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Libertine and Brunel reach milestone in Free Piston ORC demonstration project

Libertine has reached the next stage in a project to demonstrate a micro-scale Free-Piston Gas Expander (FPGE) for Organic Rankine Cycle waste heat recovery applications.

Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems have been used in larger scale waste heat recovery applications converting low grade heat to electricity via an organic solvent and a high speed turbine expander. At smaller scales the FPGE has several important economic and operational advantages over turbine-based ORC expanders due to its lower cost, higher expansion ratio capabilities and tolerance of two-phase fluids.

Brunel are experts in ORC development and are confident the FPGE will work well in micro-scale ORC applications. The FPGE has been installed in Brunel University’s ORC rig which is now being commissioned. The demonstration is of a standalone waste heat to power system and the test data will be used to develop the full specification for a productionised version. Project completion is expected in Q1 2020, resulting in test data and simulation model validation applicable to commercial ORC applications.

Sam Cockerill, Libertine’s founder and CEO, said: “The project’s aim is to complete a lab-based demonstration and model validation of a free piston gas expander within a low temperature Organic Rankine Cycle heat-to-power system. Later versions could replace the cooling loop in Libertine’s Smart Engine platform, raising the potential electrical power generation efficiency of 40-60kWe systems to around 50%.”

This product is a deliverable of the Innovate UK Energy Catalyst Round 4 (EC4) project “ORC integrated free piston expander” (Innovate UK ref. 103497).

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