Monday, March 25th, 2019

Performance analyses of geothermal organic Rankine cycles with selected hydrocarbon working fluids

Publication date: 15 December 2013
Source:Energy, Volume 63
Author(s): Qiang Liu , Yuanyuan Duan , Zhen Yang
ORC (organic Rankine cycles) are promising systems for conversion of low temperature geothermal energy to electricity. The thermodynamic performance of the ORC with a wet cooling system is analyzed here using hydrocarbon working fluids driven by geothermal water from 100 °C to 150 °C and reinjection temperatures not less than 70 °C. The hydrocarbon working fluids are butane (R600), isobutane (R600a), pentane (R601), isopentane (R601a) and hexane. For each fluid, the ORC net power output first increases and then decreases with increasing turbine inlet temperature. The turbine inlet parameters are then optimized for the maximum power output. The ORC net power output increases as the condensation temperature decreases but the circulating pump power consumption increases especially for lower condensation temperatures at higher cooling water flow rates. The optimal condensation temperatures for the maximum plant power output are 29.45–29.75 °C for a cooling water inlet temperature of 20 °C and a pinch point temperature difference of 5 °C in the condenser. The maximum power is produced by an ORC using R600a at geothermal water inlet temperatures higher than 120 °C, followed by R245fa and R600 for reinjection temperatures not less than 70 °C. R600a also has the highest plant exergetic efficiency with the lowest turbine size factor.

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