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EPSRC Reference: EP/R003122/1
Title: Newton Fund: An ORC power plant integrated with thermal energy storage to utilise renewable heat sources for distributed H&P
Principal Investigator: Yu, Professor Z
Other Investigators:
Younger, Professor PL Li, Professor Y Zhou, Dr K
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Newton Fund
Starts: 01 May 2017 Ends: 30 April 2019 Value (£): 395,783
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
China, as the largest energy consumer, relies heavily on power generation from fossil fuels such as coal, leading to serious air pollution issues. It is therefore crucial for China to transit towards cleaner energy supply. Solar energy resources are abundant in China, particularly in the poorest western provinces, and renewable power generation can potentially play a vital role in energy supply for China in the future. On the other hand, although China became the second biggest economy in the world, it still remains a developing country and its per capita income is ranked as NO. 84 in the world. The exploitation of the abundant renewable energy resources in the underdeveloped regions in China can also help to boost local economy and tackle poverty.

This project aims to develop a heat storage enhanced ORC power technology to utilise renewable heat sources (e.g. solar energy) for localised power and heat supply. ORC power generation technology is believed to be the most promising technology for power generation from low temperature heat sources. Unlike solar PV panels converting sun light into electricity, ORC power plants convert solar thermal energy to power. Integrated with heat storage, solar thermal ORC systems can overcome the intermittency of sun light and provide more stable power generation and heat supply. By increasing the running time of the ORC system, the payback also increases making this technology more affordable as compared to conventional, fossil based sources of energy. Furthermore, their reliability is also increased as the heat input and output are buffered and regulated. Apart from its application to solar energy, such technology is also attractive for utilising geothermal energy or waste heat sources. The wide installation of the developed system will make contribution to the decarbonisation of the economy China, and ultimately reduce the air pollution improve the urban populations' life quality.

The proposed research and development will address several challenges that hinders the commercialisation of these technologies. On the Chinese side, Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) will develop high efficiency single screw expander technology for this project, and contribute to the development of high temperature heat storage technology using molten salts. The business partner, China Investment Yixing Red Sun Solar Energy Technology Company(CIYR), will manufacture the expanders and develop the solar powered technology demonstrator. On the UK side, Sunamp will develop and provide medium to high temperature heat storage technology using phase changer materials. The University of Glasgow (UOG) team, building upon their two on-going EPSRC projects on small scale ORC technologies, will focus on the design of the integrated system, the control strategy, and power electronic systems for the connection with grid. The four project partners, having expertise of different subsystems of this integrated technology, form a uniquely strong consortium to address these challenges and to bring the TRL of the proposed technology towards the commercialisation stage.

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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk