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Novel Parabolic Trough Collectors Driving a Small-Scale Organic Rankine Cycle System

[+] Author Affiliations
P. Kohlenbach, S. McEvoy, W. Stein, A. Burton, K. Wong

CSIRO Energy Technology, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

K. Lovegrove, G. Burgess, W. Joe

Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

J. Coventry

Wizard Power, Turner, ACT, Australia

Paper No. ES2007-36157, pp. 995-1003; 9 pages
  • ASME 2007 Energy Sustainability Conference
  • ASME 2007 Energy Sustainability Conference
  • Long Beach, California, USA, July 27–30, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Solar Energy Division and Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4797-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3798-X
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


This paper presents component performance results of a new parabolic trough collector array driving an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) power generation system. The system has been installed in the National Solar Energy Centre at CSIRO Energy Technology in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. It consists of four rows of 18 parabolic mirrors each in a 2×2 matrix with a total aperture area of approximately 132m2 . The absorber tube is a laterally aligned, 40mm copper tube coated with a semi-selective paint and enclosed in a 50mm non-evacuated glass tube to reduce convection losses. The mirror modules, which are light-weight and robust, are made from thin low iron back silvered glass bonded to a sheet steel substrate. They are supported by a box truss on semi circular hoops running on rollers for single axis tracking. The mirror design has been chosen to allow low-cost manufacturing as well as simple commissioning and operation. The ORC unit is a FP6 unit sourced from Freepower Ltd. with a net power output of 6kWel at 180°C inlet temperature and a total heat input of 70 kWth . It uses a two-stage expansion process with hydrofluoroether as the working fluid. A wet cooling tower is used to dissipate the reject heat from the ORC. The two key components of the envisioned system are the trough reflector/receiver and the ORC unit. The optical performance of the mirror elements was investigated with regard to the flux mapping onto the receiver tube. The ORC unit has been tested separately using an electrical oil heater as the heat source. This paper presents results for irradiation capture and intensity over the receiver width of a single trough mirror module. The complete system including trough collectors and ORC has not been in transient operation yet, thus experimental steady-state results of the ORC unit are presented.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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