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Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411

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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/energy

A study of organic working fluids on system efficiency of an ORC using low-grade

energy sources
T.C. Hung a, S.K. Wang a, *, C.H. Kuo b, B.S. Pei c, K.F. Tsai d
Department of Mechanical Engineering, I-Shou University, Dashu Township, kaohsiung county 84001, Taiwan
Department of Mold & Die Engineering, National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences, Taiwan
Department of Engineering and System Science, Tsing-Hua University, Taiwan
RiteKom Photonics Corp., Taiwan

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Rankine cycles using organic fluids (as categorized into three groups: wet, dry, and isentropic fluids) as
Received 20 April 2009 working fluids in converting low-grade energy are investigated in this study. The main purpose is to
Received in revised form identify suitable working fluids which may yield high system efficiencies in an organic Rankine cycle
23 November 2009
(ORC) system. Efficiencies of ORC systems are calculated based on an assumption that the inlet condition
Accepted 24 November 2009
Available online 29 December 2009
of the working fluid entering turbine is in saturated vapor phase. Parameters under investigation are
turbine inlet temperature, turbine inlet pressure, condenser exit temperature, turbine exit quality, overall
irrversibility, and system efficiency. The low-grade energy source can be obtained from a solar pond or/
Organic fluids and an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) system. Results indicate that wet fluids with very steep
Organic rankine cycle saturated vapor curves in T-s diagram have a better overall performance in energy conversion efficiencies
Low-grade energy sources than that of dry fluids. It can also be shown that all the working fluids have a similar behavior of the
System efficiency efficiency-condenser exit temperature relationship. Furthermore, an appropriate combination of solar
Overall irreversibility energy and an ORC system with a higher turbine inlet temperature and a lower condenser temperature
(as operated deeply under sea level) would provide an economically feasible and environment-friendly
renewable energy conversion system.
Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction used some cryogens as working fluids in an ORC operated between

two isobaric curves, and they found that the system efficiency
In heavily industrialized countries like Taiwan, a steady supply increases and decreases for wet and dry fluids, respectively, when
of electricity has become an important issue faced by both the turbine inlet temperature – the main parameter under consider-
government and the industries. This problem is even more aggra- ation – increases. Liu et al. [11] investigated the effects of several
vated by an accelerated consumption of fossil fuels which have working fluids on an ORC for waste heat recovery. They found that
caused many environment-related concerns. Power generated from the presence of hydrogen bond in certain molecules such as
low-grade energy resources has become an inevitable option for ammonia, water, and ethanol may cause these fluids behave like
countries like Taiwan. Low-grade heat from renewable energy wet fluids due to their large vaporization enthalpies, and these
sources is considered to be a good candidate to generate electricity. fluids are regarded as inappropriate for ORC systems. They also
Among those sources, OTEC and solar energy are typically utilized found that the maximum waste heat recovery efficiency occurs at
in converting low-grade heat into power generation and other an appropriate evaporator operation temperature between the
applications [1–9]. inlet temperature of waste heat and the condensing temperature of
Power generation using organic fluids in recovering low-grade heat sink. OTEC systems use the ocean’s natural thermal gra-
energy sources has increasingly attracted attention. Several ORC dientdthe fact that the ocean’s layers of water have different
systems have been installed for recovering waste heat and widely temperaturesdto drive a power-producing cycle. Madhawa Het-
used for converting renewable energy into power. Hung et al. [10] tiarachchi et al. [12] proposed a cost-effective optimum design
criterion for ORCs. Regardless of using geothermal heat source
instead of OTEC or solar energy, they found that the choice of
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ886 7 6577711; fax: þ886 7 6578853. working fluid can greatly affect the objective function which is
E-mail address: skwang@isu.edu.tw (S.K. Wang). a measure of power plant cost – in some instances the differences

0360-5442/$ – see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1404 T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411

