Optimizing the performance of small-scale organic Rankine cycle that utilizes a single-screw expander
Abstract This paper deals with the operation and optimization of a down-scaled industrial organic Rankine cycle (ORC) for low-grade waste heat recovery. The system is a sub-critical regenerative ORC with a nominal power output of 11kW. The ORC unit has been assembled using off-the-shelf components including three identical plate heat exchangers, a liquid receiver, a multi-stage centrifugal pump and a single-screw compressor adapted to operate as an expander. The experimental results are used to evaluate the influence of the expander performance on the behavior of the ORC system at nominal and part-load conditions. The matching between the volumetric expander and the system operating conditions is also analyzed. Results showed that in the case of SES36, both the expander efficiency and system performance were maximized for a pressure ratio between 7 and 9. In the case of R245fa, while the system efficiency achieved values similar to SES36, but the expander maximum isentropic efficiency was 17% lower. Two analyses are carried out to optimize the operation of the ORC unit with R245fa. At first, the insights gained by analyzing the experimental data are used to evaluate the theoretical matching between volumetric expander and the system maximum efficiency in terms of the Second Law of thermodynamics. Secondly, a control-oriented steady-state cycle model based on empirical correlations calibrated on the experimental results is developed. The model is used to implement a feed-forward control strategy based on predetermined steady-state points that allow to optimize the operation of the ORC unit. The frequency of the pump is used as controlled variable. The steady-state experimental data of both working fluids is provided in an . Highlights A total of 102 steady-state points with R245fa and SES336 have been collected. R245fa led to 10% higher power output despite lower expander isentropic efficiency. The ORC running with SES36 presented a better matching between expander and cycle. The theoretical matching between expander volume ratio and cycle efficiency is determined. Steady-state performance maps are used to build a feed-forward controller.
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