Reliable and low-cost expanders are fundamental for the competitiveness of small-scale Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) plants using low-temperature heat sources. Regenerative flow turbines (RFTs) can be considered a low-cost and viable alternative expander, yet their performance needs to be fully investigated. Therefore, the use of an RFT in a micro-scale ORC test bench is investigated in this work through a modelling study. Specifically, three-dimensional CFD simulations are carried out to assess the performance of the considered expander with varying operating conditions and a numerical model of a non-regenerative, small-scale ORC system is developed to investigate its potential in waste heat recovery (WHR) applications. Using R245fa as the working fluid, the CFD analysis shows that the expander achieves a maximum total-to-static isentropic efficiency of about 44% in the investigated operating range. The small-scale ORC system has a net output power in the range 100–600 W and a net cycle efficiency of 1–2.3%. Moreover, a comparison with two scroll expanders having different built-in volume ratios shows that the RFT operates with higher isentropic efficiencies in low mass flow rates and pressure ratios thus highlighting its suitability for low-temperature WHR applications, especially when considerable fluctuations of the heat source are expected.

Investigation on the use of a novel regenerative flow turbine in a micro-scale Organic Rankine Cycle unit

Luca Cioccolanti
2020-01-01

Abstract

Reliable and low-cost expanders are fundamental for the competitiveness of small-scale Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) plants using low-temperature heat sources. Regenerative flow turbines (RFTs) can be considered a low-cost and viable alternative expander, yet their performance needs to be fully investigated. Therefore, the use of an RFT in a micro-scale ORC test bench is investigated in this work through a modelling study. Specifically, three-dimensional CFD simulations are carried out to assess the performance of the considered expander with varying operating conditions and a numerical model of a non-regenerative, small-scale ORC system is developed to investigate its potential in waste heat recovery (WHR) applications. Using R245fa as the working fluid, the CFD analysis shows that the expander achieves a maximum total-to-static isentropic efficiency of about 44% in the investigated operating range. The small-scale ORC system has a net output power in the range 100–600 W and a net cycle efficiency of 1–2.3%. Moreover, a comparison with two scroll expanders having different built-in volume ratios shows that the RFT operates with higher isentropic efficiencies in low mass flow rates and pressure ratios thus highlighting its suitability for low-temperature WHR applications, especially when considerable fluctuations of the heat source are expected.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11389/31075
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