Nomenclature s entropy
x quality
cp specific heat hth thermal efficiency
h enthalpy w34 work done by turbine
h4a turbine exit enthalpy for an irreversible process f availability ratio
T temperature
I_ irreversibility rate Subscripts
v specific volume 1w4 locations of states
w12 work done by pump o ambient
w34a work done by turbine for an irreversible process sys system
hfg latent heat t turbine
k thermal conductivity H High
m _ mass flow rate L Low
p pressure tot total
q23 heat added to evaporator

could be more than twice. Saleh et al. [13] used alkanes, fluorinated evaporator and condenser are also ignored since they depend
alkanes, ether and fluorinated ethers as working fluids in ORCs for strongly on materials and configurations of the system compo-
geothermal power plants at high pressures up to 20 bars. They nents. Instead, irreveribilities of the working fluids in various major
found the highest thermal efficiency was 0.13 for the high boiling components of the cycle are calculated to evaluate the effects of
substances with overhanging saturated vapor line in subcritical those losses. Parameters under consideration are turbine inlet
processes with n-butane. Manolako et al. [14] combined an ORC temperature, turbine inlet pressure, condenser exit temperature,
engine with a reverse osmosis (RO) desalination unit. They found turbine exit quality, overall irrversibility, and system efficiency.
that ORC can be effectively used to expolit low temperature thermal An ORC system using low-grade energy sources is depicted in
sources (i.e., in the range from 40 to 70  C). Such low temperature Fig. 1. The system is composed of an evaporator (waste heat boiler),
sources can be available from solar collectors and geothermal fields. a turbine expander, a condenser, and a pump. A working fluid flows
Desai and Bandyopadhyay [15] found that the basic ORC can be into the evaporator in which the high-temperature heat source
modified by incorporating both regeneration and turbine bleeding (which may come from the warm seawater or a solar pond) is
to improve thermal efficiency. They propsed a methodology for utilized. The vapor of the boiling fluid enters the turbine expander
appropriate integration and optimization of an ORC as a cogenera- and generates power. The exit fluid from the turbine expander then
tion process with the background process to generate shaft-work. enters the condenser in which the low-temperature cooling water
As stated in the previously mentioned studies, ORCs are (i.e., the cold seawater) is utilized to condense the fluid. Finally,
potentially feasible in recovering low-grade energy and generating a fluid pump raises fluid pressure and feeds the fluid into the
power if adequate working fluids are used. The efficiency can evaporator to complete the cycle. So long as a temperature differ-
further be improved if the high temperature end of the cycle is ence between the high- and low-temperature ends is large enough,
boosted by solar energy. The objective of this study is to gain the cycle will continue to operate and generate power. The objec-
a comprehensive understanding of the thermodynamic perfor- tive of this study is focused on thermodynamic analyses of the
mances of an ORC using various working fluids. System efficiencies working fluids and the overall system efficiency rather than hard-
are calculated for an ORC using OTEC as the heat source and sink ware arrangements such as the system integration of solar energy
with and without the boost of solar energy. The following analyses and OTEC. Therefore, issues regarding material selections, compo-
focus on thermodynamic performances of the ORCs as scoping nent configurations, frictional losses, heat transfer performances of
calculations without considering detailed system integration, e.g., the evaporator and condenser, and cost analysis are not considered
the solar thermal pond or solar energy collector served as in this study.
a boundary condition of the inlet temperature of the evaporator.
Detailed calculations of pressure losses and heat transfer in
2. Selection of working fluids

In an ORC, a suitable selection of the working fluids is a critical

factor for achieving an efficient and a safe operation. Thermo-
physical properties of various working fluids used in this study are
listed in Tables 1 and 2.
Each working fluid has its own range of applicability according
to its thermophysical properties under the considerations of a high

Table 1
Thermophysical properties of wet working fluids.

