Turboden's ORC unit is used to test the advantages of the "supercritical" thermodynamic cycle – Ideal for hybrid solar-geothermal machine configuration
Brescia (Italy), 16th October 2012 - Turboden, a leading manufacturer of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbogenerators for electricity generation and heat from renewable sources and waste heat belonging to Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), announces the successful development of an innovative 500 kWel ORC module prototype.
"Turboden has always looked at geothermal energy with great interest, although this is a niche among the possible applications of ORC technology" - said Roberto Bini, General Manager of Turboden - "In recent years Turboden developed and installed in Germany some very competitive new solutions for geothermal energy. The realization of such a prototype is a further proof of the company commitment to innovation and performance imprevement in ORC".
The "supercritical" ORC module – supercritical stands for the thermodynamic cycle where the working fluid, or secondary fluid, is brought to temperatures and pressures above the critical point in its phase diagram – was started up in March 2012, passed the acceptance tests and is working steadily with performance in line with the guaranteed data. The plant produces about 500 kWel and it's fed with water at 150°C coming from a boiler simulating a geothermal source – typically at a constant temperature – while at the same time allowing to raise or lower the temperature in order to assess the behavior of this thermodynamic cycle. It allows, for example, to analyse the behavior when the state becomes sub-critical (the traditional ORC cycle), or the machine behavior when fed with a greater than nominal heat quantity and temperature. The main advantages of this innovative cycle are expected to be a higher efficiency (which translates into more power) and a higher flexibility in receiving more thermal power input, which makes the turbogenerator particularly suitable for solar-geothermal hybrid machines.
The condenser being tested with this ORC is also highly innovative and should prove more efficient thanks to lower electrical consumption and improved summer performance offered by the possibility of spraying water in the atmosphere around the device's batteries.
Tests on the prototype will continue throughout 2012 and if the advantages of the supercritical cycle are confirmed, it is expected that this innovation will be applied to the ORC turbogenerators of at least 5 MW size.
Turboden, a Pratt & Whitney Power Systems company (United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), is an Italian company and a global leader in the design, manufacture, and servicing of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbogenerators, which harness heat to generate electrical power from renewable sources, including solar energy, biomass, geothermal energy and waste heat from industrial processes, engines or gas turbines. Turboden has about 250 plants in more than 25 countries and offers standard turbogenerators from 600kWel to 6MWel (standard units) and up to 15MWel (customized units). Turboden is a specialist in ORC technology. www.turboden.it