Experimental characterization of an ORC (organic Rankine cycle) for power and CHP (combined heat and power) applications from low grade heat sources

Autores UPV
Revista ENERGY


An ORC (organic Rankine cycle) module, designed and built for a specific CHP (combined heat and power)) application, is tested in this paper. The aim of the work is to characterize the system performance in the operating range allowed by the ORC. For this purpose, a test procedure has been conducted in a test bench. The heat source has been simulated through a natural gas boiler and a thermal oil heat transfer loop to control the temperature in the low grade range of 90 °C¿150 °C. The heat sink has been developed using a dry cooler to control the hot water temperature in the range of 30 °C, corresponding to a power application, to 80 °C, of a small-scale CHP application that provides hot water at 90 °C. Thereby, the results show that the thermal power captured by the ORC, electricity and useful heat produced, increase with the rise of the thermal oil temperature and larger pressure ratios. Moreover, the expander electrical isentropic effectiveness is maximized about 70% for a pressure ratio suitable for a CHP system. The cycle efficiency slightly continues increasing for higher pressure ratios, up to a net electrical efficiency of about 8%.