Working fluid R–11 R–12 R–152a R–500 R–502

Turbine exit condition Two- Two- Two- Two- Two-
phase phase phase phase phase
Critical temperature (K) 471 111.8 389.4 378.6 355.2
Critical pressure (MPa) 4.41 4.125 4.45 4.43 4.075
Normal boiling 296.2 243.2 248.0 239.5 227.6
temperature (K)
hfg @ 1 atm (kJ/kg) 178.8 166.0 318.4 200.8 172.5
Fig. 1. A schematic flow diagram of an ORC system.
T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411 1405

Table 2
Thermophysical properties of dry working fluids.

Working fluid R–113 R–114 R–123 C6H6 C7H8 C8H10

Turbine exit condition S-heateda S-heateda S-heateda Satb Satb Satb
Critical temperature(K) 487.3 419 456.9 562 591 616.2
Critical pressure (MPa) 3.41 3.261 3.67 4.89 4.119 3.51
Normal boiling temperature (K) 296.3 276.7 411.5 353 383.6 411
hfg @ 1 atm (kJ/kg) 182 131.8 171.5 395.4 362.5 339.9
S-heated: Super-heated.
Sat: Saturated.

efficiency and a safe operation. Important factors of the working h4 ¼ f ðp4 ; s4 Þ (4)
fluids needed to be considered are listed below:
Turbine expander:
1. Toxicity of working fluid: All organic fluids are inevitably toxic.
w34 ¼ ðh3  h4 Þ (5)
A working fluid with a low toxicity should be used to protect
the personnel from the threat of contamination in case of
w34  w12
a fluid leakage. ht ¼ 1 Overall efficiency : hth ¼ (6)
2. Chemical stability: Under a high pressure and temperature, q23
organic fluids tend to decompose, resulting in material corro- Turbine efficiency:
sion and possible detonation and ignition. Therefore a chemi-
cally-stable working fluid operated under working conditions x4a wx4a w1 h4a ¼ f ðp3 ; x4a Þ (7)
should be selected.
3. Boiling temperature: Some of the organic fluids have a very low ht ¼ ðh3  h4 Þ=ðh3  h4a Þ (8)
boiling temperature under atmospheric pressure. For those
fluids, the temperature of cooling water in the condenser w34a ¼ ðh3  h4a Þ (9)
should be reduced. This can result in a more stringent
requirement for the selection of the condenser. Overall efficiency
4. Flash point: A working fluid with a high flash point should be
w34a  w12
used in order to avoid flammability. h¼ (10)
5. Specific heat: A high value of specific heat represents a high q23
load for the condenser. Hence a working fluid with a low Practically, due to irreversibility in an actual thermodynamic
specific heat should be used. system, it is impossible to convert all the available thermal energy
6. Latent heat: A working fluid with a high latent heat should be into useful work. Furthermore, irreversibility provides an addi-
used in order to raise the efficiency of heat recovery. tional means of estimating the system efficiency of a thermody-
7. Thermal conductivity: A high conductivity represents a better namic cycle. From the second law of thermodynamics, the equation
heat transfer in heat-exchange components. of irreversibility rate can be expressed for uniform flow as follows:
2 3
The fluids under consideration in this study are refrigerant-series X X
dstot dssys X qj 5
fluids such as R–11, R–12, R–113, R–114, R–123, R–152a, R–500, and I_ ¼ To _ o4
¼ mT s sþ þ (11)
dt dt Tj
R–502; and benzene-series fluids such as C6H6, C7H8, and C8H10. The exit inlet j
temperature-dependent thermophysical properties of these fluids
are plotted in Fig. 2. The functional dependences of temperature will Assuming that the system reaches a steady state, and there is only
be used in analyzing the system efficiency in this study. one exit and one inlet for any component, Equation (11) becomes
h qi
I_ ¼ mT
_ o ðsexit  sinlet Þ þ (12)
3. Mathematical analysis
where To is the ambient temperature. Since the major contributions
The following mathematical model is used to analyze thermo- of the irreversibilities are from the processes 1–2 and 3–4, the total
dynamic behavior of ORC systems. The slopes of saturated vapor irreversibility rate becomes
curves in the T-s diagrams are used to identify the types of the
h  h4 h4a  h1
working fluids (i.e., wet fluids and dry fluids) as shown in Fig. 3. I_tot ¼ _ o  3
I_j ymT þ (13)
Pressure drops occurred in various components and pipes are not j
considered in this model.
Fig. 4 shows the conditions of working fluids at various locations From Eq. (13), one can see that the heat transfer rates in the
and paths of power generation in an ORC. The mathematical model evaporator and condenser associated with the ambient tempera-
is analyzed as follows: ture are the key factors affecting the overall irreversibility; and
Pump: accordingly, the system efficiency. For the sake of a better under-
standing of the effects of pressure on irreversibility, the availability
w12 ¼ ðp2  p1 Þv1 ðv1 wv2 since State 2 is liquidÞ (1) ratio, f is defined as follows

