, ENERRAY SpA, Soltigua Srl, Euronovia, and includes also the third parties EXERGY SpA and ENERRAY Morocco SAS.
The Project aims to develop an innovative Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system and a set of engineering solutions optimized for a mid-size CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) plant coupled with an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine of 1MWe. The targets of the Project are the validation of a form of decentralized power system, based on the CSP technologies specialized for the Morocco territory, and the demonstration of the capability to use a TES system in a plant of this size.
Such experiences could also be beneficial for other arid areas of the Mediterranean region, where the grid power peak load represents a serious problem of management of the local power grid, and where there is not the availability of other back up power systems (e.g. hydraulic power stations) to regulate the fluctuations of the power in such grids. The ORC-PLUS Project will contribute to overcome the present limitation to the expansion of mid-sized CSP plants. In fact actually a limit for this kind of CSP plant is represented by the lack of technical solutions of TES, specialized for this sizes and validated in a relevant industrial environment.
The validation process adopted by the Project includes both a techno-economic analysis of two different kind of TES systems at prototype level, and a validation of the technology at pre-commercial scale demonstrator level. Actually the demonstrator plant is under construction inside IRESEN's Green Energy Park located in Benguerir (Morocco), and its put in exercise is scheduled for the next January 2019. In the final design of the demonstrator plant, have been preferred technical solutions that limit the environmental impact and that allow the activation of possible chains of domestic production of some components, or of the provision services.
The reference size of the thermal energy capacity of the TES system has been fixed at about 20MWht, since this value allows the ORC-PLUS plant a max load of 5MWt, in order to cover a power load peak between 6 pm and 10 pm of a typical Moroccan little town. The TES system will be fed by 3 parallel hydraulic Fresnel solar collectors loops. The heat transfer fluid used is an environmentally friendly mineral oil operating in the temperature range from 180°C to 300°C. The target value of LCOE (Levelized COst of Energy) was fixed at 0,27 €/kWhe.
The ORC-PLUS technology represents a new model of decentralized power production for remote areas and even small industries that need affordable,
renewable power and heat. The ORC-PLUS technology was thought to be an opportunity of development for disadvantaged areas.
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