Mini-ORC turbogenerator for zero-energy buildings

Themes: Social Impact, Energy

Early lab scale demonstration

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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A small concentrated solar power system based on the Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) with a turbo generator enables household-scale co-generation of electricity, heat and cooling with an unprecedented efficiency and utilization factor.


The 10-15 kWe system would operate at the relatively low Tmax of 300°C, with >20% electric and ~85% overall efficiency. The main challenges are miniaturisation of the turbo generator and selection or design of the working fluid.


The study and experiments will lead to a proof-of-concept turbine prototype and a validated software tool for mini-ORC turbine design. Market implementation is expected in several years.


Prof. dr. Piero Colonna


Lead Researcher


Sebastian Bahamonde MSc

Antonio Rubino MSc

Lucia Azzini MSc

Salvatore Vitale MSc

Adam Head MSc