Department of Energy (DOE) approved Rappaport Energy Consulting for a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase 1 grant proposal of $149,900.
The research will study retrofitting a concentrated solar thermal array to the existing geothermal electrical generation system currently installed at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) in Klamath Falls Oregon.
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 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 CO2’s 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.