Stirling engines are a promising candidate for micro-cogeneration in residential and small-scale tertiary applications. Due to the variability of energy demand profiles and electricity tariffs, real applications often require to operate the cogeneration unit with multiple daily starts and stops, especially during summer and intermediate seasons. This work focuses on the experimental analysis of a commercial 1 kWel Stirling unit, burning natural gas and generating 8 kWth of useful heat through hot water and up to 12 kWth with an auxiliary burner, when subjected to cyclic on-off operation. The scope is collecting useful data about energy balances and emissions during on-off transients, which can be later used to optimize the management of the cogeneration unit when coupled with real users. Different cyclic tests are experimented (with intermediate stops and operation of either one or two burners), keeping the temperature of the cogeneration water at the unit inlet at 50°C and its mass flow rate at the nominal value of 0.194 kg/s. The Stirling unit has shown an electrical efficiency of 8.9%, based on Lower Heating Value (LHV), in the most favorable cyclic test and 8.2% in the worst case, while thermal efficiency ranges between 91.0 and 92.6%. For comparison, the steady state electrical efficiency is 10.8% (LHV) while the thermal is 90.1% with only one burner running in full cogeneration mode. Steady state efficiencies become 7.2% and 92.0% (LHV), respectively, with the auxiliary burner running. The significant reduction of average electrical efficiency suggests the necessity to limit the frequency of starts and stops in real operation. Emissions show modest peaks in NOx and CO, which do not compromise the environmental impact, confirming the low emission combustion features of the Stirling unit.

On-off cyclic testing of a micro-cogeneration Stirling unit

VALENTI, GIANLUCA;CAMPANARI, STEFANO;SILVA, PAOLO;RAVIDA', ANTONINO;MACCHI, ENNIO;BISCHI, ALDO
2015

Abstract

Stirling engines are a promising candidate for micro-cogeneration in residential and small-scale tertiary applications. Due to the variability of energy demand profiles and electricity tariffs, real applications often require to operate the cogeneration unit with multiple daily starts and stops, especially during summer and intermediate seasons. This work focuses on the experimental analysis of a commercial 1 kWel Stirling unit, burning natural gas and generating 8 kWth of useful heat through hot water and up to 12 kWth with an auxiliary burner, when subjected to cyclic on-off operation. The scope is collecting useful data about energy balances and emissions during on-off transients, which can be later used to optimize the management of the cogeneration unit when coupled with real users. Different cyclic tests are experimented (with intermediate stops and operation of either one or two burners), keeping the temperature of the cogeneration water at the unit inlet at 50°C and its mass flow rate at the nominal value of 0.194 kg/s. The Stirling unit has shown an electrical efficiency of 8.9%, based on Lower Heating Value (LHV), in the most favorable cyclic test and 8.2% in the worst case, while thermal efficiency ranges between 91.0 and 92.6%. For comparison, the steady state electrical efficiency is 10.8% (LHV) while the thermal is 90.1% with only one burner running in full cogeneration mode. Steady state efficiencies become 7.2% and 92.0% (LHV), respectively, with the auxiliary burner running. The significant reduction of average electrical efficiency suggests the necessity to limit the frequency of starts and stops in real operation. Emissions show modest peaks in NOx and CO, which do not compromise the environmental impact, confirming the low emission combustion features of the Stirling unit.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/949157
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