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Aerodynamic Considerations in the Thermodynamic Analysis of Organic Rankine Cycles

[+] Author Affiliations
Maria E. Mondejar, Marcus Thern, Magnus Genrup

Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Paper No. POWER2014-32174, pp. V002T09A016; 8 pages
  • ASME 2014 Power Conference
  • Volume 2: Simple and Combined Cycles; Advanced Energy Systems and Renewables (Wind, Solar and Geothermal); Energy Water Nexus; Thermal Hydraulics and CFD; Nuclear Plant Design, Licensing and Construction; Performance Testing and Performance Test Codes; Student Paper Competition
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 28–31, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4609-4
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Due to the increasing interest of producing power from renewable and non-conventional resources, organic Rankine cycles are finding their place in today’s thermal energy mix. The main influencers on the efficiency of an organic Rankine cycle are the working fluid and the expander. Therefore most of the research done up to date turns around the selection of the best performance working media and the optimization of the expansion unit design. However, few studies consider the interaction of the working fluids in the turbine design, and how this fact can affect the overall thermodynamic cycle analysis. In this work we aim at including the aerodynamic behavior of the working fluids and their effect on the turbine efficiency in the thermodynamic analysis of an organic Rankine cycle. To that end, we proposed a method for the estimation of the characteristics of an axial in-flow turbine in an organic Rankine cycle simulation model. The code developed for the characterization of the turbine behavior under the working fluid properties evaluated the irreversibilities associated to the aerodynamic losses in the turbine. The organic Rankine cycle was analyzed by using IPSEpro process simulator. A set of candidate working fluids composed of selected organofluorines and organochlorines was chosen for the analysis. The thermophysical properties of the fluids were estimated with the equations of state implemented in Refprop. Results on the energy and exergy overall performances of the cycle were analyzed for a case study with standard source and sink temperatures. For each fluid the number of stages and geometry of the turbine were optimized. It was observed that some working fluids that could initially be considered as advantageous from a thermodynamic point of view, had an unfavorable impact on the turbine efficiency, thus increasing the irreversibilities of the cycle. We concluded that if the influence of the working fluid on the turbine performance is underestimated, the real performance of the organic Rankine cycle could show unexpected deviations from the theoretical results.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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