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Publication Title | Granite Power, Wallsend, NSW, Australia Solar Supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle Pilot Plant for Power and Industrial Heat

Organic Rankine Cycle

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Granite Power, Wallsend, NSW, Australia

Solar Supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle Pilot Plant for Power and Industrial Heat

Executive Summary

Granite Power is a geothermal company that has developed GRANEX®, a patented direct supercritical fluid heat transfer tech- nology for the efficient, economic, and zero carbon emission generation of electricity from low grade geothermal sources using the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). This technology is typically used with recovered waste heat (RWH), solar-thermal sources, conventional geothermal sources, and engineered geothermal systems to generate electricity.

The construction of a pilot plant to demonstrate the use of the GRANEX technology with a solar parabolic trough linear concentrated receiver system was partially funded through a grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Rated at 150 kW thermal, the receiver system consists of six 1,800 mm by 35 m parabolic concentrating troughs. The GRANEX fluid is heated by pumping it directly through the troughs, and without changing states is passed to a turbo generator. Designed in conjunction with the University of Newcastle, this generator spins at speeds of up to 70,000 RPM to produce 30 kW of electrical power for the power grid.

Waste heat is passed through a heat exchanger to heat the water for a local swimming pool, allowing it to stay open for more of the year. During peak solar periods, energy can also be transferred to an insulated oil-filled thermal storage vessel. The energy stored there is sufficient to keep generating power for up to 90 minutes during periods of no sun or after sunset.

Given that this pilot plant operates at high temperatures and pressure levels, and is located next to a school and a public swimming pool, it was essential to have a control system that would be able to safely control the process while allowing researchers to change the configuration and test conditions without having to stop the process. An added requirement was for the researchers to have local and remote access to all process data.

To meet these needs, Granite Power turned to a Yokogawa FAST/TOOLS supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solution.

Process overview

Its functions include a data historian that allows the development team to compare results from the entire testing period and evaluate modifications that will guarantee future users the highest possible ROI by maximizing the efficiency of this process. A Yokogawa HXS10 solar tracking controller was utilized to keep the solar array aligned with the sun and to monitor environmental parameters, and a single Yokogawa STARDOM controller was used for the overall control of both the solar array and all key system equipment such as the turbo expander/generator. Granite Power also uses a collaboration center that incorporates live video feeds to demonstrate this system to other researchers around the world.

Image | Granite Power, Wallsend, NSW, Australia Solar Supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle Pilot Plant for Power and Industrial Heat



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