Carbon Reduction Ventures (CRV) has pioneered the introduction of the Australian invented and developed Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP) technology VirtualSolar™ into Western Australia since 2011.
During 2012 CRV was awarded funding from the Western Australian State Government’s Low Emission Energy Development (LEED) Fund to deploy the technology. The initial attempt was to use the technology in a ‘standalone’ 1.5MW solar project in Morawa (WA), however, the Shire of Morawa withdrew its stakeholder support, as it believed the plan was ‘beyond the capacity’ of the Council.
In an effort to increase the revenue for the same capital investment, in August 2013, CRV invented a CSP Hybrid configuration in lieu of the previous standalone concept in Morawa. This Hybrid model is based on collecting waste heat from a fuel based generator to supplement a reduced capacity of the solar thermal storage, and was announced for installation at a WA gold mine site in 2015.
The Hybrid approach enables an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine to operate at high temperatures (240-300°C) by including solar energy as a boost. Based on a reference case, such as the Turboden T10 1000kW unit (www.turboden.com) which attains an efficiency of up to 22% with the solar boost, this is a significant increase over other lower temperature ORC technologies that are only around 10% efficient.
CRV believes that the implementation of a CSP Hybrid project as described above, is a major leap forward in the intelligent use of waste heat, and as with all good pioneers, CRV will continue to pursue a CSP Hybrid project, optimistically in Australia.