Concept

Organic Rankine cycle

Summary
In thermal engineering, the organic Rankine cycle (ORC) is a type of thermodynamic cycle. It is a variation of the Rankine cycle named for its use of an organic, high-molecular-mass fluid (compared to water) whose vaporization temperature is lower than that of water. The fluid allows heat recovery from lower-temperature sources such as biomass combustion, industrial waste heat, geothermal heat, solar ponds etc. The low-temperature heat is converted into useful work, that can itself be converted into electricity. The technology was developed in the late 1950s by Lucien Bronicki and Harry Zvi Tabor. Naphtha engines, similar in principle to ORC but developed for other applications, were in use as early as the 1890s. The working principle of the organic Rankine cycle is the same as that of the Rankine cycle: the working fluid is pumped to a boiler where it is evaporated, passed through an expansion device (turbine, screw, scroll, or other expander), and then through a condenser heat exchanger where it is finally re-condensed. In the ideal cycle described by the engine's theoretical model, the expansion is isentropic and the evaporation and condensation processes are isobaric. In any real cycle, the presence of irreversibilities lowers the cycle efficiency. Those irreversibilities mainly occur: During the expansion: Only a part of the energy recoverable from the pressure difference is transformed into useful work. The other part is converted into heat and is lost. The efficiency of the expander is defined by comparison with an isentropic expansion. In the heat exchangers: The working fluid takes a long and sinuous path which ensures good heat exchange but causes pressure drops that lower the amount of power recoverable from the cycle. Likewise, the temperature difference between the heat source/sink and the working fluid generates exergy destruction and reduces the cycle performance. The organic Rankine cycle technology has many possible applications, and counts more than 2.7 GW of installed capacity and 698 identified power plants worldwide.
About this result
This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.
Related publications

Loading

Related people

Loading

Related units

Loading

Related concepts

Loading

Related courses

Loading

Related lectures

Loading

Related MOOCs

Loading