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Novel applications of a solarized microturbine

Development of breakthrough applications for integrating a microturbine with a solar power system, by cooperation with an italian team, experienced in aspects of microturbine development,
fabrication and installation, and an israeli team with extensive expertise in solar energy technology

Aora has built a novel solar hybrid pilot power plant in Kibbutz Samar in Southern Israel, which was launched in June 2009. At the heart of the plant is a Power Conversion Unit (PCU) which incorporates a solar receiver designed and built by Aora in Israel and a compact microturbine designed and manufactured by Turbec Italy. These separate designs have been combined and have demonstrated the principle and operation of a solar-thermal solarized gas turbine system. However, this is not an optimized design maximizing the performance of the complete system. The current power block is a modified standard Turbec T100 unit, including a micro gas turbine, a gas to gas recuperator, synchronous electrical generator, electrical system, control system, air inlet, exhaust outlet, blowers, metal structure and covers. The solar receiver is connected upstream of the turbine's combustor, heating the air (the turbine's working fluid) by concentrated sunlight that is provided by a field of sun-tracking mirrors (heliostats). This setup enables flexibility in operation mode, ranging from solar-only (when there is sufficient sunlight) through fuel-augmented hybrid operation (when sunlight is insufficient) to fuel-only operation (e.g., at night). The small, modular solar power station offers a new way of bringing solar thermal technology close to the customer, thereby enabling solar thermal power to be supplied at the community level. The main potential features of the system once it is perfected include: • Modular: The ability of Aora and Turbec to offer solar thermal technology in such small modular units, 100kWe in size, for distributed power. The small base unit size allows flexible plant scaling to accommodate changing customer needs, and enables to reach serial production of components very fast. • Hybrid: The Aora- Turbec system combines a hybrid solar-fuel gas-turbine engine offering uninterrupted power 24hr per day, be it from sun, fuel (including, preferably alternatively bio-fuels) or a combination. • Power & Heat: Each unit provides an efficient power block, offering both power (100kWe) as well as high temperature heat for many applications. • Multi-fuel: The Aora-Turbec system will be able to accept most gas and liquid fuels as back up for the main source - the solar heat; backup fuels shall include Diesel, Biodiesel, LPG, NG, Biogas, etc. • Low maintenance: compared to Diesel generators and solar steam power plants, the Aora-Turbec system requires less maintenance, as the turbine has 80,000hr between services. • Very low water usage: Unlike other CSP solar thermal technologies, that use steam turbines, the Aora-Turbec systems require very small quantities of water, enabling application in desert and arid locations. • Efficiency: The Aora-Turbec solar system has higher efficiency than any other systems available today in the 100kWe scale. • Short time to full power: Big CSP plants that have a steam turbine require long starting time to achieve full power, and PV systems can only achieve full power at very high radiation levels. The Aora-Turbec system can be synchronised quickly to the grid and achieve full power even at low radiation levels. • Power on Demand: The Aora-Turbec system can supply power on demand in any condition. • All of the above: The Aora-Turbec system is unique as it combines high efficiency, modularity, built in back up, Power & Heat capability, multi fuel, etc. The present proposed project will enable the Aora-Turbec team to move forward to implementation of these features and utilizing them in a range of novel applications currently untapped by solar-thermal systems.
Acronym: 
MICROSOL
Project ID: 
6 247
Start date: 
01-06-2010
Project Duration: 
12months
Project costs: 
630 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Solar/Thermal energy
Market Area: 
Solar energy

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