Small Hybrid Solar Power System
This paper introduces a novel of mini-hybrid solar power plant integrating a field of solar concentrators, two superposed Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC) and a (bio)Diesel engine. Turbines for the organic Rankine Cycles are hermetic scroll expander-generators. Sun tracking solar collectors are composed of rows of flat mirror bands (CEP) arranged in a plane, which focus the solar energy onto a collector tube similar to those used in SEGS plant in California. The waste heat from both the exhaust gases and block cooling of the thermal engine are also heat sources for the ORCs. Such units are considered to meet electricity, cooling and pumping needs of remote settlements in the sun belt areas or on special sites requiring low temperature heating such as swimming pools or greenhouses. The thermal engine guaranties a minimum level of both power and heat availability at night or during cloudy periods. Laboratory tests, made with the superposed ORCs only, confirmed adequate operational characteristics with good performances over a broad range of conditions. A few preliminary tests on the site of the solar power plant when coupled with the engine confirmed a reasonable behavior and the interest of the concept even at part load or during sharp variations of the thermal supply. The performances are satisfactory for a hybrid solar plant of this power range (10 to 25 kWe) and working so far with rather low temperature solar supply (165°C). First Law efficiencies of conversion in hybride mode is of the order of 41% when considerating only the fossil fuel input (total electrical power / LHV of the fuel). This already represents an efficiency increas of close to 50% compared to the Diesel engine alone. These results are encouraging particularly when one considers that excellent prospects exist for further increasing the supply temperature. However due to an over sizing of the turbines and a solar collector efficiency lower than expected, the tests reported here were made at very partial load and the efficiency in mode "solar only" was limited to 7.74%.