Micro – Cogeneration Plants and Ecological Boilers Laboratory

1| Laboratory of Phase Change Materials and Heat Storage

Laboratory offers the possibility to investigate heat storage technologies with PCM materials. The laboratory is equipped with a universal test stand for analysis of thermal energy storage with phase change (dedicated for systems using RES). The testing rig also includes 6 different designs of heat storage and is equipped with fully regulated thermal loads. Integrated thermal load of up to 32kW supplies and removes liquid from the storage at the temperature of up to 310°C by a high-temperature thermal oil. The system can also operate with lower temperatures -20°C to 90°C using glycol. The test stand is also equipped with a dedicated cooling system with thermal capacity of 60kW. Advanced control system of a test rig allows precise adjustment of characteristics of heating and cooling and thus analysis of charging and discharging of the heat storage.

The laboratory makes it possible to implement research of thermal energy storage by means of phase change material in a comprehensive manner – in the form of cold, below 0°C, and in the form of high temperature heat of up to 300°C.

The scope of the research that can be implemented in the Laboratory:

  • Research on various designs of prototype heat storage with phase change materials on a universal test stand with advanced regulation abilities
  • Research on both high temperature storage (> 100 ° C) and low temperature
  • Research on ” cold storage “( <0°C)
  • Analysis of the active and passive heat storage technologies
  • Analysis of the possibility of increasing coefficients of thermal conductivity of phase changing materials,
  • Analysis of the possibilities of improving thermal properties and heat flow dynamics of different heat storage designs using PCM
  • Research on nontypical materials for heat storage applications: refrigerants, solvents.

2| Laboratory of micro ORC technologies

The set of test stands in the Laboratory is part of the Micro-Cogeneration Plants and Ecological Boiler Laboratory – L2. The laboratory is equipped with high-quality research devices, which enables precise measurements and analysis of thermal and flow phenomena, analysis of different configurations of thermal cycles and prototype testing.

The lab consists of several demo and research test stands: the prototype test stand of micro CHP ORC unit, stand for testing of microturbines and energy storage integration as well as research stand for various thermodynamic cycles analysis. The laboratory has efficient source of heat in the form of high-temperature oil heater with a capacity of 300kWt and max. temperature of 350°C with the precise temperature control system and the three points of delivery. Heat removal from the test stands is provided by the cooling systems allowing the use or storage of heat for later heating purposes. Laboratory test rigs have the ability to cooperate with infrastructure of solar collectors, heat storage and cold production.

Modern laboratory equipment enables the following scope of research:

  • Analysis of heat transfer processes and their dynamics for different types of heat exchangers for power ratings from a few kW to 300kWt
  • Research on microturbines working in ORC systems with power up to 50kW.
  • Research on cogeneration and trigeneration systems with simultaneous production of electricity, heat and cold.
  • Analysis of the possibilities of using waste heat from technological processes and to develop ORC cycle using low temperature heat for electricity production.
  • Analysis of thermodynamic cycles with the use of nontypical operating fluids.
  • Methods of the energy efficiency improvement of cogeneration and trigeneration systems.
  • Development of integrated hybrid systems with the use of ORC, heat storage with PCM and solar collectors.
  • Analysis and modeling of cogeneration and trigeneration thermodynamic systems

3| Laboratory of Diagnostics and Environmental Analysis

The research work conducted by the Diagnostics and Environmental Analysis Laboratory is related to the widely understood diagnostics of installations which produce energy from renewable resources and also other industrial installations.

The laboratory equipment includes a set of high-class thermographic cameras with gas detection abilites and advanced analytical equipment for noise analysis.

Research carried out by the laboratory:

  • establishing new measurement and diagnostic methods using the possibility of observing difficult-to-access locations and bugging areas from air (diagnostics of wind farms, photovoltaic farms, solar thermal installations, extensive industrial installations, industrial pipelines, etc.),
  • analysing heat energy losses in residential buildings and industrial facilities,
  • thermal analyses of heating installations at ground and underground level (fast identification and localization of losses in large areas). The possibility of carrying out the above analysis allows conducting research on crack formation in heating installations,
  • research work devoted to the operation of photovoltaic panels on solar farms (fast cell fault location and a decrease of energy losses in the energy production process on solar farms),
  • monitoring all types of furnaces, heaters and boilers, particularly in the chemical, petrochemical and utility industries.
  • preventative maintenance solution to spot leaks in piping, flanges and connections in petrochemical operations,
  • non destructive inspections with active thermography IR-NDT – modular real-time infrared imaging system.

4| Laboratory of micro-rotors and bearings for micro systems

Set of test rigs with micro-rotors and bearings, intended for developing small domestic power plants. The laboratory is dedicated to carrying out research and development work relating to small-sized high-speed rotors which are applied to various types of microturbines. Research will also address design optimization, selected aspects of materials science as well as operational testing. New nonconventional bearing technologies will also be developed. The key aim of research and development work will focus on the development of new technological solutions dedicated to modern microturbines which are increasingly being used in small CHP systems.

The main components of:

  • test rig for testing gas microturbines,
  • test rig for testing steam microturbines,
  • test rig for testing Stirling engines,
  • test rig for testing electric power generators,
  • universal test rig for testing rotating systems,
  • ultrafast thermal imaging camera (up to 1 000 000 fps),
  • precise rotor balancing machines, capable of high revolution balancing,
  • multi-channel measurement system based on the Nl CompactRIO platform,
  • portable condition assessment devices and laser shaft alignment systems.

The laboratory enables:

    • assessment of the dynamic behaviour and technical diagnostics of power engineering machines,
    • design and analyses of fluid-flow machinery (e.g. steam microturbines),
    • balancing and alignment of rotors,
    • modal analysis of structures (experimental and computational),

analysis of fast-changing phenomena using an ultra-high-speed digital camera,

  • structural and thermal analyses, fluid dynamics, fluid-structure interaction (FSI),
  • selection and optimization of bearing systems,
  • temperature distribution measurement using a thermal imaging camera,
  • design and construction of test rigs.

5| Laboratory of Thermal Processing of Biomass and Biofuels

The laboratory provides the possibility for research and development of ecologic technologies of energy conversion, whilst preserving stringent principles of environmental protection.

The laboratory equipment covers, amongst others, the devices for bio-fuels production and the systems for heat and power generation, serving the tests and studies in the areas of:

  • problems of pyrolysis, gasification and combustion,
  • aspects of biomass and waste utilization, including chemical analyses of substrates and products,
  • methods of syngas cleaning to remove tars and particulates,
  • design and optimization of energy generation system devices (pyrolyzers, gasifiers, boilers, syngas cleaning installations)
  • design of high-temperature heat exchangers.

The offer of laboratory services include

  • development of analytical methods,
  • design of small plants for the production of high-quality syngas from biomass,
  • design of systems for heat and power generation from municipal solid waste
  • experimental studies of alternative fuels, including hazardous waste, to consider their use for energy purposes,
  • sampling of fuels, bio-fuels, bio-components, water, sludge and soils,
  • chemical analyses of fuels and bio-fuels (e.g., gas composition, full elemental composition, contents of liquid fuel),
  • testing of fuel properties
  • theoretical/numerical analyses of heat and flow processes in reactive granular materials.