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The basic supply of electricity and gas to the economy is one of the pillars of the Energy Industry Act. However, even more elementary is the safe and reliable energy supply in the medical sector. Both electricity and heat can save lives here.

In order to ensure this security of supply in the future, the University Medical Foundation (UMG) and the University of Göttingen have initiated an innovative energy supply concept. A modern, decentralised energy and heat supply system is intended to bring production close to consumers in the future. Three large combined heat and power plants are to be built for this purpose: one at the university hospital and two at the university.

By the end of 2017, the first of the three power plants will supply around half of the electricity required and the base load of the heat required by the university hospital. The 4.5 megawatt power plant is supplied by ETW Energietechnik, the Moers-based specialist for energy plants, and has an outstanding overall efficiency of almost 90 percent (electricity + heat output).

The 4.7 million euro project is financed by the state of Lower Saxony. The investment not only saves energy costs. The security of supply and the saving of 6,500 tons of CO2 per year also contribute to climate protection.

SOURCE: ETW

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Since the beginning of the year, two Rolls-Royce CHP plants have been supplying energy to a new tomato greenhouse operated by Maxburg BVBA in Meer in Belgium. The two gas-powered gensets have reliably supplied over 20 MWh of heat and power to date. Maxburg is now the 30th greenhouse for which Rolls-Royce has delivered CHP plants. Since 2005, no less than 52 CHP plants manufactured by Rolls-Royce have generated a total electrical output of 270 MW in greenhouses in Holland, Belgium, Russia and the UK.

The gensets are based on the medium-speed B35:40 V12 AG2 engines from Rolls-Royce, each of which is able to generate an electrical output of 5,650 kW and a thermal output of 6,545 kW. They achieve an efficiency level of more than 96 per cent. The electric power is used primarily for the greenhouse lamps and, if required, is fed into the public grid.

 

The greenhouse, which extends over an area of 10.2 hectares, is heated using the heat extracted from the exhaust gas and the engine’s cooling system. The cleaned exhaust gases from the engines are also injected into the greenhouses to increase the level of CO2 and boost plant growth. The owner expects to achieve an annual production of 7.5 million kilogrammes of tomatoes at the Maxburg greenhouse.

Rolls-Royce has delivered the complete CHP plants, consisting of the power generator sets, the exhaust gas systems, including the SCR systems and the heat exchangers. The electronic control systems are also included in the scope of supply. Operator John Vermeiren and Rolls-Royce have concluded a long-term service agreement for the combined heat and power plants covering approximately 4,500 hours of operation per year over the next 10 years.

Source: Rolls-Royce

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the SunShot Initiative in 2011 with the goal of making solar electricity cost-competitive with power from conventional generation technologies by 2020. The initiative includes cost and performance targets for solar PV and CSP. Unlike PV, CSP technology captures and stores the sun’s energy in the form of heat, using materials that are low cost and materially stable for decades. This allows CSP with thermal energy storage (TES) to deliver renewable energy while providing important capacity, reliability and stability attributes to the grid, thereby enabling increased penetration of variable renewable electricity technologies. The technical report “Concentrating Solar Power Gen3 Demonstration Roadmap” released in January 2017 by NREL, will be used by the DOE to prioritise R&D activities leading to one or more technology pathways to be successfully demonstrated at a scale appropriate for the future commercialisation of the technology.

Today’s most advanced CSP systems are towers integrated with 2-tank, molten-salt TES, delivering thermal energy at 565°C for integration with conventional steam-Rankine power cycles. These power towers trace their lineage to the 10 MWe pilot demonstration of Solar Two in the 1990s. This design
has lowered the cost of CSP electricity by approximately 50% compared to parabolic trough systems; however, the decrease in cost of CSP technologies has not kept pace with the falling cost of PV systems.

