Solar Thermal Heat Recovery in Louisiana

Application: Solar Thermal Heat Recovery
Power Output: Up to 50 kWe
Thermal Input: Up to 650 kWth
Hot Water Inlet Temperature: Up to 120°C

ElectraTherm partnered with its gulf coast distributor, Gulf Coast Green Energy, to commission a Power+ Generator for a solar thermal heat recovery project sponsored by the University of Louisiana and Cleco Power LLC (Cleco) to better understand the capabilities of Organic Rankine Cycle systems. The power plant is located at the Cleco Alternative Energy Center on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Energy Research Complex, near Lafayette. The site utilizes thermal energy collected from two parabolic Solar Collector Assemblies (SCAs) to heat water from 65-120°C degrees, which is fed directly into the Power+ Generator.

ElectraTherm’s Power+ generates power at the Cleco Alternative Energy Center by utilizing the hot water provided by the solar panels as fuel. Water heated in the solar array is pumped to the Power+ to heat a working fluid that, under pressure, rotates ElectraTherm’s twin screw expander to generate electricity. The working fluid is then condensed by a water cooling tower to begin the process again in a closed loop cycle. The Power+ generates 15-50kWe depending on local weather conditions and availability of the sun.

“Our experience with the Power+ has been successful, generating power output from the solar collectors on site over a wide range of operating conditions. We look forward to learning more about Organic Rankine Cycle technology in tandem with solar thermal energy through our ongoing work with ElectraTherm’s Power+ Generator.”
– Jonathan Raush, LSU Senior Research Scientist

The project was funded by a grant from Louisiana Department of Natural Resources’ Empower Louisiana Renewable Energy Grant Program in order to study and develop alternative energy technologies using renewable energy sources. Cleco provides support for ongoing operation of the facility, and UL Lafayette operates the solar thermal field, including running the Power+ Generator.

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