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Publication Title | Part-load characteristics of Organic-Rankine-Cycles

Organic Rankine Cycle

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2nd European Conference on Polygeneration – 30th March-1st April, 2011– Tarragona, Spain Erhart, Eicker, Infield Part-load characteristics of Organic-Rankine-Cycles pages 1-11

Part-load characteristics of Organic-Rankine-Cycles Tobias Erhart(1,2), Ursula Eicker(1), David Infield(2)

(1) University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart,, Germany

(2) University of Strathclyde Glasgow, Dept. of Electronical and Electrical Engineering, UK (1) Schellingstrasse 24, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany

(2) 204 George Street, G1 1XW Glasgow, Scotland


This paper shows analytic results of the operation of a heat guided biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant using Organic-Rankine-Cycle (ORC) technology and a district heating system as a heat sink.

Dependencies and constraints in the annual operation of the plant are shown as well as the detailed effects of various parameters.


Power plant, Biomass, Renewable Energy, District heating, Combined heat and power (CHP), Organic-Rankine-Cycle (ORC), poly-generation, part-load


Facing the challenges for a de-centralised and highly efficient power supply, more than 150 ORC-plants have been installed all over Central Europe. The majority of modules have been produced by the market leader Turboden of Italy. The vast majority (140) is based on biomass combustion systems. More than 50 of those biomass cogeneration plants feed their sink heat into district heating systems [10]/[11].

The POLYCITY project is examining the ORC-technology within the project site of “Scharnhauser Park” a quarter of the city of Ostfildern, near Stuttgart. Having been taken into operation in the year 2003 the plant supplies the heat demand of a growing quarter with an actual population of 6,500 (summer of 2010 [13]). The power plant was designed for a maximum annual heat production of 35000 MWh. The 8 MWth biomass furnace burns wood chips and landscape preservation material with widely varying qualities.

Via the thermal oil system the combustion heat is transferred from the main building to the turbine house where it feeds the ORC module (feed: ~300°C, return: ~240°C). The module (M- 1000), constructed by the German company GET and modified by GMK, has a design electric output of approximately 1 MWel (950 kW). The thermal input is 6356 kWth.

Manufactures advertise the Organic-Rankine-cycle having a good and stable partial load behaviour over a wide range, compared to other technologies, such as steam cycle. Obernberger [2] has shown that with an ORC module produced by the company of Turboden. The analyses results show that there are several dependencies that influence the electric cycle efficiency in a negative way. +49 711 8926-2601

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