 

Since the 2011 introduction of SunShot, the DOE’s CSP Subprogram has funded research in solar collector field, receiver, TES and power cycle sub-systems to improve the performance and lower the cost of CSP systems. In August 2016, the DOE hosted a workshop of CSP stakeholders that defined three potential pathways for next generation CSP (CSP Gen3) based on the form of the thermal carrier in the receiver: molten salt, particle or gaseous. Prior analysis by the DOE had selected the supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) Brayton cycle as the best-fit power cycle for increasing CSP system thermo-electric conversion efficiency. The research is designed to enable a CSP system that offers the potential to achieve the overall CSP SunShot goals. However, no one approach exists without at least one significant technical, economic or reliability risk (Figure 1). Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2017

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The market for combined heat and power (CHP), which produces electricity and usable heat in a single, highly-efficient process, is set to increase its installed capacity from 755.2 GW in 2016 to 971.9 GW by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 2.8%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s latest report states that the increasing global demand for electrical power and the simultaneous rise in environmental concerns are major drivers of the CHP market, along with increasing government incentives and policies to promote it.

 

Anchal Agarwal, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, notes: “CHP plants are attractive because they recover heat that is normally wasted in conventional power generation methods, which together have an efficiency of around 45%. CHP systems, however, can be up to 90% efficient, and are used in industrial, institutional, and large commercial applications.”

GlobalData’s report also states that Asia-Pacific (APAC) had the largest regional share in 2015, with 45.9% of global CHP installed capacity, attributable to countries such as China, India, and Japan. The share is expected to reach 48.5% of global installed capacity by 2025.

Agarwal explains: “One of the reasons for APAC’s dominance is that China and India are the top carbon emitters and largest polluter countries. Growing manufacturing, increasing electricity demand, and rising numbers of vehicles are the key contributors to pollution, and have forced governments to install CHP plants.

“The International Energy Agency established CHP installed capacity targets of 333 GW in China and 85 GW in India by 2030. These targets are expected to lead to the introduction of policy incentives, which will drive the growth of CHP installations.”

Source: GlobalData

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The first European fuel cell CHP power plant of megawatt size is now operating in Mannheim. Contrary to conventional power plants, this energy solution delivers heat and electricity virtually absent of pollutants, making it a milestone for the green energy of the future. The innovative plant has been jointly installed by E.ON and FuelCell Energy Solutions at Friatec AG. Over the course of at least ten years, it will provide clean energy for the production processes of materials specialist Friatec.

With a capacity of 1.4 MW, this fuel cell power plant is the only one of its kind in Europe to date. In terms of technology and environmental protection, fuel cells represent a promising alternative to conventional combined heat and power plants. In comparison with other decentralized technologies such as gas turbines, they use fuel sources far more efficiently. In addition, they generate power in a non-combustion process which is virtually absent of pollutants. By using this fuel cell, Friatec will be able to reduce its CO2 emissions by approximately 3,000 t/year.

The fuel cell power plant was installed in only nine months as a joint project by E.ON Connecting Energies, E.ON’s subsidiary for commercial and industrial energy solutions, and FuelCell Energy Solutions, a joint venture by Fraunhofer IKTS and FuelCell Energy Inc. E.ON and FuelCell Energy Solutions have entered into a long-term energy partnership to offer high-performing clean fuel cell technology to customers in energy-intensive sectors.

Source: E.ON

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District heating networks traditionally distribute energy from a centralised generation plant to a specific number of remote customers. As such, today’s networks suffer from: significant heat losses; a high level of unexplored integration potential of different
available energy sources (e.g. renewables and residual heat) into the network; and high installation costs. The FLEXYNETS project aims to develop, demonstrate and deploy a new generation of smart district heating and cooling networks. FLEXYNETS is an H2020 European project coordinated by EURAC, a research institute based in Bolzano-Bozen (Italy). In addition to EURAC, the project involves five further partners from different European countries: Acciona (Spain); zafh.net (Germany), a research centre at the Hochschule für Technik in Stuttgart; Solid Automation (Germany), a specialist in control and monitoring design; PlanEnergi (Denmark), an engineering office specialising in district heating; and Soltigua (Italy), a CSP collector manufacturer.

FLEXYNETS will develop, demonstrate and deploy a new generation of smart DHC networks that reduce energy transportation losses by working at “neutral” temperature levels (15-20°C). Reversible heat pumps will be used to exchange heat with the DHC network on the demand side, providing the necessary cooling and heating for the buildings.

