Case study - fuel-free power from solar thermal

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Courtesy of ElectraTherm

Middle East Technical University Campus, North Cyprus, Turkey

Application Type: Solar Thermal
Nominal Power Output: 18kW
Thermal Heat Input: 200 - 400kW
Hot Water Input Range: 170 - 225°F
Hot Water Flow: 185 GPM
Cold Water Input: 80-100°F
Cold Water Flow: 220 GPM
Date Commissioned: Q4 2010

Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus (METU NCC), located in Northwestern Cyprus, sits on prime solar power real estate, with high, direct solar radiation providing an attractive synergy for solar power generation. 2,325 sq. feet of Parabolic Through Collectors (PTC) were installed nearby the campus’s waste water treatment facilities, and in Q4 2010, METU NCC commissioned an ElectraTherm Green Machine to initiate research on small scale solar thermal power generation. METU NCC’s research partner SOLITEM GmbH, a German renewable energy company, purchased the machine following a competitive bid to provide proof of concept for its Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology. The machine continues  operation and has logged more than 75 hours of power generation to date.

ElectraTherm’s Green Machine generates power at METU NCC by harnessing hot water generated in SOLITEM’s PTC1800 collection panels produced by the sun and using a water cooling tower. The water collected by the solar array is pumped to the Green Machine to heat a working fluid that, under pressure, rotates ElectraTherm’s twin screw expander to generate electricity. The collection panels’ solar tubes consists of glass, much less expensive than other CSP tube options, and well suited for water temperatures of 190-240°F.  The pilot installation utilizes a 300kW back-up boiler to sustain the required hot water flow to the Green Machine to maintain a consistent power output. Currently, the Green Machine runs at the nominal 18kW, sized down by 40% for this project. When the solar array is expanded, the machine expects a power output of 50kW.

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