h2 ¼ h1 þ w12 ; h3 ¼ f ðT3 ; x3 Þ (2) _ 23  I_tot

f¼ (14)
_ 23
Heat exchanger:
The factor is the ratio of the available energy to the total energy
q23 ¼ ðh3  h2 Þ (3) obtained from the heat source.
1406 T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411

Fig. 2. a. Temperature-dependent thermophysical properties of wet organic fluids used in ORC Systems.

4. Results and discussion working fluids can be estimated. The inlet temperature of the pump
is fixed at 5  C, i.e., heat transfer in the condenser is assumed to be
A computer program employing MATHCAD was developed to very efficient, and the inlet temperature of the turbine is varied
simulate the thermodynamic performances of the working fluids from 20 to 40  C to simulate the heat source in the calculations. Due
under various working conditions. As shown in Fig. 4, the turbine to a more amount of energy is received in the evaporator, system
inlet condition is assumed to fall on State 3 which will be in satu- efficiency increases nearly linearly as the turbine inlet temperature
rated or superheated region. Material requirements of the evapo- increases for every working fluid under investigation as shown in
rator are more stringent as the working fluid becomes superheated, Figs. 5 and 6. For dry fluids as shown in Fig. 5, refrigerant- and
and a lower thermal conductivity of the superheated vapor would benzene-series have almost the same efficiencies when the turbine
result in a lower heat transfer rate as compared with the saturated inlet temperature is low. As the turbine inlet temperature increases,
vapor. Also, a heat source with a higher temperature for the benzene-series in general have a better performance in system
evaporator is required if the fluid entering the turbine is super- efficiency since their saturated vapor curves become almost iden-
heated. Therefore, the working fluid is assumed to be saturated tical to those of the isentropic wet fluids. This can be seen in Fig. 3;
with its corresponding saturation pressure at the inlet of the C8H10, for example, has a saturated vapor curve with a positive
turbine. The following analyses will be based on two types of slope changing to a negative slope as temperature decreases. Also
energy resources: OTEC and solar energy. indicated in Fig. 5, efficiency curves for R-113 and R-123 intersect at
w30  C; below 30  C R–123 has a slightly higher efficiency than R-
4.1. Case 1: using OTEC as energy source 113 and a reverse performance occurs when temperature is above
30  C. The intersection of efficiency curves of R–123 and R–113 can
An ORC system using OTEC operates between a high tempera- be explained by their thermophysical properties. As shown in
ture (supplied by the warm seawater) in the evaporator and a low Fig. 2b, R–123 has higher values of thermal conductivity and latent
temperature (supplied by the cold seawater in deep sea) in the heat than those of R–113. This means that R–123 has a better heat
condenser. Based on the slopes of saturated vapor curves and the transfer performance than that of R-113. On the other hand, R–123
inlet temperatures of the turbine, system efficiencies using various has a higher specific heat than that of R–113. Since a regenerator is
T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411 1407

Fig. 2. b. Temperature-dependent thermophysical properties of dry organic fluids used in ORC systems.