Moreover, the heat normally wasted by the buildings will be fed into the network by the heat pumps (working in “cooling mode”) and recycled by other heat pumps that will produce DHW. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

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Analysis of potential and integration opportunities for DHC networks

The development of concentrated solar power (CSP) technology has received a boost over recent years by the increase in electricity generation plants. Despite this, Spain currently has very few CSP facilities for thermal applications, largely designed to cover the demand for heat in industrial processes or for the temperature control of buildings. However their application for thermal use has a huge development potential in the country given that some regions have a very high availability of direct solar irradiation. The Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) has undertaken a technical-economic study on the incorporation of CSP into district heating & cooling (DHC) networks, using a reference network situated in Jaén. The results obtained conclude that the incorporation of CSP installations into DHC networks is a viable and attractive alternative that is both technically and economic competitive.

According to the census undertaken by the Spanish Association of DHC Networks (ADHAC), there are currently around 270 DHC networks in Spain with a total combined installed capacity of 1,139 MW for heating and cooling. Out of the existing DHC installations, approximately 30% use renewable energy (mainly biomass) and only one incorporates solar power. This is the DHC network at the Balearic Science and

Technological Innovation Park, ParcBIT. This network is supplied by a CCHP plant that provides electricity, hot and cold water to the technological park as well as to 5 buildings belonging to the Universidad de las Islas Baleares. Hot water is generated by two cogeneration motors of 1,460 kWt and 1,115 kWt each, backed up by a 1,000 kWt biomass boiler, a solar installation with a 900 m2 flat collector and a 2,000 kWt fuel boiler. The hot water is distributed through the network to cover hot water demand and also to feed the absorption chillers (432 kWt and 1,318 kWt respectively) to generate cold water. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

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Solar thermal plants run at high temperatures for extended periods and over time heat transfer fluids will degrade through thermal cracking or oxidation or both. It is important that these processes are routinely monitored to ensure a plant continues to operate safely and efficiently. Laboratory analysis can be used to assess both the state of thermal cracking and oxidation. A model for assessing these is discussed in this article.

Reports indicate that the global heat transfer fluid (HTF) market will increase in value from $1,684 million in 2011 to $2,557 million in 2017. This demand is dependent on Europe which was reported to account for one-third of the global HTF demand and be driven by growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

There are a wide variety of HTFs with a wide range of uses including the production of energy, for example, in concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. The most commonly used solar HTF is the eutectic mixture of biphenyl and diphenyl oxide (e.g., Therminol VP-1, Globatherm Omnitech and Dowtherm A). The two most common types of thermal degradation are thermal cracking and oxidative stress. Thermal cracking comprises the breaking-up of larger hydrocarbon molecules into smaller molecules; oxidation is the gaining of oxygen. At high temperature, a HTF will degrade through thermal cracking or oxidation or both. During thermal cracking, carbon will accumulate and the flash point temperature will start to decline. During oxidation, carbon accumulates and the total acid number (TAN), an indicator of oxidative state, will start to increase. Read more…

Christopher Wright
Global Group of Companies

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

Planta piloto de 0,8 MWt en Brønderslev, probada en el veranod de 2015. Fuente Aalborg CSP / 0,8 MWt CSP pilot plant in Brønderslev tested in Summer 2015. Source: Aalborg CSP.

Aalborg CSP has been selected to design and deliver a CSP system to be integrated with a biomass-fueled organic rankine cycle (ORC) plant for combined heat and power generation in Denmark. This will be the first large-scale system in the world to demonstrate how CSP with an integrated energy system design can optimize efficiency of ORC even in areas with less sunshine. Aalborg CSP in close collaboration with the Danish district heating plant (Brønderslev Forsyning) has carried out a comprehensive feasibility study on the potential to use concentrated solar power as an add-on to the biomass-ORC plant. Based on the positive findings, Aalborg CSP has been awarded the contract to develop and supply the 16.6 MWt CSP plant enabling production of heat and electricity within one carbon-free system.

