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Entropy 2017, 19(10), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/e19100476

Energy, Exergy and Economic Evaluation Comparison of Small-Scale Single and Dual Pressure Organic Rankine Cycles Integrated with Low-Grade Heat Sources

1
Department of Energy, Universidad de la Costa, Barranquilla 080002, Colombia
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla 081007, Colombia
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universidad del Atlantico, Barranquilla 081007, Colombia
4
School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
Current address: Calle 58 No. 55-66, Barranquilla 080002, Colombia.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 July 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Work Availability and Exergy Analysis)
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Abstract

Low-grade heat sources such as solar thermal, geothermal, exhaust gases and industrial waste heat are suitable alternatives for power generation which can be exploited by means of small-scale Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). This paper combines thermodynamic optimization and economic analysis to assess the performance of single and dual pressure ORC operating with different organic fluids and targeting small-scale applications. Maximum power output is lower than 45 KW while the temperature of the heat source varies in the range 100–200 °C. The studied working fluids, namely R1234yf, R1234ze(E) and R1234ze(Z), are selected based on environmental, safety and thermal performance criteria. Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) and Specific Investment Cost (SIC) for two operation conditions are presented: maximum power output and maximum thermal efficiency. Results showed that R1234ze(Z) achieves the highest net power output (up to 44 kW) when net power output is optimized. Regenerative ORC achieves the highest performance when thermal efficiency is optimized (up to 18%). Simple ORC is the most cost-effective among the studied cycle configurations, requiring a selling price of energy of 0.3 USD/kWh to obtain a payback period of 8 years. According to SIC results, the working fluid R1234ze(Z) exhibits great potential for simple ORC when compared to conventional R245fa. View Full-Text
Keywords: Organic Rankine Cycle; small scale power; thermodynamic optimization; exergy analysis; economic analysis; low grade heat; R1234ze(Z) Organic Rankine Cycle; small scale power; thermodynamic optimization; exergy analysis; economic analysis; low grade heat; R1234ze(Z)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Fontalvo, A.; Solano, J.; Pedraza, C.; Bula, A.; Gonzalez Quiroga, A.; Vasquez Padilla, R. Energy, Exergy and Economic Evaluation Comparison of Small-Scale Single and Dual Pressure Organic Rankine Cycles Integrated with Low-Grade Heat Sources. Entropy 2017, 19, 476.

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