not considered in this study, the inlet condition of the working fluid exit of the turbine. Furthermore, the latent heat ‘‘bandwidth’’ at s
would become superheated before entering the condenser. This low pressure on the T-s diagram also affects the system efficiency. A
imposes a higher load on the condenser and reduces the system broader latent heat bandwidth represents a greater amount of heat
efficiency as a dry fluid goes through an isentropic expansion at the must be taken away from the condenser. This effect is not signifi-
cant since the temperature is very low as the condenser is operated
under a low pressure. However, this effect becomes important as

Fig. 3. T/TC-s/sC Diagram of working fluids. Fig. 4. T-s Diagram of working fluids in turbine under a fixed TH.
1408 T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411

during isentropic expansion in the turbine, and no need for using

a regenerator to reduce condensation load.
However, isentropic fluids are not always suitable for ORC
systems when other thermophysical properties are taken into
consideration. As indicated in Fig. 2a, relatively, R-12 has a lower
thermal conductivity and a lower latent heat than those of the
other wet fluids; resulting in a less efficient heat transfer as well as
hear recovery; and consequentially, a lower overall system effi-
ciency. Based on all the thermophysical properties, R–502 exhibits
the lowest efficiency. When the turbine exit temperature is low, the
efficiency curves of R–152a and R–500 are roughly identical. As the
temperature exceeds w25  C, R–500 shows a clear drop in effi-
ciency. This is because that the latent heat of R-500 decreases
‘‘faster’’ than that of R–152a as the turbine inlet temperature
increases, and this has a direct impact on heat recovery of the
system. As the system efficiency is considered, R–152a has a better
performance based on a fixed turbine inlet temperature.
Fig. 5. Case 1: System efficiency-turbine inlet temperature dependence for dry fluids.
Figs. 7 and 8 show the dependence of the system efficiency on
the condenser exit (i.e., pump inlet) temperature as the turbine
inlet temperature is fixed. From the T-s diagram, a rise in the
the inlet temperature of the turbine increases. Therefore, a careful
selection of the working fluid under different working tempera- condenser outlet temperature represents a smaller net work of the
tures is crucial in optimizing the performances of ORCs. cycle; thus, resulting in a lower system efficiency as can be clearly
In general, benzene-series fluids perform better than refrig- seen in Figs. 7 and 8. All the fluids appeared in these figures show
erant-series in system efficiency among the dry fluids. Under the a similar temperature dependence.
same temperature of the low temperature reservoir (i.e., cold As compared with Figs. 5 and 6 for the efficiency at various
seawater), refrigerant-series fluids usually have a lower boiling turbine temperatures, virtually all the fluids exhibit a similar effi-
point, and accordingly, a higher vapor pressure. Thus, the area ciency for a fixed condenser exit temperature. In other words, if the
which represents a net work of the cycle in the T-s diagram is turbine inlet temperature is fixed, there is a broader range of
inevitably reduced; and so is the system efficiency. Therefore, as selection of the working fluids since the efficiency may vary from
indicated in Fig. 5 for the dry fluids with a low operation temper- fluid to fluid. On the other hand, only factors which are required to
ature, a suitable working fluid of benzene-series can be selected be considered are stability and safety of the fluids and their impacts
based on two considerations: its saturation curve at a low operation on environment if the condenser exit temperature varies. Hence,
temperature, and the temperature difference between the evapo- the condenser exit temperature is an important factor which must
rator and the condenser, i.e., temperature difference in seawater. be taken into consideration in designing an ORC system.
As for the wet fluids, both R–11 and R–12 have a rather better Based on the analysis stated above, three factors are believed to
performance in system efficiency than that of the other wet fluids have major impacts on the system efficiency according to the
except for R–152a as shown in Fig. 6. This is because that both R–11 thermophysical properties of the fluids under investigation: the
and R–12 are nearly identical to isentropic wet fluids, i.e., their slope of saturation curve, specific heat, and latent heat. Under
saturation vapor curves are virtually vertical in this region. In a broader range of working temperature between TH and TL, latent
practical operation with a careful arrangement, the fluid conditions heat can vary significantly. It has a direct influence on the energy
at the turbine exit can be adjusted to fall on the saturation vapor
curve. This has two obvious advantages: no occurrence of moisture

Fig. 7. Case 1: System efficiency-condenser exit temperature dependence (at a Fixed

Fig. 6. Case 1: System efficiency-turbine inlet temperature dependence for wet fluids. turbine inlet temperature of 30  C).
T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411 1409

Fig. 10. Turbine efficiencies for wet fluids.

