Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Colloquium at UniMelb

In case it will be of interest to any Melbourne-based readers of this blog, I’ll mention that I have accepted an invitation to give a colloquium at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne.  This will be on Tuesday, 9 August 2011, and the title and abstract are as follows:

Applications for a New Thermodynamic Cycle

Take hot dry air, then sequentially expand it, spray cool it and re-compress it to the inlet pressure whilst allowing further evaporative cooling.  That thermodynamic cycle defines a heat engine with advantages for certain applications.  The thermodynamic cycle will be analysed and two applications will be described.

For a continuous-flow version, the result is a 20% boost in gas turbine output with no extra fuel consumption or emissions.  For a piston-in-cylinder version, there is the prospect of unconventional but cheap solar power, including the possibility of thermal storage so as to give 24/7 despatchability.

I’ll also take this opportunity to describe where things stand with my research program.  Earlier this year, I started simulations of thermal storage in a bed of packed rock, with the intention of presenting the work at the 2011 Conference of the Australian Solar Energy Society.  The application, of course, was for power generation using my evaporation engine, with heat collected under a transparent insulated canopy (see here for details).  That work has proceeded slowly and I now cannot finish it in time for the submission deadline, so that research topic is deferred until next year.

Instead, I now plan that my AuSES presentation will be on “ECET Boost to Solar-Hybrid Gas Turbines”.  This work builds on my main research focus for the year, namely to investigate various applications for the Expansion-Cycle Evaporation Turbine (ECET).  The solar-hybrid gas turbine application has been extensively studied in Europe, see e.g. the SOLGATE project (PDF, 3.546 MB), and I’ll look at how the power output can be boosted using various bottoming cycles.  These include the conventional Rankine steam cycle, the ECET, and the Air Heat Recovery Turbine Unit.  My analysis is finished and I’m currently writing the paper.

Meanwhile, I continue on my principal current mission – to pursue commercialisation prospects for the ECET.

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