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27 November, 2013 - 22:04 By News Desk

Cranfield at heart of solar energy projects


Cranfield University and Global CSP, developers of the world’s first precision engineered solar energy collector system, are to work together on two solar energy projects.The collaboration will involve testing and improving Global CSP’s solar energy collector system – the ‘solar captor’. Based on aircraft technology, the solar captor is fully insulated against extreme weather and offers considerable cost savings over traditionally fabricated solar energy collectors. It is designed for use in power generation, air-conditioning, chilling, water purification and desalination, providing hot-water up to super-steam for manufacturing process. In addition, the partnership will design and build a medium scale Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) generator. ORC generators use a dense organic fluid with a low boiling point temperature, allowing power generation from lower temperature sources, making them ideal for solar energy collectors. Global CSP have already built a small 15kW ORC prototype but will be building two larger scale ORC power plants at Cranfield (one at 75kW -130kW and the second at 500kW-1000kW).The ORC power plants will be used for waste heat recovery in the UK and global markets. Dr Chris Sansom, leading the project for Cranfield University, said: “Traditional steam generators are used in large power plants to produce Megawatts of power and use conventional steam powered turbines to generate electricity. “However there is huge potential for the innovative ORC technology to be used with low-cost, small-to medium scale solar thermal power units which could power industrial processes, agriculture and farming, food and drink, district heating, public buildings as well as serving remote off-grid communities in developing countries.” • PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Chris Sansom, Cranfield University (left) with Global CSP CEO Graham Provan

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