Experimental investigation of scroll based organic Rankine systems

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In this thesis, an experimental research is conducted on scroll-based Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) focusing on the expansion process. An important feature of the ORC is the ability to utilize low or moderate temperature heat sources derived from renewable energy such as concentrated solar radiation, biomass/biofuels combustion streams, geothermal heat and waste heat recovery. The ORC is more appropriate than steam Rankine cycle to generate power from low capacity heat sources (5-500 kW thermal). For example, expansion of superheated steam from 280oC/1000 kPa to a pressure corresponding to 35oC saturation requires a volume ratio as high as 86, whereas for the same operating conditions toluene shows an expansion ratio of 6 which can be achieved in a single stage turbine or expander. The objective of this work is to experimentally study the performance of a selected refrigeration scroll compressor operating in reverse as expander in an ORC. To this purpose, three experimental systems are designed, built and used for conducting a comprehensive experimental programme aimed at determining the features of the expansion process. In preliminary tests the working fluid utilized is dry air while the main experiments are done with the organic fluid R134a. Experimental data of the scroll expander are collected under different operating conditions. Power generation in various conditions is analyzed in order to determine the optimum performance parameters for the scroll expander. In addition, thermodynamic analysis of the system is conducted through energy and exergy efficiencies to study the system performance. Based on the experimental measurements, the optimum parameters for an ORC cycle operating with the Bitzer-based expander-generator unit are determined. The cycle energy and exergy efficiencies are found 5% and 30% respectively from a heat source of 120oC.
Scroll compressor, Expander, ORC, Exergy, Organic Rankine cycle, Heat recovery, Heat engine, Efficiency