Fig. 8. Case 1: System efficiency-condenser exit temperature dependence (at a Fixed

turbine inlet temperature of 40  C).
the high temperature end, and a saturation state for the turbine
inlet. Fig. 11 shows the dependence of the system efficiency and
absorbed in the evaporator, and the ‘‘bandwidth’’ of the saturation turbine efficiency on the quality of the fluids at turbine exit. As the
curve in the T-s diagram at the low temperature end; and conse- exit quality reaches 1, i.e., a high-efficiency turbine is not necessary,
quentially, the net work done by the cycle. Fig. 9 shows the R-152a has the lowest system efficiency of 6.7% while R-11 and C7H8
temperature dependence of latent heat for various fluids. It can be have the highest system efficiency around 8.5%. An isentropic fluid
seen that the working fluids with a high latent heat usually perform such as R-11 expands in the turbine isentropically to a low pressure
better in efficiency, and this trend gradually disappears as the with a quality very close to 1. Therefore, design constraints are less
temperature increases. Despite the fact that R-152a has the highest stringent for such fluids. When the quality at the turbine exit drops,
efficiency among all the fluids, however, its latent heat drops faster turbine efficiency must be reduced accordingly in order to have an
than other fluids as the working temperature rises, resulting in exit quality close to 1. R-152a on the other hand has a rather slowly-
a lower system efficiency. As a conclusion, latent heat is a major varying positive slope of the saturation vapor curve; this results in
factor to be considered in selecting a proper working fluid in a very low quality at turbine exit. The situation can be improved by
addition to examining other thermophysical properties. operating the fluid in superheated region before it entering the
As stated above, isentropic fluids in general have a better turbine (see curve 3w3a of Fig. 4). In practice, it can be designed
performance in efficiency. Wet fluids also perform well in system that the fluid at turbine exit is saturated vapor in order for R–152a
efficiency. However, a major problem with the wet fluids is the to operate under a low temperature range.
possible damage to the turbine blades due to corrosion from the Since the main focus of this study is on the thermodynamic
moisture of the two-phase state of the working fluids as they do not behavior of the ORCs, detailed calculations of pressure losses and
follow a saturation curve during expansion in the turbine. There- heat transfer in evaporator and condenser are ignored since they
fore, emphasis is also focused on the influence of the ‘‘quality’’ of depend strongly on materials and configurations of the system
the wet fluids on turbine efficiency as shown in Fig. 10. Here, the components. Instead, irreveribilities of the working fluids occurred
working conditions are: 5  C for the low temperature end, 40  C for

Fig. 9. Temperature dependence of latent heat. Fig. 11. Case 1: System efficiency and turbine efficiency on quality.
1410 T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411

Fig. 14. System Efficiency versus turbine inlet pressure for fluids at x3 ¼ 1.0 and
ht ¼ 0.8.

