New Projects, Renewables, Solar

DOE offers grant for geothermal and solar system

Department of Energy Rappaport Energy Consulting Small Business Innovative Research concentrated solar thermal geothermal Oregon Rankine cycle

The U.S. Department of Energy approved a $149,000 Phase 1 grant proposal for Rappaport Energy Consulting to study retrofitting a concentrated solar thermal project to an existing geothermal system, according to Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International.

The research will study retrofitting the CSP array to the geothermal project at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) in Klamath Falls Ore.

The addition of the concentrating solar collector to the system will boost the temperature of the geothermal fluid fueling the organic Rankine cycle (ORC) engine that drives the 280 kW electrical generator. The new hybrid system is expected to improve the efficiency and output of the generator according to D. Jeter, P.E.

The Small Business Innovative Reasearch (SBIR) program, established by Congress, is a highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to engage in R&D that has the potential for commercialization. The goal of the project and research is to collect the data to support proof of concept for the Geothermal Solar Hybrid system.

In addition the installation of the system at the OIT campus is a logical installation venue which according to Rappaport will have many benefits: 1) additional power generation capacity for the school without emitting any carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, 2) create a teaching and research tool for the OIT “Geo-Heat Center”, 3) no out of pocket expenses for school to have a hybrid retrofit.

Mike Rappaport, president at REC, has been involved in renewable energy for more than forty years. In 1972, he invented the geothermal-solar hybrid system, for which he was awarded a basic patent in 1978. During the development of the geothermal-solar system, Rappaport engineered a biomass power project and developed the business plan as well. From this work the development of Biomass One, L.P. emerged and the construction of a 22 MW plant in Medford, Oregon, that has been in commercial operation for the past 26 years. He served as a founder, general partner, & managing partner.

This article was originally published on Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International. It was republished with permission.