ORC, scroll expander
Because of the depletion of fossil fuels and global warming issues, the world energy sector is undergoing various changes toward increased sustainability. Among the different technologies being developed, solar energy, and more specifically CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) systems are expected to play a key role to supply centralized loads and off-grid areas in the medium-term. Major performance improvements can be achieved by implementing advanced control strategies accounting for the transient and random nature of the solar heat source. In this context, a lab-scale solar power plant has been designed and is under construction for experimental purposes and dynamic analyzes. The test rig includes an ORC unit, a field of parabolic trough collectors and a thermal energy storage. This paper presents the results of an experimental campaign conducted on the ORC module alone. This power unit, designed for a 2.8 kW net electrical output, consists of two scroll expanders in series, an air-cooled condenser, a recuperator, a volumetric pump and an oil-heated evaporator. The ORC engine is constructed using standard mass manufactured components from the HVAC industry, this practice reducing considerably the system cost. The overall unit performance and components effectiveness are presented in different operating conditions and relevant empirical correlations are derived to be implemented in a steady state model of the ORC unit.