Fig. 14, while refrigerant fluids in general have a lower efficiency

due to their low boiling point. In other words, for a given temper-
Fig. 12. Distributions of irreversibilities in the major components of a rankine cycle for
ature, refrigerants have a relatively higher vaporization pressure;
fluid C7H8 at TH ¼ T þ 15  C.
and hence, a smaller area representing cycle work on the T-s
in the major components of an ORC are calculated to evaluate the For the sake of a better discussion, the availability ratio defined
effects of those losses. Also, the effects of the working pressures of in Eq. (14) is also used as a guideline in selecting a suitable working
the evaporator are also evaluated. As stated above, heat transfer fluid. Fig. 15 shows the variations of the system efficiency and
rates in the evaporator and condenser are the key contributions to availability ratio versus turbine inlet pressure for the fluid C8H10. As
the system irreversibility. The following calculations are based on expected, the availability ratio decreases as the turbine inlet pres-
a 10 MW heat source. The irreversibility in a system differs from sure increases. Therefore, an optimal choice of the working fluid
component to component. Fig. 12 shows the irreversibilities may be achieved by taking the intersection of the efficiency curve
contributed from the major components of an ORC under various and the availability ratio curve. From Fig. 15, it seems that a system
turbine inlet pressures for the fluid C7H8. It shows that the pressure below 500 kPa is adequate for recovering low-grade
condenser has the major contribution of irreversibility; and thus, energy if C8H10 is used as the working fluid.
improvement of the condenser performance is an important
concern when the upper end of the cycle is operated under a high 4.2. Case 2: solar energy as high-temperature reservoir
pressure. Fig. 13 shows the irreversibilities for various working
fluids under a wide range of turbine inlet pressures at a constant In this case the energy source of an ORC system is supplied by
turbine inlet temperature. It is clear that the enthalpies of the fluids solar energy in the evaporator. The high temperature source may be
at point 3, i.e., the turbine inlet, increase as the pressure increases, from a solar pond or a solar collector. As a scoping calculation, the
and so do their respective irreversibilities. This effect is more operation conditions of the ORC are: 20  C for pump inlet
profound for benzene-series than for refrigerant-series. However, it temperature and 40–60  C for turbine inlet temperature. The actual
is a totally different story when it comes to system efficiency. For turbine inlet temperature can be much higher depending on the
instance, when C7H8 is used as the working fluid and the pressure design of the solar energy collection systems. The study shows that
varies from 500 to 1000 kPa, there is a 4% increase in Dhcondenser benzene-series fluids have a better performance in efficiency than
compared with 7.4% increase inDhevaporator. The corresponding that of the refrigerant-series fluids. Among the wet fluids, R-11 has
changes in efficiency for C7H8 are 16.4% and 19.4% as shown in the best performance. This result is similar to Case 1. Fig. 16 shows

Fig. 15. System efficiency and availability ratio versus turbine inlet temperature for
Fig. 13. Irreversibility versus turbine inlet pressure at TH ¼ T3 þ 15  C. fluid C8H10.
T.C. Hung et al. / Energy 35 (2010) 1403–1411 1411

5. Conclusion

ORC systems using refrigerant- and benzene-series fluids as

working fluids to convert energy from renewable energy sources,
such as solar energy and ocean thermal energy, are investigated in
this study. Eleven fluids include R–11, R–12, R–113, R–114, R–123,
R–152a, R–500, R–502, C7H8, C7H8, and C8H10 are analyzed based on
their thermophysical properties. It can be seen from the cases
under investigation, suitable working conditions of various fluids
can be identified based on their saturation vapor curves and their
responses to the temperature of energy source. System efficiency
can be optimized by selecting a proper working fluid operated at
suitable working conditions. In terms of disadvantages, dry fluids in
general generate superheated vapor at the turbine exit, and this
reduces the area of net work in the T-s diagram. A generator may be
needed in order to relieve the cooling load of the condenser. The
major disadvantage for the wet fluids is their moisture content
during expansion process in the turbine. Isentropic (or nearly
isentropic) fluids in general is free from the concern of the moisture
content, and does not need a regenerator to relieve the cooling load
of the condenser. The only issues of concern for the isentropic fluids
Fig. 16. Case 2: System efficiency and turbine efficiency on quality.
are their cost, chemical stability, and safety. Therefore, they are
considered to be the best candidates of the working fluids for ORCs.
A combination of OTEC and solar energy to yield a higher
the dependences of the system efficiency and turbine efficiency on temperature difference in an ORC system is believed to give an even
turbine exit quality. Compared with Case 1, the difference is the better performance in efficiency.
turbine exit quality; resulting from different slopes of the satura-
tion vapor curves at a new temperature range (between TH and TL).
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