Alfa Laval joins ‘world first’ energy storage project

Cleantech start-up company RayGen has selected Alfa Laval to provide heat exchangers for its world-first PV ultra and thermal energy storage power plant in Victoria, Australia.

RayGen is an Australian technology company that focuses on solar power technology and renewable energy storage. It uses a combination of PV ultra (solar and heat co-generation) and thermal hydro (energy storage) technology.

The new project will use a field of smart, self-aligning mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a tower-mounted receiver containing an array of PV ultra modules. According to RayGen, these convert sunlight to power with nearly 90 per cent efficiency (one-third to electricity and two-thirds to heat) using high-efficiency, actively cooled photovoltaics.

Heat extracted from PV ultra modules via plate heat exchangers is stored as hot water in a thermally insulated reservoir, while electricity from PV ultra or the grid is used to run a chiller to produce near freezing water in a second reservoir.

The stored hot and cold water drive an organic rankine cycle (ORC) engine to produce stable electricity on demand.

The first deployment will be at the Carwarp project in Victoria. The 4MW solar plant is expected to save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and provide renewable power to about 1,000 Victorian homes, day and night.

“Long-duration energy storage can cost-effectively store electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources and then make it available when needed,” says the project team.

“Using Alfa Laval’s innovative plate heat exchangers to optimise energy efficiency and system design, RayGen is able to reduce the cost of energy storage. With energy stored as hot and cold water, RayGen’s patented technology allows us to generate electricity during the night at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries using the ORC turbine.”

For Alfa Laval, the project aligns with its recent move to join the Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) Council. Formed by technology companies, users and investors to achieve grid net zero by 2040, the council will support governments, grid operators and major electricity users in adopting the most cost-effective energy storage solutions, enabling renewable energy to replace the use of fossil fuels.

Selwyn Oliveira, Energy Division Manager, Oceania at Alfa Laval says his firm ’s global presence, expertise in thermal performance optimisation, and superior technology, makes the company the perfect technology partner for cleantech companies.

“The critical part of this process is to recover all the heat rejected by the PV ultra modules using our super-efficient plate heat exchangers and store this in insulated reservoirs for later use in the ORC turbine,” Oliveira says.

Read the company profile of Alfa Laval on HVAC&R Search.

Feature image courtesy of RayGen.

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