The CSP plant will consist of 40 rows of 125 m parabolic trough loops with an aperture area of 26,929 m2. The parabolic troughs will collect the sunrays and reflect them onto a receiver pipe wherein a fluid is heated up to 330 °C. This high temperature is able to drive an electric turbine to produce electricity, but the flexibility of the system also allows production of lower temperatures for district heating purposes. To maximize yield of energy, the waste heat will be utilized and sent to the district heating circuit whereas electrical power will be generated at peak price periods.

Aalborg CSP paves the way for CSP in northern Europe

Despite known to be a technology typically used in sunny desert areas, CSP also has potential in the European climate when integrated with other technologies. Markets with well established district heating infrastructure or an existing base of ORC plants – such as Germany, Austria and Italy – can leverage the flexibility of CSP for CHP. While the prices of different types of fuel fluctuate, concentrated solar energy proves to be a stable and efficient renewable alternative in Europe.

The project in Denmark is yet another example of how the Aalborg CSP Integrated Energy System approach for combining fuel sources and multiple energy streams opens new markets where CSP creates value. Through close cooperation with the client in the feasibility study phase, we can unlock the black-box to create projects in areas where otherwise it would not be possible” – says Svante Bundgaard, CEO of Aalborg CSP.

Danish technology growing in support

The achievement of the world’s first CSP system combined with a biomass-ORC plant is supported by the Danish Government’s EUDP national programme (Energiteknologisk Udviklings- og Demonstrationsprogram). The subsidy provides a substantial support for technology development thereby making the Aalborg CSP solution more competitive in export markets.

The system in Brønderslev is expected to go operational by the end of 2016 and final commercial operational date is expected in the middle of 2017.

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Masdar Institute researchers have successfully demonstrated that desert sand from the UAE could be used in concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities to store thermal energy up to 1,000°C. The research project called Sandstock has been seeking to develop a sustainable and low-cost gravity-fed solar receiver and storage system, using sand particles as the heat collector, heat transfer and thermal energy storage media.

Desert sand from the UAE can now be considered a possible thermal energy storage (TES) material. Its thermal stability, specific heat capacity, and tendency to agglomerate have been studied at high temperatures.

A research paper on the findings developed under the guidance of Dr. Nicolas Calvet, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, was presented by PhD student Miguel Diago at the 21st Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems (SolarPACES 2015) Conference in South Africa. The paper was co-authored by alumni Alberto Crespo Iniesta, Dr. Thomas Delclos, Dr. Tariq Shamim, Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Masdar Institute, and Dr. Audrey Soum-Glaude (French National Center for Scientific Research PROMES CNRS Laboratory).

Replacing the typical heat storage materials used in TES systems — synthetic oil and molten salts — with inexpensive sand can increase plant efficiency due to the increased working temperature of the storage material and therefore reduce costs. A TES system based on such a local and natural material like sand also represents a new sustainable energy approach that is relevant for the economic development of Abu Dhabi’s future energy systems.

The analyses showed that it is possible to use desert sand as a TES material up to 800-1,000 °C. The sand chemical composition has been analyzed with the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques, which reveal the dominance of quartz and carbonate materials. The sand’s radiant energy reflectiveness was also measured before and after a thermal cycle, as it may be possible to use the desert sand not only as a TES material but also as a direct solar absorber under concentrated solar flux.

Dr Nicolas Calvet said: “The availability of this material in desert environments such as the UAE allows for significant cost reductions in novel CSP plants, which may use it both as TES material and solar absorber. The success of the Sandstock project reflects that usability and practical benefits of the UAE desert sand.”

In parallel to sand characterization, a laboratory scale prototype was tested with a small solar furnace at the laboratory of PROMES CNRS 1 MW solar furnace in Odeillo, France. Masdar Institute alumnus Alberto Crespo Iniesta was in charge of the design, construction, and experiment.

The next step of the project is to test an improved prototype at the pre-commercial scale at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform (MISP) using the beam down concentrator, potentially in collaboration with an industrial partner.

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