Organic rankine cycle (ORC) system applications for solar energy: Recent technological advances

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Energies, 2019, 12 (15)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 by the authors. Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power generation systems may be used to utilize heat source with low pressure and low temperature such as solar energy. Many researchers have focused on different aspects ofORCpower generation systems, but none so far has focused on the patent landscape of ORC system applications. As such, the objective of this study is to identify published patents on ORC system applications, particularly for solar energy. Four (4) technologies were identified in ORC application for solar energy: parabolic dish, parabolic trough, solar tower, and linear Fresnel reflector. A methodical search and analysis of the patent landscape in ORC system applications for solar energy published between 2007-2018 was conducted using the Derwent Innovation patent database. From the approximately 51 million patents in the database from various countries and patent agencies, 3859 patents were initially identified to be related to ORC applications for solar energy. After further stringent selection processes, only 1100 patents were included in this review. From these 1100 patents, approximately 12% (130 patents) are associated with parabolic dishes, about 39% (428 patents) are associated with parabolic troughs, approximately 21% (237 patents) are associated with solar towers, and about 28% (305 patents) are associated with linear Fresnel reflectors. Published patents on solar tower technology are currently on an increasing trend, led by China. All of these patents were published in the past 11 years. From this study, further researches on ORC application are still ongoing, but ORC application for solar energy has the potential to advance; allowing the world to ease issues related to over-reliance on fossil fuel.
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