Thermodynamic analysis and comparison between CO2 transcritical power cycles and R245fa organic Rankine cycles for low grade heat to power energy conversion
Ge, Y. T.
Tassou, S. A.
In this paper, a theoretical study is conducted to investigate and compare the performance of CO2 transcritical power cycles (T-CO2) and R245fa organic Rankine cycles (ORCs) using low-grade thermal energy to produce useful shaft or electrical power. Each power cycle consists of typical Rankine cycle components, such as a working fluid pump, gas generator or evaporator, turbine with electricity generator, air cooled condenser and recuperator (internal heat exchanger). The thermodynamic models of both cycles have been developed and are applied to calculate and compare the cycle thermal and exergy efficiencies at different operating conditions and control strategies. The simulation results show that the system performances for both cycles vary with different operating conditions. When the heat source (waste heat) temperature increases from 120 °C to 260 °C and heat sink (cooling air) temperature is reduced from 20 °C to 0 °C, both thermal efficiencies of R245fa ORC and T-CO2 with recuperator can significantly increase. On the other hand, R245fa ORC and T-CO2 exergy efficiencies increase with lower heat sink temperatures and generally decrease with higher heat source temperatures. In addition, with the same operating conditions and heat transfer assumptions, the thermal and exergy efficiencies of R245fa ORCs are both slightly higher than those of T-CO2. However, the efficiencies of both cycles can be enhanced by installing a recuperator in each system at specified operating conditions. Ultimately, optimal operating states can be predicted, with particular focus on the working fluid expander inlet pressure for both cycles.