Yekoladio P.J., Bello-Ochende T., Meyer J.P.
Thermodynamic analysis and performance optimization of organic rankine cycles for the conversion of low-to-moderate grade geothermal heat
International Journal of Energy Research
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, South Africa; Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Pretoria, Hatfield, South Africa
Yekoladio, P.J., Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, South Africa; Bello-Ochende, T., Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, South Africa; Meyer, J.P., Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Pretoria, Hatfield, South Africa
The present study considers a thermodynamic analysis and performance optimization of geothermal power cycles. The proposed binary-cycles operate with moderately low temperature and liquid-dominated geothermal resources in the range of 110°C to 160°C, and cooling air at ambient conditions of 25°C and 101.3kPa reference temperature and atmospheric pressure, respectively. A thermodynamic optimization process and an irreversibility analysis were performed to maximize the power output while minimizing the overall exergy destruction and improving the First-law and Second-law efficiencies of the cycle. Maximum net power output was observed to increase exponentially with the geothermal resource temperature to yield 16-49kW per unit mass flow rate of the geothermal fluid for the non-regenerative organic Rankine cycles (ORCs), as compared with 8-34kW for the regenerative cycles. The cycle First-law efficiency was determined in the range of 8-15% for the investigated geothermal binary power cycles. Maximum Second-law efficiency of approximately 56% was achieved by the ORC with an internal heat exchanger. In addition, a performance analysis of selected pure organic fluids such as R123, R152a, isobutane and n-pentane, with boiling points in the range of -24°C to 36°C, was conducted under saturation temperature and subcritical pressure operating conditions of the turbine. Organic fluids with higher boiling point temperature, such as n-pentane, were recommended for non-regenerative cycles. The regenerative ORCs, however, require organic fluids with lower vapour specific heat capacity (i.e. isobutane) for an optimal operation of the binary-cycle. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Exergy; Geothermal energy; Irreversibility analysis; Optimization; Organic rankine cycle
Atmospheric pressure; Atmospheric temperature; Bins; Boiling point; Exergy; Geothermal fields; Optimization; Paraffins; Rankine cycle; Specific heat; Thermoanalysis; Thermodynamic properties; Thermodynamics; Boiling-point temperature; Internal heat exchanger; Irreversibility analysis; Organic Rankine cycles; Organic rankine cycles (ORCs); Performance optimizations; Thermo dynamic analysis; Thermodynamic optimization; Geothermal energy