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Publication Name: Power generation with ORC machines using low-grade waste heat or renewable energy
Original File Name Searched: AppliedThermalEngArticle-Minea-2014.pdf
Page Number: 001

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Applied Thermal Engineering 69 (2014) 143e154

Con en s lis s a ailable a ScienceDirec

Applied Thermal Engineering

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Power generation with ORC machines using low-grade waste heat or renewable energy

Vasile Minea*

Hydro-Québec Research Institute, Laboratoire des technologies de l’énergie (LTE), 600, avenue de la Montagne, Shawinigan G9N 7N5, Canada


A laboratory-scale beta-prototype Organic Rankine Cycle machine has been studied.

Cycle efficiency with feed pump at variable full range speed has been determined.

Energetic and exergetic conversion efficiencies have been experimentally evaluated.

Various effects of evaporator superheating on the cycle efficiency have been analysed. Several cycle improvements and potential industrial application were identified.

articleinfo abstract

Article history:

Received 10 February 2014 Accepted 19 April 2014 Available online 28 April 2014


Industrial waste heat recovery Renewable energy

Power generation

Organic Rankine cycle

Energy efficiency

1. Introduction

In Canada, eight major manufacturing sectors account for over 91% of the energy input to the manufacturing industries and about 71% of the input energy is released to the environment via four classes of identifiable waste heat streams at relatively low tem- peratures (i.e. up to 370 C) in the form of stack gases, vapour or liquid effluents [1]. Such energy rejections along with power gen- eration from fossil fuel combustion lead to global warming and ambient air pollution. Generally, heat recovery below 370 C is not economically feasible for producing electricity with conventional steam-based power generation cycles such as Diesel, Stirling, or basic ClausiuseRankine. The last of these, for example, converts

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1359-4311/! 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

By 2030, global energy consumption is projected to grow by 71%. At the same time, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are expected to rise by more than 40%. In this context, waste and renewable energy sources may represent alternatives to help reduce fossil primary energy consumption. This paper focuses on the technical feasibility, efficiency and reliability of a heat-to-electricity conversion, laboratory beta-prototype, 50 kW Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) machine using industrial waste or renewable energy sources at temperatures varying between 85 C and 116 C. The thermodynamic cycle along with the selected working fluid, components and control strategy, as well as the main experimental results, are presented. The study shows that the power generated and the overall net conversion efficiency rate of the machine mainly depends on such parameters as the inlet temperatures of the waste (or renewable) heat and cooling fluid, as well as on the control strategy and amount of parasitic electrical power required. It also indicates that after more than 3000 h of continuous operation, the ORC-50 beta-pro- totype machine has shown itself to be reliable and robust, and ready for industrial market deployment.

! 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

heat into work at higher temperatures by using water as a working fluid, but it becomes inefficient at input temperatures below 370 C [2]. Consequently, different energy conversion techniques are required to efficiently use low-grade “free” waste heat resources for power generation [3e6]. Among these alternatives, Organic Rankine Cycle-based (ORC) machines, similar to basic Clausiuse Rankine power plants, do not use water, but rather vaporize high- molecular-mass fluids (also known as organic fluids) with boiling points below that of water [7,8]. ORC machines can use various types of low-grade industrial waste heat or renewable (solar, biomass, geothermal) energy sources. But, in spite of their well- known advantages over conventional high-temperature water steam cycles (e.g. lower operating pressures and temperatures, smaller size, and lower complexity and costs), ORC machines have not been widely used so far, mainly because of concerns about their economic feasibility, lower heat-to-power conversion efficiency, and, in certain cases, parasitic energy consumptions.

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